The circadian clock tells stem cells when to grow and when to divide during the day. When the clock is broken because of activities like shift work, we hypothesize this can lead to uncontrolled cell growth — a feature of cancer. We will figure out how circadian rhythms controls healing and cancer in the intestine.
To test the disrupted circadian clock, the Karpowicz lab will study both mice and intestinal organoids, which are mini organs grown from stem cells in cell culture. Collaborators from Windsor Regional Hospital will help obtain human tissues from cancer surgeries to study these processes in human cells.
In addition to studying the dangers of a disrupted clock, the project will also investigate how medical treatment could be significantly improved by knowing how time of day affects healing. (Adapted from the Daily News)