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Troy, N.Y. -  2/1/2017

Rensselaer Professor Mariana Figueiro Invited to Present NIH Webinar

Professor Mariana Figueiro, Light and Health Program Director at the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has been invited by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to present a live webcast on February 9, 2017 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EDT. Her talk is titled “Light and Its Impact on Circadian Disruption and Health: What We Know, What We Don't Know and What We Need to Know.” The NIH is making this webinar available to the public, free of charge. To register, visit: 

Environmental factors such as electric light at night (LAN) have been implicated as agents in endocrine disruption. It is hypothesized that LAN suppresses melatonin production by the pineal gland, which may shift rest/activity patterns, making them asynchronous with the solar day/night cycle. Circadian disruption has been linked to a series of maladies, including poor performance and higher stress, diabetes, obesity, and even cancer. Since light is the primary stimulus for controlling the timing of the biological clock, and therefore, melatonin production, it is important to quantify circadian light exposure throughout the 24-hour day and night. This talk will provide an overview of light as it affects the circadian system, discuss tools to measure and specify circadian effective light as well as propose gaps in our knowledge of the health effects of light. Potential research studies to minimize these gaps will also be discussed.
Dr. Figueiro is the Principal Investigator on three multi-year R01 grants from the NIH. The first is investigating the impact of light on sleep and behavior of persons with Alzheimer’s disease living in controlled environments. The second is exploring lighting systems to delay sleep onset in older adults with chronic early sleep onset, and the third is examining the impact of red light on alertness, performance and biomarkers in dayshift and rotating shift nurses working in the field.


About the Lighting Research Center
The Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the world's leading center for lighting research and education. Established in 1988 by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the LRC conducts research in solid-state lighting, light and health, transportation lighting and safety, energy efficiency, and plant pathology. LRC lighting scientists with multidisciplinary expertise in research, technology, design, and human factors, collaborate with a global network of leading manufacturers and government agencies, developing innovative lighting solutions for projects that range from the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to U.S. Navy submarines to hospital neonatal intensive-care units. In 1990, the LRC became the first university research center to offer graduate degrees in lighting and today, offers a M.S. in lighting and a Ph.D. to educate future leaders in lighting. With 35 full-time faculty and staff, 15 graduate students, and a 30,000 sq. ft. laboratory space, the LRC is the largest university-based lighting research and education organization in the world.

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is America's first technological research university. The university offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in engineering; the sciences; information technology and web sciences; architecture; management; and the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Rensselaer faculty advance research in a wide range of fields, with an emphasis on biotechnology, nanotechnology, computational science and engineering, data science, and the media arts and technology. The Institute has an established record of success in the transfer of technology from the laboratory to the marketplace, fulfilling its founding mission of applying science "to the common purposes of life."