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Ryan Hamnett

Ryan Hamnett

PhD Student, Neurobiology Division, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology,

Currently an MRC-Funded Policy Intern at the Cambridge Centre for Science and Policy,

University of Cambridge


Biography:

Ryan is currently carrying out a 3 month RCUK policy internship (September – December 2016) at the Centre for Science and Policy, where he is assisting with the Centre’s mission of establishing better connections between the worlds of policy and academia to facilitate more effective use of evidence and expertise in policy making.

Outside of his internship, he is a PhD student studying the neuroscience of circadian rhythms in the Hastings laboratory at the MRC LMB in Cambridge. Circadian rhythms are daily body rhythms, enabling organisms to predict and therefore adapt to the day-night cycle of the Earth, such as the alignment of our sleep-wake cycle with light and dark. In mammals, the primary pacemaker is the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus, which drives the subordinate cellular clocks of other tissues to co-ordinate whole organism physiology and behaviour.

Ryan’s work focusses on cellular communication within the SCN, such as studying how subpopulations of cells signal to each other and the hierarchical structure that exists between these cell populations to ensure a coherent synchronising signal is sent to the rest of the body.

Ryan holds a BSc in Biological Sciences from the University of Birmingham and an MSc in Molecular Neuroscience from the University of Bristol. While in Cambridge he has held the position of Outreach Co-ordinator on the committee of the university’s neuroscience society, CamBRAIN.

Keywords

  • molecular, cellular and circuit-level components of the mammalian circadian system, particularly rhythm generation, maintenance and response to light
  • science and policy