The first researcher introduces herself!

July 18, 2022
Image of Ayano Shiba

Ayano Shiba is one of the first PhD BioClock candidates. She works at the Netherlands Institute of Neuroscience, under the supervision of Professor Andries Kalsbeek. She introduces herself and her project.

Who are you?

I am Ayano Shiba, a new PhD student in the laboratory of Professor Andries Kalsbeek at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience. I am from Japan and my hobbies are travelling, playing sports (jogging, basketball etc…) and making music.

What is your background?

I have a background in reproduction/endocrinology. During my bachelor’s and masters I have conducted research into different hormonal processes. For instance, I have looked at tanycytes, these are a special type of (glial) brain cell that regulate seasonal reproduction.

What is your BioClock project about?

My project is to clarify how timed exercises impact on the metabolic system, and possibly develop the prevention and treatment for circadian disruption-triggered metabolic diseases; obesity and type 2 diabetes melitus. At the moment we know that most living organisms including humans and rodents have an endogenous timekeeping mechanism or so-called circadian clock. We also know that disturbance of the clock triggered by shift work conditions are known to contribute to infertility, carcinogenesis and metabolic disorders. In the past years, a number of studies with rodents have reported on positive effects of forced exercise at specific times of day. Both circadian rhythms and metabolic effects were improved. However, the study of de Goede from our team strongly suggested that forced exercise protocols cause enormous activity of the stress system in the body. Therefore, our aim is to investigate the importance of timed exercises for the metabolic system without stress artifacts. Ultimately we want to develop prevention methods and treatments for metabolic disorders caused by disturbances of the biological clock.

When did you first hear about the biological clock?

During a lecture in the university. This led me to get a job at Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules at the Nagoya University, Japan where I worked for a year before starting my master, and consequently led me here.

What is something fun and/or interesting that people should know about you?

I love trying different wines, beers, cuisines and desserts from all over the world. Also I love to learn how to cook or bake international cuisines and desserts. So far, I learnt recipes from New Zealand, Finland, Japan, Germany, France, Spain, Russia, the states and so on that were taught from local friends/family. If you are a food/cooking/baking lover, let’s be friends 😉

If you want to contact Ayano, get in touch: a.shiba@nin.knaw.nl


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The BioClock Consortium is funded by the NWA-ORC programme of the Dutch Research Council (NWO; project number 1292.19.077).