J. Warren Merrill Associate Professor of Biology
Why Do We Sleep? Clues from Brain Cells
Our current understanding of sleep is incomplete. We know it is vital for overall health and cognitive function; however, we are only beginning to discover sleep’s role in remodeling the architecture of the brain for processes such as learning and memory. The hormone melatonin is called the “chemical messenger of darkness” and is hypothesized to play an important role in neural function. Tilden’s laboratory studies the role of melatonin in sleep-related activity at the cellular and molecular level. This research is conducted with students in Tilden’s lab at Colby and at the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory.
Professor Tilden earned her Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Oklahoma. A neuroscientist, she studies the influence of the environment on cellular and molecular neural function in collaboration with numerous students. She founded the neuroscience program at Colby, was the 2009 recipient of the Charles Bassett Teaching Award, and is codirector of the Colby Achievement Program in the Sciences (CAPS) and Colby’s NIH-INBRE programs.