Clifford Saper Laboratory
About Saper Lab Projects
Clifford B. Saper, James Jackson Putnam Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience, Harvard Medical School, and Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
The focus of the Saper laboratory is on hypothalamic circuitry that is responsible for basic life functions like regulation of wake-sleep cycles and circadian rhythms, including body temperature, locomotor activity, feeding, and corticosteroids. We use state-of-the-art genetic targeting of neurons in the brain to identify cell groups with specific functions by using optogenetic, chemogenetics, and genetically encoded toxins to manipulate genetically defined populations of neurons. We test their role in whole animal physiology (wake-sleep, thermoregulation, corticosteroid secretion) and behavior (aggression, feeding, drinking, locomotor activity). This work is augmented by our collaborator, Elda Arrigoni, who uses intracellular recordings in slice preparations, to determine the effects of specific neurotransmitters on identified cell populations in the hypothalamus.