William Wisden

Imperial College London

A link between stress and restorative sleep

12:00 pm, Monday 31 October 2022

Location: Phase II Biochemistry, Ground Floor Seminar Room, Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Building

Abstract:  Wisden will present evidence that certain types of stress can induce a restorative sleep. This is mediated by sleep-inducing circuitry in the midbrain and, in particular, inhibitory GABAergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area. A specific circuit allows animals to restore mental and body functions by sleeping, potentially providing a refined route for treating anxiety disorders. Wisden will also present unpublished findings on basal ganglia circuitry that generates REM sleep and how this REM circuitry can modulate anxiety.

Biography: William Wisden studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge and then completed a PhD with Stephen Hunt at the MRC Molecular Neurobiology Unit, Cambridge, followed by a postdoc in Peter Seeburg’s lab at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. He returned to Cambridge as a group leader at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, followed by another period at the University of Heidelberg, then a Professorship at the University of Aberdeen, and in 2009 he moved to Imperial College London where he has been ever since. Wisden has worked extensively on GABA and glutamate receptors, initially their cloning and molecular characterization, and then later using mouse genetics to understand how these receptors work in various circuitries. Since around 2009, in collaboration with Nick Franks (also at Imperial), he has investigated sleep-wake circuitry and the homeostatic drive to sleep.