About the Smale Laboratory

Dr. Laura Smale (on the Galapagos)

We are a research and teaching laboratory at Michigan State University, part of the Rhythms Group. Much of our research is aimed at understanding how the neural mechanisms underlying behavior are transformed as natural selection shapes the behavior patterns exhibited by animals. The focus is specifically on determining how the mechanisms controlling daily, or circadian rhythms  were altered as day-active mammals evolved from their night-active ancestors. We are also examining how rhythms, and their neural substrates, can differ across individuals within a species and how they can be modified within individuals as their environments change. Much of this work is being conducted in collaboration with people in the labs of two other members of the Rhythms Research Group at MSU, Dr. Antonio (Tony) Nunez and Dr. Lily Yan.

Three rodents that independently evolved a diurnal pattern of adaptation to the day-night cycle

 “Three rodents that independently evolved a diurnal pattern of adaptation to the day-night cycle”

The suprachiasmatic nucleus, site of the primary circadian clock in mammals

The suprachiasmatic nucleus, site of the primary circadian clock in mammals