Russell Foster CBE FRS Professor of Circadian Neuroscience, Oxford University

Russell Foster is Professor of Circadian Neuroscience and the Head of Department of Ophthalmology and the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute at Oxford.

He is also a Nicholas Kurti Senior Fellow at Brasenose College. Prior to this, Russell was at Imperial College London where he was Chair of Molecular Neuroscience within the Faculty of Medicine.

Professor Fosters Research Summary

His research interests span both visual and circadian neurobiology with the main focus on the mechanisms whereby light regulates vertebrate circadian rhythms. 
All life on earth has evolved under a rhythmically changing cycle of light and darkness, and organisms from single-celled bacteria up to man possess an internal representation of time. These 24 hour cycles, termed circadian rhythms, persist in the absence of external cues, and provide a means of anticipating changes in the environment rather than passively responding to them.

In mammals, including man, light provides the critical input to the circadian system, synchronising the body clock to prevailing conditions. The photoreceptors providing this input are found in the retina, consisting of the classical rods and cones which enable image-formation, as well as a recently identified subset of photosensitive retinal ganglion cells.

The research interests of his group range across the neurosciences but with specific interests in circadian, visual and behavioural neuroscience. This covers such topics as how circadian rhythms are generated, the diverse functions these rhythms serve, how this system is regulated by light, the role of classical and novel photoreceptors in both visual and circadian light perception, and genetic disorders of these systems. This work includes a range of molecular, cellular, anatomical and behavioural aspects, as well as addressing the implications for human performance, productivity and health.


[Prof Foster at Oxford]

[Prof Foster at The Royal Society]

[The Nuffield Department of Clinical Neuroscience]

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