Professor Charalambos Kyriacou

Professor of Behavioural Genetics

School/Department: Genetics and Genome Biology, Department of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 3430



I was born in Camden London in 1953 and spent my school years in North London. During the week I helped out in my father’s restaurant in Finchley and during the summers I worked in the local graveyard. I went to Birmingham University at 17 and read Psychology where one of my lecturers turned my attention towards behavioural genetics. I graduated in 1973 and started a PhD on Drosophila genetics and behaviour in the Departments of Psychology and Genetics in Sheffield. In 1976 I spent a year as a Demonstrator in Psychology at the University of Edinburgh before moving to Brandeis University in Boston in early 1978 where I worked with Jeff Hall. There I initiated a project on fly circadian rhythms and I have been working in this field of chronobiology ever since. In 1981 I moved back to my old department in Edinburgh as an independent research fellow and then took a Lectureship in Genetics in at Leicester in 1984. I was promoted to Professor in 1996 served 18 months as interim Head of Department (2000-2001) and elected to the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2000.


My research focuses on circadian rhythms particularly in Drosophila but also on Eurydice pulchra the sea louse where we are attempting to discover the molecular basis of the circatidal 12.4 h cycles of behaviour physiology and metabolism that is characteristic of animals and plants that inhabit the shoreline. I have worked on many aspects of biological rhythmicity over the past decades including molecular neurogenetic evolutionary and ecological approaches with some great collaborators Jeff Hall and Michael Rosbash (Brandeis) Rudi Costa (Padova) Michael Hastings (LMB Cambridge) David Wilcockson (Aberystwyth) Richard Baines (Manchester) and Ezio Rosato and Eran Tauber (both Leicester latter now in Haifa). Over the past few years I have been particularly interested in magnetosensitivity in Drosophila which is mediated by the circadian photoreceptor Cryptochrome CRY. I also collaborate extensively with Flaviano Giorgini (Leicester) on projects that use flies as a model for neurodegenerative diseases. My work has been funded by BBSRC The European Community Human Frontiers Wellcome Trust NERC and the Electromagnetic Field Biological Trust.



Zehring, W.A., Wheeler, D.A., Reddy, P., Konopka, R.J., Kyriacou, C.P., Rosbash, M. & Hall, J.C. 1984. P-element mediated transformation with per locus DNA restores rhythmicity to mutant, arrhythmic Drosophila melanogaster.  Cell, 39, 369-76.

Yu, Q., Colot, H.V., Kyriacou, C.P., Jacquier, A.C., Wheeler, D.A., Hall, J.C. & Rosbash, M. 1987. Behavioural modification by in vitro mutagenesis of a variable region within the period gene of Drosophila. Nature, 326, 765-9.

Wheeler, D.A., Kyriacou, C.P., Greenacre, M.L., Yu, Q., Rutila, J.E., Rosbash, M. & Hall, J.C. 1991. Molecular transfer of a species-specific courtship behaviour from Drosophila simulans to Drosophila melanogaster. Science, 251, 1082-5

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

Clayton, J. D., Kyriacou, C.P. & Reppert, S.M. 2001. Keeping time with the human genome. Nature, 409, 829-831

Akhtar, R.A., Reddy, A.B., Maywood, E.S., Clayton, J.D., King, V.M., Smith, A.G., Gant, T.W., Hastings, M.H. & Kyriacou C.P. 2002. Circadian cycling of the mouse liver transcriptome, as revealed by cDNA microarray, is driven by the suprachiasmatic nucleus. Curr Biol, 12, 540-50

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

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

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

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



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


BS2026 Genetics, Development and Inheritance
BS2009 Genomes
BS3000 Evolutionary Genetics

Press and media

Biological rhythms


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


Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Awarde (2003-8)


Chronobiology School, Berlin (remote), 2021
European Huntingdon's Disease Meeting, Bologna (remote) 2021
Chair Gordon Chronobiology (2019), Gordon Chronobiology (2017)
Darwin day Meeting, Haifa, (2020)
Electron Spin Meeting, Los Angeles (2019)
Society for Research in Biological Rhythms (2018, 2016)
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 Psychol 1973
PhD Genetics & Psychology 1978 
SFHEA 2016

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