Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences
(023) 8059 4336

Dr Herman Wijnen Drs, PhD, FHEA

Associate Professor in Biological Sciences, Principal Investigator (Biological Timing),Science and Engineering Day Coordinator for Biological Sciences

Dr Herman Wijnen's photo
Related links
Personal homepage

Dr Herman Wijnen joined the University of Southampton in 2012 and currently holds a position as Associate Professor of Biological Sciences.

Career History

2014-present: Associate Professor in Biological Sciences. University of Southampton, UK.
2012-2014: Senior Lecturer in Biological Sciences. University of Southampton, UK.
2004-2012: Assistant Professor Biology. The University of Virginia, USA.
2000-2004: Postdoc Circadian Biology. The Rockefeller University, USA.

Academic qualifications

2000: PhD Genetics. Stony Brook University/Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, USA.
1993: Drs MSc Biomedical Sciences. Leiden University, The Netherlands.

Research interests

Why do we sleep at night? What causes jet lag? How can molecules measure time? To answer these and related questions we study biological systems for daily time keeping that are known as circadian clocks. Circadian clocks allow organisms to organize their bodily functions in a daily schedule and keep their internal rhythms in sync with environmental rhythms of light and temperature. We would like to know what genes and molecules are involved in the function of circadian clocks and how they function together to measure time and coordinate biological rhythms.

For our research we use the fruit fly Drosophila as an experimental model. This model system is not only convenient to use, but it also offers powerful tools for conducting genetic, molecular, and behavioural studies. Moreover, as it turns out, studying the molecular mechanisms of the clock in Drosophila not only gives us insights into the basis of daily timekeeping in insect pests, pollinators and disease vectors, it also helps us understand clock function in mammals. A lot of our understanding of the internal clocks of humans has come about based on discoveries made in flies.

Over the years we have worked on:

  • Cataloguing clock-controlled transcripts and promoter elements (Neuron 32:657, 2001; PLoS Genet 2:e39, 2006; Nucl Acids res 45:6459, 2017).
  • Data analysis methods to detect daily oscillations across independent data sets (Methods Enzymol 393:34, 2005).
  • Identification of the separate and combined contributions of environmental light, temperature, and the internal circadian clock in generating daily expression rhythms (PLoS Genet 2:e39, 2006; PLoS Genet 3:e54, 2007)
  • The molecular and behavioural determinants of circadian temperature synchronisation (BMC Biol 7:49, 2009; Proc Biosci 281:1793, 2014).
  • Development of a new fluorescence/luminescence technique for imaging of molecular circadian rhythms at single-cell resolution (J Biol Rhythms 25:228, 2010).
  • Transgenic conditional control of circadian clock function (PLoS Genet 7:e1002167, 2011).

PhD Supervision

Miguel Ramirez-Moreno: Control of Drosophila circadian behaviour by the RHO1-signalling pathway. Gerald Kerkut Charitable Trust
Alex Hull: Developmental control of adult Drosophila sleep/wake rhythms by the conserved transcription factor CLOCK/CYCLE. EU Marie Curie Career Integration Grant
Bethan Shaw: Chronophysiology of Spotted Wing Drosophila. AHDB Horticulture
Charles Hurdle: Multi-functional environmental sensing by CRYPTOCHROME in a Drosophila model. Gerald Kerkut Charitable Trust

Research group


Affiliate research groups

Plants and Food Security , Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, Computational and Systems Biology, Institute for Life Sciences (IfLS), Southampton Neuroscience Group (SoNG)

Research project(s)

Multi-functional environmental sensing by CRYPTOCHROME in a Drosophila model

This project aims to provide insight into the molecular basis of behavioural responses to light and magnetic fields in insects.

Temperature entrainment of the molecular circadian clock circuits in Drosophila

This project studies how temperature affects daily timekeeping in animals.

Circadian Developmental Requirements

This project uses the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster to investigate the developmental role of the conserved circadian clock component CLOCK/CYCLE.

Control of Drosophila circadian behaviour by the RHO1-signalling pathway

This project studies how regulation of cell structure affects daily timekeeping in animals.

Chronophysiology of Spotted Wing Drosophila

Enhancing control of the soft- and stone- fruit pest Drosophila suzukii (Spotted Wing Drosophila) by exploiting its activity patterns in the field.

Sort via:TypeorYear


Module Coordinator

BIOL2018 Adaptive Physiology


BIOL2040 Neural Basis of Behaviour
BIOL3015 Regulation of Gene Expression
BIOL3020 Systems neuroscience
BIOL6027 Regulation of Gene Expression
BIOL6034 Systems Neuroscience


BIOL3031 Literature-based research project
BIOL3032 Literature-based research project
BIOL3034  Laboratory research project
BIOL3060 Science Communication
BIOL3061 Field Research Project
BIOL3066 Extended Science Communication
BIOL6011 Advanced Library Project 1
BIOL6013 Advanced Research Project


BIOL1020 Core Skills in the Life Sciences

University of Southampton

Invertebrate Research Facility, Chair User Group
Science and Engineering Festival, Coordinator for Biological Sciences
School’s Liaison for Biological Sciences, Member REECh committee

External Contributions

Member Editorial Board, Scientific Reports

Dr Herman Wijnen
School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences
Life Sciences Building 85
University of Southampton
Highfield Campus
SO17 1BJ

Room Number: 85/4047

Dr Herman Wijnen's personal home page
Share this profile Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings