Julie Pendergast

  • Assistant Professor
  • Behavior
  • Biology
  • Neuroscience and Neurobiology
  • Physiology
316 THM
(859) 218-6770
Research Interests:

Research Assistant Professor of Medicine, Vanderbilt University, Div of Diabetes,
Endocrinology, and Metabolism, 2012-2015
Postdoctoral Fellow, Vanderbilt University, Dept of Biological Sciences, 2007-2012
Ph.D., Neuroscience, University of Miami, 2007
M.S., Biology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 2001
B.S., Cell and Structural Biology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 1999

Circadian Rhythms and Metabolism

My primary research interest is the study of mammalian circadian rhythms. These are 24-h, daily rhythms that are present at every level of biology from gene expression to complex behavior.  The integrity of circadian rhythms is important for good health. For example, shift work, which chronically disrupts circadian rhythms, is associated with increased risk of obesity, cancer, suppression of the immune system and other health problems. In my research I use rodent models to study circadian rhythms and how disrupting these rhythms leads to poor health. Specifically, I am interested in the interplay between the circadian and metabolic systems, with a focus on how circadian disruption contributes to obesity.

The mammalian circadian system is a hierarchial network of oscillators: the master pacemaker in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus receives information about the light-dark cycle and coordinates the timing of clocks located throughout the brain and body. This organization of circadian clocks results in precise temporal control of behavior and physiology. We found that eating a high-fat diet disrupts this circadian organization and alters daily rhythms of eating behavior and locomotor activity. The overarching goal of my research is to elucidate how the circadian and metabolic systems interact to control physiology and behavior. To this end, ongoing research in the lab investigates (i) the mechanisms whereby high-fat diet disrupts circadian organization; (ii) the metabolic consequences of circadian disorganization; and (iii) how female obesity and circadian rhythms differ from males.

In the lab we measure circadian behavior (eating and activity rhythms) and bioluminescence rhythms in brain and peripheral tissues cultured from transgenic mice. Additionally, we analyze circadian rhythms of whole body metabolism, plasma hormones, and glucose metabolism. Research in the lab spans multiple disciplines including chronobiology, neuroscience, behavior, physiology, and metabolism.

PubMed Publications*: 
  • Pendergast, JS ;Wendroth, RH ;Stenner, RC ;Keil, CD ;Yamazaki, S "mPeriod2 <sup>Brdm1</sup> and other single Period mutant mice have normal food anticipatory activity." Scientific reports 7, 1 (2017): 15510. Details. Full text
  • Shi, SQ ;White, MJ ;Borsetti, HM ;Pendergast, JS ;Hida, A ;Ciarleglio, CM ;de Verteuil, PA ;Cadar, AG ;Cala, C ;McMahon, DG ;Shelton, RC ;Williams, SM ;Johnson, CH "Molecular analyses of circadian gene variants reveal sex-dependent links between depression and clocks." Translational psychiatry 6, (2016): e748. Details. Full text
  • Veatch, OJ ;Pendergast, JS ;Allen, MJ ;Leu, RM ;Johnson, CH ;Elsea, SH ;Malow, BA "Genetic variation in melatonin pathway enzymes in children with autism spectrum disorder and comorbid sleep onset delay." Journal of autism and developmental disorders 45, 1 (2015): 100-10. Details. Full text
  • Chen, Z.;Guo, L ;Zhang, Y.;Walzem, RL ;Pendergast, JS ;Printz, RL ;Morris, LC ;Matafonova, E ;Stien, X ;Kang, L ;Coulon, D ;McGuinness, OP ;Niswender, KD ;Davies, SS "Incorporation of therapeutically modified bacteria into gut microbiota inhibits obesity." The Journal of clinical investigation 124, 8 (2014): 3391-406. Details. Full text
  • Pendergast, JS ;Yamazaki, S "Effects of light, food, and methamphetamine on the circadian activity rhythm in mice." Physiology & behavior 128, (2014): 92-8. Details. Full text
  • Pendergast, JS ;Niswender, KD ;Yamazaki, S "The complex relationship between the light-entrainable and methamphetamine-sensitive circadian oscillators: evidence from behavioral studies of Period-mutant mice." The European journal of neuroscience 38, 7 (2013): 3044-53. Details. Full text
  • Pendergast, JS ;Branecky, KL ;Yang, W.;Ellacott, KL ;Niswender, KD ;Yamazaki, S "High-fat diet acutely affects circadian organisation and eating behavior." The European journal of neuroscience 37, 8 (2013): 1350-6. Details. Full text
  • Pendergast, JS ;Oda, GA ;Niswender, KD ;Yamazaki, S "Period determination in the food-entrainable and methamphetamine-sensitive circadian oscillator(s)." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 109, 35 (2012): 14218-23. Details. Full text
  • Pendergast, JS ;Yamazaki, S "The mammalian circadian system is resistant to dioxin." Journal of biological rhythms 27, 2 (2012): 156-63. Details. Full text
  • Pendergast, JS ;Yamazaki, S "Masking responses to light in period mutant mice." Chronobiology international 28, 8 (2011): 657-63. Details. Full text
  • Um, JH ;Pendergast, JS ;Springer, DA ;Foretz, M ;Viollet, B ;Brown, A ;Kim, MK ;Yamazaki, S ;Chung, JH "AMPK regulates circadian rhythms in a tissue- and isoform-specific manner." PloS one 6, 3 (2011): e18450. Details. Full text
  • Pendergast, JS ;Yeom, M ;Reyes, BA ;Ohmiya, Y ;Yamazaki, S "Disconnected circadian and cell cycles in a tumor-driven cell line." Communicative & integrative biology 3, 6 (2010): 536-9. Details. Full text
  • Yeom, M ;Pendergast, JS ;Ohmiya, Y ;Yamazaki, S "Circadian-independent cell mitosis in immortalized fibroblasts." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 107, 21 (2010): 9665-70. Details. Full text
  • Pendergast, JS ;Friday, RC ;Yamazaki, S "Photic entrainment of period mutant mice is predicted from their phase response curves." The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 30, 36 (2010): 12179-84. Details. Full text
  • Pendergast, JS ;Friday, RC ;Yamazaki, S "Distinct functions of Period2 and Period3 in the mouse circadian system revealed by in vitro analysis." PloS one 5, 1 (2010): e8552. Details. Full text
  • Pendergast, JS ;Friday, RC ;Yamazaki, S "Endogenous rhythms in Period1 mutant suprachiasmatic nuclei in vitro do not represent circadian behavior." The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 29, 46 (2009): 14681-6. Details. Full text
  • Pendergast, JS ;Tuesta, LM ;, "Oestrogen receptor beta contributes to the transient sex difference in tyrosine hydroxylase expression in the mouse locus coeruleus." Journal of neuroendocrinology 20, 10 (2008): 1155-64. Details. Full text
  • Reyes, BA ;Pendergast, JS ;Yamazaki, S "Mammalian peripheral circadian oscillators are temperature compensated." Journal of biological rhythms 23, 1 (2008): 95-8. Details. Full text
  • Mistlberger, RE ;Yamazaki, S ;Pendergast, JS ;Landry, GJ ;Takumi, T ;Nakamura, W "Comment on "Differential rescue of light- and food-entrainable circadian rhythms"." Science (New York, N.Y.) 322, 5902 (2008): 675; author reply 675. Details. Full text
  • Kusanagi, H ;Hida, A ;Satoh, K ;Echizenya, M ;Shimizu, T ;Pendergast, JS ;Yamazaki, S ;Mishima, K "Expression profiles of 10 circadian clock genes in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells." Neuroscience research 61, 2 (2008): 136-42. Details. Full text
  • Hu, WH ;Pendergast, JS ;Mo, XM ;Brambilla, R ;Bracchi-Ricard, V ;Li, F.;Walters, WM ;Blits, B ;He, L ;Schaal, SM ;, "NIBP, a novel NIK and IKK(beta)-binding protein that enhances NF-(kappa)B activation." The Journal of biological chemistry 280, 32 (2005): 29233-41. Details. Full text
  • Takasu, NN ;Pendergast, JS ;Olivas, CS ;Yamazaki, S ;Nakamura, W "In vivo monitoring of multi-unit neural activity in the suprachiasmatic nucleus reveals robust circadian rhythms in Period1⁻/⁻ mice." PloS one 8, 5 (0): e64333. Details. Full text
  • Pendergast, JS ;Nakamura, W ;Friday, RC ;Hatanaka, F ;Takumi, T ;Yamazaki, S "Robust food anticipatory activity in BMAL1-deficient mice." PloS one 4, 3 (0): e4860. Details. Full text
  • Pendergast, JS ;Branecky, KL ;Huang, R ;Niswender, KD ;Yamazaki, S "Wheel-running activity modulates circadian organization and the daily rhythm of eating behavior." Frontiers in psychology 5, (0): 177. Details. Full text
  • Pendergast, JS ;Niswender, KD ;Yamazaki, S "Tissue-specific function of Period3 in circadian rhythmicity." PloS one 7, 1 (0): e30254. Details. Full text
  • Branecky, KL ;Niswender, KD ;Pendergast, JS "Disruption of Daily Rhythms by High-Fat Diet Is Reversible." PloS one 10, 9 (0): e0137970. Details. Full text
  • Palmisano, BT ;Stafford, JM ;Pendergast, JS "High-Fat Feeding Does Not Disrupt Daily Rhythms in Female Mice because of Protection by Ovarian Hormones." Frontiers in endocrinology 8, (0): 44. Details. Full text
* Publications are automatically pulled from pubmed.gov based on a user-specific query. Results may include incorrect citations. See: Tutorial on improving PubMed results.
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