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Sridhar Vasudevan – Modulating Circadian Rhythm Disruption


I’m Sridhar Vasudevan, or Sri, I’m based at the Department of Pharmacology at Oxford, and I received CIC funding to develop drugs to modulate circadian rhythms (or chronomodulators).

What are circadian rhythms and how do they affect human health?

So all life on earth has evolved in this twenty-four hour light-dark cycle, where everything from temperature, availability of food, etc. are vastly different, so in order to anticipate these changes and better respond to this, we’ve evolved what is called a circadian clock. In us it’s a molecular clock, meaning these are proteins which regulate different physiology at different times of the day. 

What can happen when our circadian rhythms are disrupted?

Circadian disruption is a huge problem. It’s labelled as a carcinogen, it can lead to mood disorders, and obesity, and a whole lot of other disorders, but in spite of this, there’s not a single drug that can be used effectively to control this.

How did MRC Confidence in Concept allow you to advance your research?

We had a drug candidate, when I say candidate, we had a family, we had identified a family of potent chronomodulators, but we needed practical information like how much to dose, when to dose, and also things such as, is our drug as good as the other alternatives that people are using to manage circadian disruption, and also I mentioned, we had a family of drugs, so which is the one drug which we are going to advance to the next stage. So this is the information that we needed, and this is exactly what we got with CiC funding.

What successes have you had so far?

So we’ve identified a chronomodulatory drug that’s quite potent, and now we want to make a big leap and move into the clinics. Towards this, we have gathered all the data necessary to make this step, like dosing, and timing, and the right drug, so fortunately as a result of this work we have received some venture capitalist funding and now we have spun out a company called Circadian Therapeutics, that’s established and is doing exactly this.

What are your aspirations for the future of your research?

My aspirations are we would be able to make drug that’s effective, and that will help the patients get better, and that’s taken up widely.