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Zoology and Physiology

College of Arts and Sciences

William (Trey) Todd
Assistant Professor

Office: BS 406
Lab: BS 410


Twitter: @wyoclock


B.S., Neuroscience: Baylor University, 2005.

M.A., Psychology: The University of Iowa, 2009.

Ph.D., Psychology (Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience): The University of Iowa, 2012.

Mentor: Mark S. Blumberg.

Postdoctoral (Sleep, Circadian, and Respiratory Neurobiology): Harvard Medical School and

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 2012-2019. Mentor: Clifford B. Saper.

Research Interests:

Circadian rhythms are an evolutionary adaptation to Earth’s 24-hour rotation and the resulting light-dark cycle.  The central circadian clock, located within the hypothalamus of the mammalian brain, senses such daily light-dark rhythms via direct photic input from the retina and, in turn, synchronizes physiological and behavioral rhythms to the 24-hour day.  My lab seeks to understand how the central circadian clock (and its input and output pathways) regulates such daily biological and behavioral timing, from sleep-wake rhythms to more complex behaviors including aggression.  My research also focuses on how such circuitry may be involved in neurobehavioral pathologies associated with circadian dysfunction and behavioral aggression, such as “sundowning syndrome” in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.  In addition to this ongoing work, I have a strong interest in developmental and comparative issues in circadian behavioral neuroscience, particularly in regard to differences between diurnal (day-active) and nocturnal (night-active) species.


Integrative Physiology (ZOO 4125) and Human Systems Physiology (ZOO 3115)


Venner A, Broadhurst RY, Sohn L, Todd WD, and Fuller PM. Selective activation of dorsal raphe serotonergic dorsal raphe neurons facilitates sleep through anxiolysis. SLEEPJ. In press.

Venner A, Todd WD, Fraigne J, Eban-Rothschild A, Bowery H, Kaur S, and Anaclet, C. Novel sleep-wake and circadian pathways for therapeutic potential. SLEEPJ. 2019. 42 (5): 1-14. Invited review.

Todd WD* and Machado NL. A time to fight: circadian control of aggression and associated autonomic support. Autonomic Neuroscience: Basic and Clinical. 2019. 217: 35-40. Invited review. *Corresponding author.

Todd WD, Fenselau H, Wang JL, Zhang R, Machado NL, Venner A, Broadhurst RY, Kaur S, Lynagh T, Olson DP, Lowell BB, Fuller PM, Saper CB. A hypothalamic circuit for the circadian control of aggression. Nature Neuroscience. 2018. 21(5); 717-724.

Blumberg MS, Gall AJ, and Todd WD. The development of sleep-wake rhythms and the search for an elemental circuit. Behavioral Neuroscience. 2014. 128; 250-63. Invited review.

Gall AJ, Todd WD, and Blumberg MS. Development of SCN connectivity and the circadian control of arousal: A diminishing role for humoral factors? PLoS One. 2012; 7(9), e45338.

Todd WD, Gall AJ, Weiner JA, and Blumberg MS. Distinct retinohypothalamic innervation patterns predict the developmental emergence of species-typical circadian preference in nocturnal Norway rats and diurnal Nile grass rats. Journal of Comparative Neurology. 2012. 502; 3277-92.

Campi KL, Collins CE, Todd WD, Kaas J, and Krubitzer L. Comparison of area 17 cellular composition in laboratory and wild-caught rats including diurnal and nocturnal species. Brain Behavior and Evolution. 2011; 77:116-30.

Todd WD, Gibson JL, Shaw CS, and Blumberg MS. Brainstem and hypothalamic regulation of sleep pressure and rebound in newborn rats. Behavioral Neuroscience. 2010; 124:69-78. *See also special comment in same issue: Corner MA. The sleep-like nature of early mammalian behavioral rhythms. Behavioral Neuroscience. 2010; 124:69-78.

Gall AJ, Todd WD, Ray B, Coleman CM, and Blumberg MS. The development of day-night differences in sleep and wakefulness in Norway rats and the effect of bilateral enucleation. Journal of Biological Rhythms. 2008; 23:232-41.

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