RUSSELL FOSTER, PhD, FRS
University of Oxford
Head of the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology and the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute,
Russell Foster is Professor of Circadian Neuroscience and the Head of Department of Ophthalmology. He is also a Nicholas Kurti Senior Fellow at Brasenose College.
All life on earth has evolved under a rhythmically changing cycle of light and darkness, and organisms from single-celled bacteria up to man possess an internal representation of time. These 24-hour cycles, termed circadian rhythms, persist in the absence of external cues, and provide a means of anticipating changes in the environment rather than passively responding to them. In mammals, including man, light provides the critical input to the circadian system, synchronizing the body clock to prevailing conditions. The research interests of the Foster group range across the neurosciences but with specific interests in circadian, visual and behavioral neuroscience. This covers such topics as how circadian rhythms are generated, the diverse functions these rhythms serve, how this system is regulated by light, the role of classical and novel photoreceptors in both visual and circadian light perception, and genetic disorders of these systems. This work includes a range of molecular, cellular, anatomical and behavioral aspects, as well as addressing the implications for human performance, productivity and health.
He received his education at the University of Bristol under the supervision of Professor Sir Brian Follett. From 1988–1995 he was a member of the National Science Foundation Center for Biological Rhythms at the University of Virginia and worked closely with Michael Menaker.For his discovery of non-rod, non-cone ocular photoreceptors he has been awarded the Honma prize (Japan), Cogan award (USA), and Zoological Society Scientific & Edride-Green Medals (UK). He is the co-author of “Rhythms of Life” a popular science book on circadian rhythms. He is a member of the Royal Society.