Centre for Biological Timing

Understanding the rhythms of life.



The University of Manchester is home to the largest biological timing research community in Europe. Led by Professor Robert Lucas, we bring together world-leading researchers with a multidisciplinary approach to cellular timers and circadian clocks.

Biological timing is a central feature of all living things. Driven by endogenous biological clocks, the ability to track time allows organisms to adapt their biology and optimally respond to the fluctuating environment of our planet.

Critical to this is the role of internal timers in coordinating innumerable cellular and physiological processes, which drive our development and biology, from gene expression to behaviour.

Our research

Our research ranges from nocturnal and diurnal model organisms and understanding of fundamental molecular and cellular events, to clinical intervention into human diseases, including diabetes and inflammatory arthritis.


The Biological Timing labs.


Research themes

Internal homeostasis and clock mechanisms

Disturbance of circadian rhythms impacts negatively on our health and wellbeing. This recognition provides opportunity – by understanding how the circadian clock regulates our physiology, drives disease, and the outlook for using the clock to advance new therapies?

Keywords: Metabolism, cardiovascular physiology, immunology, methylation, tissue homeostasis, mathematical modelling.



Clinical translation and multi-morbidity

Driving research in clock genes forward to address the gap in biomedical research and clinical practice.

Keywords: Fibrosis, asthma, inflammation, sleep.



Brain, behaviour and environmental response

The ability to respond to rhythmic fluctuations in the environment caused by the earth’s rotation (such as light, colour, temperature, food availability) is critical for survival for most organisms on the planet. But how do we perceive these diverse temporal pat terns and then translate them into a rhythmic biology?

Keywords: Physiological responses to light, seasonal rhythms, optogenetics.



Our researchers

Find out more about how some of our researchers contribute to research in biological timing.

You can view a list of our researchers who work in each of our research areas.

Clinical translation and multi-morbidity

John Blaikley

Rhythms in fibrosis.

Hannah Durrington

Biological Timing mechanisms in asthma. Translational studies.

Louise Hunter

Glucocorticoids and the circadian clock in the control of metabolism.

Gareth Kitchen

Circadian rhythms in critical care, clock control of macrophage function.

David Ray

Nuclear receptor and circadian clock biology regulation of inflammation and energy metabolism.

Martin Rutter

Sleep/chronotype and cardiometabolic disease.


Brain, behaviour and environmental response

Tim Brown (Lead)

Neural circuit mechanisms underlying circadian and light-dependent physiological responses.

Annette Allen

WT Sir Henry Dale Fellow.

Bea Bano-Otalora


David Bechtold

Circadian controls of energy metabolism.

Mino Belle

Senior lecturer.

Andrew Loudon

Circadian clock mechanisms and seasonal timekeeping.

Robert Lucas

Regulation of biological timing by light.

Nina Milosavljevic


Juan Quintana

Neuroimmune influences on sleep and circadian behaviour during chronic infections.

Riccardo Storchi

WT Sir Henry Dale Fellow.


Internal homeostasis and clock mechanisms

David Bechtold (Lead)

Circadian controls of behaviour, energy metabolism and cardiovascular physiology.

Tim Brown

Neural circuit mechanisms underlying circadian and light-dependent physiological responses.

Kathryn Else

Immune regulation during parasitic helminth infection.

Jean-Michel Fustin

RCUK Future Leaders Research Fellow.

Julie Gibbs

Exploring mechanisms underlying circadian control of immunity.

Matthew Hepworth

Understanding how daily rhythms in the intestinal immune system regulate responses to the microbiota and infection.

Karl Kadler

Tissue Homeostasis, collagen dynamics, and fibrosis.

Andrew Loudon

Circadian clock mechanisms and seasonal timekeeping.

Qing-Jun Meng

Circadian timing mechanisms in age-related diseases.

Magnus Rattray

Modelling and inference in biological systems.

David Ray

Nuclear receptor and circadian clock biology regulation of inflammation and energy metabolism.

Charles Streuli

Circadian clocks in breast biology.

Associated researchers

Hilary Ashe

Influence of gene expression timing and dynamics on cell fate decisions in the early embryo.

Chiara Francavilla

Molecular mechanisms underlying breast cancer progression and metastasis.

Shane Herbert

Timing, robustness and coordination of cell identity decisions underpinning tissue morphogenesis.

Judith Hoyland

Professor of Molecular Pathology.

Tracy Hussell

Professor of Inflammatory Disease.

Pawel Paszek

Inflammatory and immune cellular signalling networks.

Andrew Sharrocks

The mechanisms of signal-dependent transcriptional control.





Principal investigators


Research staff


PG research students

Featured researchers

Explore a snapshot of our incredible research activity and the people behind it.

Our Centre constantly strives to be the springboard for excellent scientists interested in biological timing to continue their career.

You can read more about our research and the people behind it in our blog, or by clicking on the links below.



Prof Tim Brown

Professor Tim Brown

Tim talks about his lab and research into how light and the visual environment influence brain function, physiology and behaviour.

Read more about Tim.

Dr Hannah Durrington

Dr Hannah Durrington

Hannah talks about her lab’s research into biological timing and asthma.

Read more about Hannah.

Professor Robert Lucas

Professor Robert Lucas

Robert talks about his lab, the Lucas Group, and their research into responses to light.

Read more about Robert.



Dr Jean-Michel Fustin

Dr Jean-Michel Fustin

Jean-Michel talks about his lab and research into methyl metabolism and the biological clock.

Read more about Jean-Michel.

Professor Pierluigi Cocco.

Professor Pierluigi Cocco

Pierluigi talks about his research into occupational health, and occupational and environmental epidemiology.

Read more about Pierluigi.

Postgraduates and early career researchers

Our research offers opportunities for postgraduate and early career researchers who are interested in what we do and want to further their research careers with us.

We are always happy to discuss potential projects with you. Please get in touch with us to discuss areas of interest with potential supervisors from the Centre.

Potential fellowship enquiries

Timothy Brown
Email: timothy.brown@manchester.ac.uk

PhD enquiries

Julie Gibbs
Email: julie.gibbs@manchester.ac.uk



Joan Chang

Dr Joan Chang

Research associate

While in Karl Kadler’s lab, Joan contributed to understanding the circadian regulation of collagen fibril assembly. Her recent work demonstrated that a crucial step in this process is circadian endocytic-recycling of collagen, and she was awarded a UKRI MRC Career Development Award to continue her research in collagen trafficking control and coordination between different cell types in health and disease.

Visit Joan’s research profile.

Dr Nina Milosavljevic

Dr Nina Milosavljevic

Early Career Research Fellow

Nina’s interests lie in understanding the mechanisms underlying light effects on mood. Her previous work has demonstrated that light can have acute effects on mood and identified the key retinal cells involved. She now wants to apply her expertise in visual neuroscience to further investigate how visual environment affects how we feel, to identify the critical visual features and the underlying biological mechanisms.

Visit Nina’s research profile.


Latest publications

Research published by our Centre cover a wide range of disciplines from fundamental molecular biology to clinical studies.

Explore a selection of our latest publications.


Contact us

If you would like to know more about our research, please get in touch.

Academic enquiries

Contact: Rob Lucas 
Email: robert.lucas@manchester.ac.uk

Industrial partnerships

Contact: Bruce Humphrey
Email: bruce.humphrey@manchester.ac.uk

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