Professor Charalambos Kyriacou

Professor of Behavioural Genetics

School/Department: Genetics and Genome Biology, Department of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 3430



Charalambos (Bambos) Kyriacou was born in Camden, London, in 1953 and was educated in North London, helping out during the week in his father’s restaurant in Finchley and during the summers working in the local graveyard.

Bambos went to Birmingham University at 17 and read psychology where one of the lecturers sparked an interest towards behavioural genetics.

Graduating in 1973 he started a PhD on Drosophila genetics and behaviour in the Departments of Psychology and Genetics in Sheffield. In 1976 he spent a year as a demonstrator in psychology at the University of Edinburgh before moving to Brandeis University, Boston, MA USA, in early 1978 to work with Jeff Hall and, later, with Michael Rosbash.

Whilst there Dr Kyriacou initiated a project on fly circadian rhythms and has been working in this field of chronobiology ever since.

In 1981 Dr Kyriacou moved back to the same department in Edinburgh as an independent SRC research fellow and then took a Lectureship in Genetics at Leicester in 1984.

He was promoted in 1996 and elected to the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2000, serving 18 months as interim Head of Department in 2000 and 2001.  As HoD, and with his colleague Gabby Dover, Professor Kyriacou wrote and organised his department’s RAE 2001 submission, in which Genetics was awarded a 5*, the only Genetics department in the UK and the only department in Leicester University to achieve the highest ranking.



Professor Kyriacou’s research focuses on circadian rhythms, particularly in Drosophila but also on the sea louse Eurydice pulchra, where he is attempting to discover the molecular basis of the circatidal 12.4 hour cycles of behaviour, physiology, and metabolism that is characteristic of animals and plants thyat inhabit the shoreline. Over the past few years particular interest has been focused on magnetosensitivity in Drosophila which is mediated by the circadian photoreceptor Cryptochrome CRY.  Other research involves extensive intradepartmental collaboration with Professor Flaviano Giorgini on projects that use flies as a model for neurodegenerative diseases.

Professor Kyriacou has worked on many aspects of biological rhythmicity over the past decades, including molecular, neurogenetic, evolutionary and ecological approaches with some great collaborators including,

  • Jeff Hall and Michael Rosbash (Brandeis)
  • Rudi Costa (Padova)
  • Michael Hastings (LMB Cambridge)
  • David Wilcockson (Aberystwyth)
  • Richard Baines (Manchester)
  • Ezio Rosato and Eran Tauber (both Leicester, latter now in Haifa).
  • Flaviano Giorgini (Leicester)

This work has been funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the European Community, Human Frontiers, Royal Society, Wellcome Trust, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Leverhulme Trust and the Electromagnetic Field Biological Trust. 



WA Zehring, DA Wheeler, P Reddy, RJ Konopka, CP Kyriacou, M Rosbash and JC Hall. 1984. P-element mediated transformation with per locus DNA restores rhythmicity to mutant, arrhythmic Drosophila melanogaster.  Cell, 39, 369-76.

Q Yu, HV Colot, CP Kyriacou, AC Jacquier, DA Wheeler, JC Hall and M Rosbash. 1987. Behavioural modification by in vitro mutagenesis of a variable region within the period gene of Drosophila. Nature, 326, 765-9.

DA Wheeler, CP Kyriacou, ML Greenacre, Q Yu, JE Rutila, M Rosbash and JC Hall. 1991. Molecular transfer of a species-specific courtship behaviour from Drosophila simulans to Drosophila melanogaster. Science, 251, 1082-5

L Sawyer, M Hennessey, AA Peixoto, E Rosato, H Parkinson, R Costa and CP Kyriacou. 1997. Natural variation in a Drosophila clock gene and temperature compensation.  Science, 278, 2117-20

JD Clayton, CP Kyriacou and SM Reppert. 2001. Keeping time with the human genome. Nature, 409, 829-831

RA Akhtar, AB Reddy, ES Maywood, JD Clayton, VM King, AG Smith, TW Gant, MH Hastings and CP Kyriacou. 2002. Circadian cycling of the mouse liver transcriptome, as revealed by cDNA microarray, is driven by the suprachiasmatic nucleus. Curr Biol, 12, 540-50

E Tauber, MA Zordan, F Sandrelli, M Pegoraro, A Daga, N Osterwalder, A Selmin, R Etournay, K Monger, E Rosato, CP Kyriacou and R Costa. 2007. Natural selection favours a newly derived timeless allele in Drosophila melanogaster. Science, 316, 1895-98

F Sandrelli, E Tauber, M Pegoraro, G Mazzotta, G Cisotto, A Piccin, E Rosato, M Zordan, R Costa and CP Kyriacou. 2007.  Molecular basis for natural selection at the timeless locus in Drosophila melanogaster.  Science, 316, 1898-900.

RS Edgar, EW Green, Y Zhao, G van Ooijen, M Olmedo, X Qin, Y Xu, M Pan, UK Valekunja, KA Feeney, ES Maywood, MH Hastings, NS Baliga, M Merrow, AJ Millar, CH Johnson, CP Kyriacou, JS O'Neill, AB Reddy. 2012  Peroxiredoxins are conserved markers of circadian rhythms. Nature, 485, 459-64

S Vanin, S Bhutani, S Montelli, P Menegazzi, EW Green, M Pegoraro, F Sandrelli, R Costa and CP Kyriacou. 2012 Unexpected features of Drosophila circadian behavioural rhythms under natural conditions. Nature 484, 371-6


Professor Kyriacou supervises projects on:

  • Molecular studies of biological rhythms in model and non-model organisms
  • Molecular basis of magnetosensitivity in Drosophila


Professor Kyriacou teaches the following modules:

  • BS2026 Genetics, Development and Inheritance
  • BS2009 Genomes
  • BS3000 Evolutionary Genetics

Press and media

  • Biological rhythms
  • Magnetosensitivity


Fellow of The Academy of Medical Sciences (2000-present)


Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award (2003-8)


  • Chronobiology School, Berlin (remote, 2021)
  • European Huntingdon's Disease Meeting, Bologna (remote, 2021)
  • Gordon Chronobiology (2017 and Chair in 2019)
  • Darwin day Meeting, Haifa, (2020)
  • Electron Spin Meeting, Los Angeles (2019)
  • Society for Research in Biological Rhythms (2016 and 2018)
  • Neurofly, Krakow (2018) 
  • 7th iGE3 meeting, Geneva (2018)
  • European Sleep Research Society, Basel (2018)
  • Centre for Organismal Studies, Heidelberg (2017)
  • Nobel Prize Ceremony, Stockholm (2017)
  • European Clock Meeting, Seville (2017)


  • BSc (Hons), Psychology, 1973
  • PhD, Genetics and Psychology, 1978 
  • SFHEA, 2016

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