UELI SCHIBLER, born in 1947 in Olten, Switzerland, studied biology at the University of Bern and obtained his Ph.D. in 1975. During his thesis project, he compared the secondary structure of pre-ribosomal and ribosomal RNA during vertebrate evolution. From 1975-78 Schibler worked as a postdoctoral fellow on mRNA 5'-capping and immunoglobulin mRNA processing in Robert Perry's laboratory at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. He then joined the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC), first as a junior group leader (1978-81) and then as a senior group leader with tenure (1981-1984). At ISREC, he investigated the tissue-specific expression of alpha-amylase genes in collaboration with Otto Hagenbüchle and Peter Wellauer. These studies resulted in the discovery of alternative promoter usage and differential splicing. In 1984 Schibler joined the Department of Molecular Biology at the University of Geneva as a full professor. His Geneva team developed a tissue-specific in vitro transcription system using nuclear proteins from solid rat tissues. This simple biochemical assays allowed the rapid identification of cis-acting elements of model genes and their trans-acting cognate transcription factors. One of these transcriptional regulatory proteins, DBP, was found to be expressed in a strongly circadian fashion in the liver and other organs. This unexpected finding motivated Schibler and his coworkers to study circadian clocks and their physiological functions in peripheral tissues. Recently, they demonstrated that even cultured fibroblasts contain cell-autonomous and self-sustained circadian oscillators that are resilient to intrinsic and extrinsic noise. His genetic and biochemical studies in mice revealed clock input and output pathways that translate the daily oscillations generated by circadian oscillators into overt rhythms in physiology, such as circadian metabolism and detoxification in liver, kidney, and small intestine.
Schibler is a member of several scientific associations, including EMBO, European Academy of Sciences, Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences, Faculty of 1000, and Union of Swiss Societies in Experimental Biology. He currently serves as an editorial board member for Genes & Development, PLoS Biology, and Journal of Biological Rhythms. Schibler has received the Friedrich Miescher Award of the Swiss Biochemical Society (1983), the Cloëtta Prize of Medicine (1986), the Otto Naegeli Prize of Medicine (1996), and the Louis Jeantet Prize of Medicine (2000).
Michael Young is the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Richard and Jeanne Fisher Professor, Head of the Laboratory of Genetics, The Rockefeller University. B.A. Biology 1971, Ph.D. Genetics 1975 University of Texas, Austin. Doctoral work with Burke Judd -cytogenetic studies of Drosophila chromosomes. Postdoctoral work, Biochemistry, Stanford University School of Medicine with David Hogness -identification and cloning of Drosophila transposable elements. Joined the faculty of The Rockefeller University in 1978 (Fellow of the Andre and Bella Meyer Foundation). Work at Rockefeller has focused on two areas of research: Neuromuscular development, stemming from the laboratory's isolation and studies of the Notch locus of Drosophila, and the genetics of behavior, particularly circadian rhythms. Contributions include: Initial cloning of the period gene of Drosophila, discoveries of the circadian clock genes timeless, double-time, shaggy, vrille, and pdp1, determination of the molecular interactions allowing these genes to form a biological clock, and mechanism for adjusting Drosophila's behavioral rhythms to environmental cycles of day and night through light-dependent degradation of the Timeless protein. period and double-time have been associated with an inherited human sleep disorder Familial Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome (FASPS), confirming action of Drosophila orthologs in normal human sleep/wake behavior.