COCVD Investigators: Project 3

Circadian Disruption and Atherosclerosis

Julie Pendergast, Ph.D. Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
College of Arts and Sciences

The circadian and metabolic systems are intricately interwoven. Disruption of circadian processes by shift work increases the risk for obesity and other metabolic risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Notably, night shift workers have a 40% increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease compared to day workers. It has been speculated that temporal misalignment of circadian clocks, which regulate the timing of behavior and physiology across the day, is a causative mechanism for obesity and cardiovascular disease in shift workers. However, no study has ever tested whether circadian misalignment directly impacts the development of cardiovascular disease. In this study we will test, for the first time, the hypothesis that circadian misalignment accelerates atherosclerosis.



Ming Gong, MD, Ph.D.
Department of Physiology
Cardiovascular Research Center



Kevin Pearson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Pharmacology and Nutritonal Sciences



Lisa Tannock, M.D. 
Chief, Division of Endocrinology
Internal Medicine