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Nobel laureate Michael Rosbash speaks on bad effects of “staying up late”in Wenzhou
【Fonts: Large Medium Small 【Source: Wenzhou·China 【Date: 2018.10.29】

“Staying up late may be getting you fat, ugly and slow-minded.”Professor Michael Rosbash who shared the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with two of his colleagues for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm was hired as an honorary professor at Wenzhou Medical University (WMU). At the invitation of WMU, he visited WMU and its Affiliated Eye Hospital, Wenzhou Kangning Hospital and other institutions on October 22ndand 23rd. During his stay in Wenzhou, he sat down for an exclusive interview with our reporter.


His research


“Staying up late will break your body’s internal clock. And diseases will surreptitiously crawl on you as a consequence.


It is understood that Professor Michael Rosbash won the Nobel Prize for the explanation how many animals, plants and humans adapt the biological rhythm to the fluctuations of the day. In short, he studied what we usually call “the biological clock”.


The “biological clock” regulates important functions of the body, such as behavior, hormone levels, sleep, body temperature, etc. The “biological clock” is closely related to your health: when you are sleepy, when you wake up, your body temperature changes during the day, and when the hormone levels rise, all are managed by the “biological clock”.


Professor Michael Rosbash and his colleagues have come to a few conclusions through sophisticated experiments: staying up late will break the delicate clock in the human body, and diseases will follow up as a result. Staying up late will cause the brain to devour itself (its functions). Risk of developing tumors will increase if the key genes regulating the body rhythm fail.


His personality


“Most prominent people topping a certain field of study are often humble.”


In the beginning of the visit to Wenzhou Kangning Hospital, a staff member of the hospital accompanying the Professor failed to address him properly. To deal with the somehow embarrassing situation, Professor Michael Rosbash said: “I have told my students in Wenzhou that my Chinese name is ‘Lao Ma’ or ‘Old Horse’. I love it being called as ‘Lao Ma’”. The atmosphere soon became light-hearted and the reception staff then began to address him as Professor “Lao Ma”, which may be derived from the harmonic “M” in his name to the Chinese character of “Ma”, literally meaning “horse”. They said that the Professor’s Chinese name sounds cordial, natural, and easy.


People in the entourage of Professor “Old Ma” said that he is very low-key and easygoing. Such a personality is a unique trait masters have. Most prominent people topping a certain field of study are often humble. As our reporter noted, Professor “Old Ma” were most often heard using kindly vocal expressions such as “you are welcome”, “nice to meet you”, “thank you very much” etc..


People in the entourage of Professor “Old Ma” commented on his resilience and patience in research, saying “It is really impressive and admirable that he is still deeply immersed in the fundamental research of sleep. After all, as a pioneer in the field, he has been studying for decades. ”


Professor “Old Ma” often got people around with pleasant little surprises during the visit. When chatting with a French-Chinese in Kangning Hospital, their conversation suddenly became incomprehensible as the interpreter got stuck. Later, it was found out that Professor “Old Ma” timely switched to speak French as he learned that the other party was a French-Chinese. It turned out that Professor “Old Ma” had studied in France for two years in his early years.


When staying in Wenzhou, Professor “Old Ma” was on a very tight schedule of visiting schools, hospitals, the Body Science Museum at WMU and giving lectures to student...

The accompanying staff said, “Such a heavy agenda is really tiring for him. But Professor “Old Ma” always looks like in good spirits.”


It is understood that Professor “Old Ma” was born in March 1944 and is 74 years old this year. When waiting in the line for riding the elevator from the second floor to the seventh floor at the Affiliated Eye Hospital of WMU, as the two elevators filled with people before him, Professor “Old Ma” asked the interpreter: “If it is not on a high floor, shall we walk straight up the stairs?”. Considering his age, the accompanying staff finally insisted that he take the elevator.


Inside the elevator, our reporter said to Professor “Old Ma”: “You look very energetic, how do you do that?”.“I work with young people all the time. That may be the reason. ”, he bantered.


His suggestion


“Sleep time varies from person to person, and the most important thing is to understand and follow your own biological rhythm”.


Reporter: What is your impression of Wenzhou for the first visit?


Professor Rosbash: Wenzhou is a very modern city. The hospital is professional, the hotel is advanced, and the traffic is orderly. It makes me feel very comfortable.


Reporter: On the evening of October 22, you gave a lecture to the students of Wenzhou Medical University. What kind of impression you have about the university students in Wenzhou?


Professor Rosbash: College students in Wenzhou are very thoughtful, very active, and very positive. You know, college students in the United States have various problems, and sometimes they are negative.


What is even more impressive is that Wenzhou’s college students are very passionate and enthusiastic about academics. Among them, I feel like a rock star.


Reporter: As a sleep expert, can you give us some advice on sleep?


Professor Rosbash: Most people think that it is better to sleep at 10 o’clock in the evening. However, in fact, sleep time varies from person to person. The most important thing is to understand your own “biological rhythm” and follow the natural reaction of your body. When you feel sleepy at night, then go to bed early, do not stay up late. If you can naturally stay in a state of waking, it will be no problem even if it is late at night.


Don’t drink alcohol in the middle of the night. Before going to bed, don’t use computer or other electronic products. In addition, the ambient light should not be too strong.Such measures can help sleep.


Reporter: Now you have become an honorary professor of Wenzhou Medical University. What kind of cooperation and exchange you will carry out with WMU and Wenzhou in the future?


Professor Rosbash: I really like the city of Wenzhou. I am very happy to come back. I will consider doing some detailed research, and then provide some guidance accordingly. I may strengthen our cooperation and exchanges with WMU in medical education, scientific research and medical services.


News +


Professor Michael Rosbash is a well-known American geneticist and chronobiologist, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He has long been working on the circadian rhythm and periodic gene and DNA changes in fruit flies. He received his Ph.D. in Biophysics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1970. He worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Animal Genetics at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom from 1972 to 1974. He then taught at the Biology Department of Brandeis University and was named to Peter Gruber Chair in Neuroscience in 2012. He is currently a professor of biology at Brandeis University and a research fellow at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Along with Michael W. Young and Jeffrey C. Hall, Professor Michael Rosbash was awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm”.


By Correspondent Xia Zhongxin

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