Internet of things (IoT) monitoring of rodent home-cages to understand circadian plasticity

2019 Pilot Project Read More


Principal Investigator: Alexxai Kravitz (WashU Psychiatry)
Collaborator: Erik Herzog (WashU Biology)


Nearly every organism on Earth, from bacteria to humans, contain a circadian clock. This clock maximizes survival by determining optimal times for processes such as activity, rest, and feeding. In recent decades, circadian disruptions have become common, as more people stay up late consuming internet and other media content or engage in work that requires their waking hours to deviate from the normal light period of the day. Such circadian disruptions have been linked to several diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and Alzheimer’s disease. However, the mechanisms by which disruptions might cause neurodegeneration remain unknown. To explore the link between circadian rhythms and neurodegeneration, we built a system to quantify circadian rhythms across hundreds of mice in their home cages, using a novel cloud-based data collection system. We will leverage the high-throughput nature of this system to understand circadian disruptions and neuronal cell death in mouse models of neurodegeneration. If successful, we hope to predict neurodegeneration from changes in circadian rhythms in mice, and gain insights into the mechanistic links between the two.


Pilot project teams include Hope Center faculty members and others. For more about Hope Center faculty on this team, click below.

Alexxai Kravitz

Erik Herzog