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Professor John Hogenesch studies circadian rhythms and the genome.

He talks about

  • The influence of cues on our circadian rhythm and how lighting and even medication timing can affect us,
  • Studies on hospital-specific lighting and how two new hospital wings in Cincinnati are designed accordingly, and
  • Some unusual sleep patterns, such as Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, and how it can affect people. 

Dr. John Hogenesch is Professor of Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Human Genetics and Immunobiology at the University of Cincinnati Department of Pediatrics. He specializes in genome biology with a focus on the molecular mechanisms of circadian rhythms in mammals.

He explains to listeners the basics of circadian rhythm as a daily rhythm of behavior and physiology that persists in the absence of external cues. He discusses how healthcare and specifically hospital design and schedules are often at odds with most patients’ rhythms.

In fact, he mentions one study in which NICU patients under a cycled light schedule went home two weeks earlier than babies under constant dimmed light conditions. He discusses his hospital’s design of two new areas for NICU and PICU patients under the advisement of his lab that will integrate beds with circadian natural-light systems. He adds ways in which medication delivery and procedure timing could also be better paired with circadian rhythms and efforts to do so.

Dr. Hogenesch also talks about Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS).

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Richard has such a sleep pattern and the two discuss how it manifests itself, as well as other sleep patterns, and how they affect those who experience them.

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He also addresses how cortisol’s peak has an effect as well as how external cues interfere or work with our sleep patterns. For example, he mentions our eating timing, light exposure, and light temperature and type.

He discusses how the pandemic is pushing many of us to later sleep schedules and possible hypothesizes for why. Along the way he offers some suggestions for eliminating excessive blue and green light and other similar measures.

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For more, see his lab page at and the Society for Research in Biological Rhythms, which publishes helpful blog posts and articles.

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