Graduation Year


Document Type

Master's Thesis


Master of Science


Biological Science

Program Director

Meredith Protas PhD

First Reader

Pankaj Kapahi, PhD

Second Reader

Roland Cooper, PhD


Previous studies in Drosophila melanogaster have established that overexposure to light damages photoreceptors and that photoreceptor degeneration contributes to shortened lifespans. However, the role of diet and circadian rhythms in the eye has not yet been elucidated. Many vital processes in the eye are regulated by circadian rhythms, and circadian misalignment has been proven as a driver of aging. In the eye, one of the most enriched circadian functions is phototransduction. Phototransduction plays a major role in the organism’s ability to detect light. Our lab has previously proven that Dietary Restrictions (DR) can play a role in amplifying circadian rhythms in the organism. Through our bioinformatics analyses, we show that phototransduction is highly enriched when flies are reared on DR. In addition, we identify circadian output genes that play a role in modulating photoreceptor homeostasis. Furthermore, we elucidate the role of photoreceptor stress in its role in organismal survival.

Available for download on Friday, May 31, 2024