Contributing to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s (CSHL) initiative to understand cancer as a disease that interacts with and impacts the entire body, we welcome neuroscientist Jeremy Borniger. He studies how the nervous system communicates with cancer, via crosstalk among multiple organ systems in the body. He then relates these changes to subsequent changes in behavior, with an emphasis on sleep.
His first project will be to study how cancer affects a patient’s ability to sleep using neuroscience tools.
“Using these new tools to investigate what is going on at the cellular level in these neurons,” Borniger said. “How are these cells talking to each other? What’s happening when this goes wrong, and how does this influence sleep?”
Borniger earned a Bachelor’s degree in anthropology, but found that his interest in behavior led him towards neuroscience, which he pursued in his doctoral program at The Ohio State University. His interest in the subject of cancer and its relationship to sleep started as a doctoral student working on circadian rhythms. He attended a talk led by nurses, who outlined the various problems like fatigue and sleep disruption that were shared even among patients with different types of cancer. The clinicians could not point to a reason for why this was happening. This enigma got Borniger interested in addressing these open questions through targeted manipulations of the central nervous system.
He is one of CSHL’s new faculty members with a lab in the recently renovated Demerec laboratory. The interdisciplinary approach and collaborative environment at CSHL drew Borniger to the position. “CSHL removes all traditional barriers to collaboration. I like the idea that I can just go down the hall and speak to someone,” he said. “It seems like this is just the right place to do this kind of work.”