Univ.-Prof. em. Dr. med. Barbara Griefahn

Research strategy

In accordance to the retirement of Professor Griefahn the research group ‚Chronobiology‘ was dissolved in the end of 2015. The group focused on the control of circadian and ultradian physiological rhythms, in particular the disturbances of these rhythms due to night work and to environmental influences under the aspect of performance, mood and health.

Night work as well as (concomitant) noise-induced sleep disturbances contribute presumably to the genesis of cardiovascular diseases. An increased health risk seems to apply to morning oriented persons whose cortisol quiescent period is shortened during night work and whose post-awakening cortisol concentrations are higher than in evening oriented persons. Similar though even stronger reactions are assumed for older persons due to the successive advance of their circadian system, the generally elevated cortisol production and the altered architecture of sleep.

This medium-term project concerns basic and applied research. The core disciplines involved are Occupational Medicine, Environmental Physiology, Ergonomics, Psychology and Toxicology/Endocrinology. It cooperates with the research groups „Flexible behaviour control“, „Ageing and CNS alterations“, „Chemical risks“ and „Neurobehavioral toxicology and chemosensation“. Further cooperation exists with the centralized facilities „Analytical chemistry“ and „Clinical occupational medicine“.