The Fernandez Lab, in collaboration with the Science of Light Center, is broadly interested in understanding how the body and brain encode environmental stimuli, such as daily changes in light and feeding patterns, to timely coordinate physiology and behavior. We apply a curiosity-driven approach to address such questions as:
- What are the mechanisms that allow us to extract time information from changes in light?
- Are these mechanisms similar to those that generate an internal representation of the visual scene?
- Can lighting conditions affect the way the brain communicates with other systems?
- What are the processes that govern the development of circuits processing environmental signals?
Results obtained from this basic approach become relevant for elucidating the neuronal basis of disorders linked to deleterious environmental factors, such as light pollution and circadian stressors or disruptors, and thus, expanding the opportunities to develop innovative therapeutics strategies. In a broader view, understanding how artificial light affects our physiology is critical in the design of better lighting conditions for improving human health and to reduce its environmental impact.