The lab


c_kyriacouCharalambos Kyriacou

I was born in Camden and spent my school years in North London. I went to Birmingham University aged 17 in 1970 and read Psychology, where one of the lecturers, David Fulker, turned my attention towards behavioural genetics. My PhD in this subject using Drosophila was carried out jointly in the Departments of Psychology and Genetics in Sheffield under the supervision of Kevin Connolly and Barrie Burnet. After spending one year in Psychology at the University of Edinburgh as a Demonstrator, I moved to Brandeis University in Boston in 1978, where I worked with Jeff Hall on the neurogenetics of sexual behaviour in flies and initiated a project on circadian clock genes in the context of courtship.

I continued this collaboration back in in Edinburgh and then Leicester with Jeff and Michael Rosbash (also at Brandeis) into the 1980s and 1990s, and was involved in their pioneering molecular analyses of fly circadian rhythm genes.  This work was to win them the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology in 2017 which they shared with Michael Young at Rockefeller.  My current research interests are focused on tidal, circadian and seasonal rhythms, aggression and the effects of electromagnetic field on behaviour, working predominantly with Drosophila and Eurydice, an intertidal marine organism. My lab is funded by multiple grants from BBSRC, the European Union and the Electromagnetic Field Biological Trust. Within the department I collaborate extensively with Dr Ezio Rosato (see below) on biological rhythms and Prof Flaviano Giorgini using fly models to study Huntington’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. Outside the department my main collaborators are Dr Michael Hastings (LMB, Cambridge), Dr David Wilcockson (Aberystwyth) and Prof Rodolfo Costa (Padova). cpk at

Bambos’ profile on Research Gate

EzioEzio Rosato

I studied at the University of Padova for my first degree. After military service in Rome, I won a national competition and obtained a PhD scholarship in Genetics. Although my ‘Dottorato’ was awarded by the University of Ferrara, my laboratory work was carried out in the Department of Biology at the University of Padova and in the Department of Genetics at the University of Leicester. I moved to Leicester permanently in 1994.

Over the years, my laboratory has been particularly involved in studying a complex behaviour, the circadian clock, in insects and in particular in the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster. We are interested in the genes that regulate the clock and we study them by characterising their function, by examining their evolution, and by analysing their expression.  We are also engaged in understanding how clock neurons (neurons expressing clock genes) are organised and how circadian information flows through their network. More recently we have started analysing other complex behaviours such as learning and memory, courtship and sleep.

Another area of research we are pursuing is the study of biological rhythmicity in marine invertebrates. The marine environment is particularly complex as the interplay of circadian, lunar and tidal rhythms might influence the habitat of some species. We have analysed the circadian and tidal behaviour of the ragworm Nereis viriens and we have studied the circadian behaviour of Northern and Antarctic krill. er6 at

Ezio’s pofile on Research Gate

HelenHelen Roe

As laboratory technician I have worked with Drosophila and looked after the health and safety and research needs of the fly groups for over 20 years. hdo at



Lin photo

Lin Zhang

I am a Senior Research Associate and my work has been focusing on the molecular basis of circatidal rhythm in the intertidal crustacean Eurydice pulchra for more than a decade. The work has been continuously funded by BBSRC  in collaboration with Aberystwyth University (Dr DC Wilcockson), Bangor University (Prof SC Webster) and MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge (Dr MH Hastings). Unlike terrestrial organisms where the circadian ~24 h solar cycle dominates, intertidal organisms are exposed to a prominent ~12.4 h component that reflects the ebb and flow of the tides, as well as semi-lunar (spring and neap tides), lunar and solar cycles which is reflected in their endogenous circatidal rhythms of behaviour and physiology.. However, the molecular control of tidal behaviours is poorly understood. We have been using Eurydice pulchra to address a long-standing question whether the circatidal rhythm shares the same molecular components of the circadian clock, the whether the tidal cycle is distinct from circadian oscillator (Wilcockson and Zhang 2008, Zhang et al 2013, O’Neill et al, 2015). lz8 at

Lin’s profile on Research gate


Valeria Zonato

I have been in the fly lab for a few years. During my PhD I studied diapause in D. melanogaster, a seasonal character that allows flies to escape winter in time. I was particularly interested in natural populations, which experience different environmental stimuli as winter approaches. I analysed several genes carrying polymorphisms which allow flies to anticipate the changing of seasons. After my PhD I have been managing two Marie Sklodowska-Curie Initial Training Networks: INsecTIME and CINCHRON. These networks involve 15 laboratories in Europe and Israel, with coordination and management in Leicester. The main focus of the networks is chronobiology in insects. vz12 at

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Laura Delfino

I joined the group in 2012 as a PhD student with a background in Biology and Evolutionary Biology gained through my BSc and MSc degrees at University of Padova (Italy). During my PhD in Genetics, I worked on a Drosophila model of Huntington’s disease. By focusing on different phenotypes, including altered sleep/wake cycles, I interrogated the role of a genetic modifier (Rab8) as a therapeutic target for the pathology. During my PhD I started to become interested in basic aspects of circadian rhythms and thanks to a research project funded by the BBSRC, my current research aims to dissect the role of peripheral clocks in Drosophila behaviour. ld148 at

Laura’s profile on Research gate


Joe Watkins

I am in the third year of my NERC funded PhD and interested in how Drosophila change their behaviour and biology in response to extreme environmental factors such as temperature. I look into the diapause phenotype in response to the cold, short photoperiods experienced in winter, whereby flies halt their ovary development so as not to waste valuable resources on non-viable progeny. I also look at the locomotor response of flies under varying environmental conditions with a particular focus on the use of more ‘natural’ experimental conditions than traditional laboratory studies. Jjcww2 at

Joe’s profile on Research gate

KalinaKalina Boytcheva

I am primarily interested in how neurons orchestrate and maintain circadian rhythmicity. I was born in a small town in northwestern Bulgaria, but I spent the majority of my adult life in Scotland, where I obtained my bachelors & master’s degree in neuroscience. My current PhD is funded by the BBSRC, as part of a partnership programme shared between the universities of Warwick, Birmingham, and Leicester. kvb10 at


wang yanxia 2Wang Yanxia

I come from Qingdao, Shandong, which is in the east of  P.R.China. I am a paediatrician at the Affiliated Hospital of Qingdao University, I specialise in genetics, immunology and child healthcare. During my PhD period in Zhejiang University, I worked on attention and executive function of children with Down syndrome, autism and William’s syndrome. I recently moved to Leicester to start an academic scholar programme. With the genetic technologies I can study the fly clock to understand how the peripheral neuronal network induces a circadian rhythm. yw400 at


photoAurore Capillon

I come from Marseille, in the south of the France. During my studies, I specialised in biology and did a multidisciplinary master on Development, Immunology and Neurology. During my internships, I worked on memory and spatial navigation at the INMED (Mediterranean Neurology Institute) and on the effect of maternal cholesterol on lymph node development of the embryo, in the CIML (Immunology Center of Marseille Luminy). I recently moved to Leicester to start a PhD programme within the European network CINCHRON. By using state of the art genetic technologies I am dissecting the fly clock to understand how the neuronal network induces a circadian rhythm. ac767 at


MG101801Abhijit Parameswaran

I hail from Peringode, a beautiful little village in the heart of Kerala, India. I was fortunate enough to join one of the premier research institutes for basic research in India, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Thiruvananthapuram. My master thesis was to decipher the role of miR-184 in the growth and development of Drosophila melanogaster. Life at IISER offered me an opportunity to understand the power of interdisciplinary research as a path to elucidate scientific problems. Nothing has been as enigmatic to me as the structure and function of the brain. I am fascinated to learn more about the genetics underlying the precise control of intricate neuronal networks. In Leicester I am part of CINCHRON. I am working on the neurogenetics of temperature compensation in the Drosophila circadian clock.


Michael Hastings– MRC Cambridge

Flaviano Giorgini -Leicester

Rodolfo Costa -Padova

David Wilcockson  and Simon Webster -Aberystwyth and Bangor University