Kalsbeek Group

A multi-million grant to keep the biological clock healthy

The research team of Andries Kalsbeek together with 58 partners receives a multi-million grant from the Dutch National Research Agenda to investigate the biological clock in our modern society. Dutch researchers are joining forces to conduct research together with a series of societal partners to keep the biological clock healthy in our modern 24-hour society. The BioClock consortium will receive a research grant of no less than 9.7 million euros for this. It is one of the projects that receive funding within the program of the Dutch National Research Agenda of the Dutch National Research Council (NWO), to which the public could submit their questions.

The BioClock consortium: The biological clock in our modern society

Our biological clock is disrupted by the 24-hour society in which we now live. The goal of the BioClock consortium is to restore and preserve the health of the biological clock. The plans cover the society as a whole: from human health and disease to the natural environment and protection of biodiversity. Topics such as the health effects of shift work, the integration of the biological clock into the educational system, optimal timing of cancer immunotherapy and flu vaccinations, chronotherapy for depression, and the consequences of light pollution on insects and other light-sensitive animals are all covered in the six-year research program.

BioClock is internationally unparalleled in the scope and applicability of biological clock research. Many of the academic consortium members have contributed to years of fundamental research on this topic. With the grant that has now been awarded, they will elaborate on this and work on concrete applications for society.
With the biological clock at the center, the partners from the consortium will jointly develop strategies to contribute to a sustainable future for our planet and its inhabitants. The project leader is Joke Meijer, professor of neurophysiology at the LUMC. In addition to eight other universities, the research consortium consists of dozens of members from the public and semi-public sectors and industry: from RIVM to municipalities and from environmental organizations to occupational health services.

As one of the partners in this project Andries Kalsbeek (NIN/Amsterdam UMC), together with Dirk Jan Stenvers (Amsterdam UMC) and Joram Mul (UvA), will investigate in animal models how exercise affects the central clock in the brain and how the correct timing of exercise and food intake can reduce the negative metabolic effects of shift work.

Dutch Research Agenda

A total of 21 consortia will work as teams on interdisciplinary research that will bring scientific and societal breakthroughs within reach. In the projects, the entire knowledge chain and societal organisations, both public and private, will work closely together. The projects receive funding in the second round of the Dutch Research Agenda Programme: Research along Routes by Consortia (NWA-ORC).


Kalsbeek Group

The research of the Kalsbeek research group is focused on those hypothalamic systems that control metabolism, circulation and the immune system. To unravel the mechanisms of hypothalamic integration we study the hypothalamic biological clock and how it enforces its molecular rhythms onto daily physiology and behaviour.


The hypothalamus rules those things in life that really matter, such as sex and food, and love and aggression. This ‘primitive’ area at the base of the brain controls all aspects of our lives that are of the utmost importance, but at the same time mostly go unnoticed. Together the various hypothalamic nuclei control how we respond to stress, injury and infection. They determine our appetites for food and water, and subsequently regulate how we use the energy that we have taken in. The hypothalamus ensures a stable blood pressure, blood volume, electrolyte balance and body temperature. Last but not least, the hypothalamus imposes daily rhythms, such as the sleep/wake rhythm, onto our bodies. In other words, the hypothalamus controls the rhythm of our life. These things might seem mundane compared to the intangible mysteries of cognition, but they are of immediate and profound importance for our health and well-being.kalsbeek groep

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