Erik Herzog

Professor of Biology, Viktor Hamburger Distinguished Professor in Arts & Sciences

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Erik Herzog studies the molecules, cells and circuits that underlie daily rhythms in physiology and behavior. He has discovered a wide array of the mechanisms underlying how circadian clocks regulate physiology, behavior and health.

Herzog’s research is focused on: determining how neurons release neuropeptides that synchronize circadian cells; testing the role of maternal and fetal circadian tissues in timing birth; establishing the ionic basis for daily rhythms in neuronal excitability; and mapping the connections and cell types that underlie daily rhythms as a function of age, sex and the seasons. He has also collaborated with researchers at the School of Medicine on a retrospective study that shows that the timing of chemotherapy could improve treatment for deadly brain cancer.

Herzog has served as the president of the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms and the director of the St. Louis Neuroscience Pipeline, a National Institutes of Health-funded initiative to increase diversity in the neurosciences.

In the media

Permanent Daylight Saving Time Is the Wrong Choice

Although there is strong support from the public and research communities for ending the biannual time changes, the question is, what’s the best alternative: permanent standard time or daylight saving time (DST)? Unfortunately, the Sunshine Protection Act mandates permanent DST, writes Erik Herzog, the Viktor Hamburger Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences.


Washington People: Erik Herzog

Washington People: Erik Herzog

Erik Herzog, professor of biology in Arts & Sciences, studies the molecules, cells and circuits of mammalian circadian timing. He also supports and encourages younger neuroscience researchers, from elementary school all the way through doctoral programs.
Mice run by starry clocks

Mice run by starry clocks

Star-shaped cells called astrocytes, long considered boring, “support cells,” are finally coming into their own. To everyone’s surprise they even play an important role in the body’s master clock, which schedules everything from the release of hormones to the onset of sleepiness.
Better understanding biorhythms

Better understanding biorhythms

Fireflies use oscillation to communicate on the same wavelength. An engineer at Washington University in St. Louis has developed a new waveform that can control chemical oscillation in the lab. This finding could lead to better understanding of oscillation as it pertains to heart pacemakers, the brain’s neural patterns and even jet lag.

Daylight savings offers no savings, poses health risks, expert says

People often feel draggy the day after they have to set their clocks forward in the spring but often shrug off that feeling as trivial. In fact, says Erik Herzog, PhD, a neuroscientist at Washington University in St. Louis, who studies biological clocks, jamming our biological clocks into reverse, as daylight savings time does, has serious consequences.