Lab Highlights

Our latest publication is online! We show that the Spring DST transition acutely increases fatal traffic accident risk by 6% in the US, and that 28 deaths per year attributable to the spring DST transition could be prevented by abolishing DST. Spring-DST-transition-associated fatal accident risk is  also highest in the morning, and more pronounced in the western parts of a time zone. Josef’s first CU Boulder paper, published in Current Biology! Congratulations!

Check out our paper on sleep duration and myocardial infarction, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology:

Dr. Vetter received official notice by the National Institutes of Health (NHLBI) that her R21 application “Association of habitual sleep duration with plasma metabolomics” that she will work on with Dr. Tianyi Huang (Harvard Medical School/Brigham and Women’s Hospital) and collaborators was funded. Exciting news for the lab!

Josef was just awarded a competitive Max-Kader-Fellowship by the Austrian Academy of Sciences! He will continue his work in the lab, focusing on mediation analysis in circadian epidemiology! Congratulations!!

Read our latest commentary on circadian rhythms, Type 2 Diabetes risk and shift work in Nature Reviews Endocrinology!

Translational circadian biology has a huge potential to improve human
health, and the Vetter Lab at the University of Colorado at Boulder i) uses the power of  big numbers (epidemiology) to identify how circadian and sleep health may impact long-term health outcomes, and ii) implements observational and intervention studies in real life settings, with the ultimate goal to prevent disease and improve human health and wellbeing.

Some key projects:

Shift Work, Sleep, and Circadian Phenotypes and Health. Dr. Vetter and her team examine associations of shift work, sleep, and circadian phenotypes with cardio-metabolic and mood outcomes. One of Dr. Vetter’s goals is to advance our understanding of how the effects of work schedules on health and longevity might be modulated by inter-individual differences – this knowledge is essential to design personalized work schedules and thereby address concerns of adverse health effects in the occupational setting. In addition, Dr. Vetter and her team examine the link between sleep and circadian phenotypes with chronic disease in several large-scale, epidemiological studies to advance our emerging understanding of long-term risks of sleep deprivation, disordered sleep, and circadian disruption. Dr. Vetter is currently an active investigator in the Nurses’ Health Studies, the UKBiobank, the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos, and Lifelines.

This work is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIOSH, NIDDK).

Shift Work, Heredity, Insulin, and Food Timing Study (SHIFT). Preliminary observations suggest that food intake coincident with high melatonin levels leads to impaired glucose tolerance—particularly in MTNR1B risk allele carriers. Our objectives are to determine the effect of concurrent food intake and melatonin on glucose tolerance; and to assess the role of MTNR1B single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)*melatonin interaction in this deleterious effect. Our central hypothesis is that concurrent high melatonin levels and food intake, commonly experienced in night shift workers, cause long-term impairment of glucose tolerance and that this effect is worse in carriers of the MTNR1B type 2 diabetes (T2D) risk SNP than in non-carriers. The results of this proposal will help to clarify an ongoing controversy about the role of melatonin in glucose tolerance, and will help to develop novel strategies in the prevention and treatment of T2D, especially in shift workers, night eaters, and MTNR1B risk allele carriers.

This project is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIDDK). 

A Toolbox for Circadian Epidemiology: From Complex Environmental Signals to Personalized Medicine. The goal of this project is to create a landscape of drivers of circadian rhythms (incl. high-dimensional light exposure profiles), and quantify their relative contribution to circadian melatonin rhythms in real life.

This project is funded by a University of Colorado Boulder RIO Seed Grant award. 


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