Featured Researcher Dr. Jaga Giebultowicz Jaga Giebultowicz is an Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology and a faculty member in the Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing. Dr. Giebultowicz received her Ph.D. in 1981 from the University of Warsaw. She has been at OSU since 1995. Previously, she was a researcher at the USDA Insect Neurobiology and Hormone Laboratory and an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is the Principal Investigator of “Analysis of clock proteins in their non-circadian roles”, a study funded by National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

My Research

My research focus is chronobiology which is an interdisciplinary field aimed to understand the mechanisms and functional significance of biological timing. All living organisms, from bacteria to humans, display daily (circadian) rhythms, which synchronize life functions with environmental day/night cycles. These rhythms persist in constant conditions with near 24-hour period. The powerful nature of daily rhythms, such as wake and sleep cycle, is revealed to any student who tries to study late into the night without falling asleep!

Circadian rhythms are controlled by molecular oscillators (clocks) formed by a network of clock genes, which are conserved from insects to humans. My research uses Drosophila and other insects as models to investigate clock genes, and their functional and adaptive significance. We have shown that the circadian clock plays an important role in reproduction including sperm and oocyte maturation. We are also currently elucidating the links between circadian clock and the susceptibility to pesticides and other toxins. It appears that circadian clocks play important roles in organism detoxification.

The novel focus of our research is on the interconnection between circadian clocks and aging. Together with Research Associate Dr. Natraj Krishnan, we demonstrated that loss of clock function results in increased oxidative damage and premature aging in flies. We are currently investigating whether the circadian clock extends healthspan in this organism. We are testing the hypothesis that the circadian system prevents premature aging by regulating enzymes involved in protein homeostasis, with a particular focus on oxidative damage. Ongoing studies in my lab are also elucidating whether age-dependent oxidative damage and decline in healthspan can be augmented by environmental or genetic means to increase circadian clock function. These studies, conducted by Postdoctoral Fellow in the lab, Dr. Laura Beaver, may uncover previously unknown regulation of the oxidative damage and aging pathways. Since disruption of the circadian clock accelerates aging in mammals, insights obtained from our research may lead to novel practical ways of curbing oxidative damage in humans and positively affecting human healthspan.

I am interested in collaborating with other researchers and I invite graduates and undergraduates to get involved in our projects. Interested individuals are encouraged to contact me.