Dr. Jennifer Hurley, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, has just received an award through an U01 cooperative agreement funded by the Department of Defense and the NIH National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering titled, “Multiscale Modeling of Circadian Rhythms”. The total award is $3,932,000 with Dr. Hurley’s funding at $580,000. The lead PI is Dr. William Cannon of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory with Drs. Jennifer Hurley (Rensselaer) and Jay Dunlap (Dartmouth) as Co-PIs. This project will extend a new method of modeling that makes the simulation of coupled chemical reactions, such as those found in metabolism, much easier to implement and apply. Dr. Hurley and her collaborators will apply this new method to understand the dynamical behavior and circadian rhythms of cells. Circadian rhythms are found in organisms ranging in complexity from cyanobacteria to humans and represent a major aspect of cellular regulation in the majority of eukaryotes. These rhythms control many aspects of cellular behavior, ranging from the release of cellulases in fungi to degrade cellulose in the environment to the dynamics of human cells. Circadian dysfunction in humans underlies metabolic, behavioral, and cognitive disorders. The new approach is based on recent developments in physics, and in statistical thermodynamic fluctuation theories. In these approaches, modeling the relative time dependence of reactions can be shown to be much easier than modeling the absolute time. This team of investigators will apply these methods not only to the enzymatic reactions of metabolism, but also to the regulatory network that comprises the circadian clock which controls the metabolism of cells over a period of 24 hours.