Photo of Charles N. Allen, Ph.D.

Charles N. Allen Ph.D.

  •      (503) 494-2507
    • Professor Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences
    • Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience School of Medicine
    • Neuroscience Graduate Program School of Medicine
    • Behavioral Neuroscience Graduate Program School of Medicine

A selective evolutionary advantage seems to be conferred on individuals whose physiological rhythms are synchronized to environmental conditions. Thus, the majority of organisms studied show twenty-four hour rhythms in physiological processes termed circadian rhythms. Disturbances in circadian rhythms are known to contribute to a variety of diseases and to impair mental and physical performance. The circadian system consists of three conceptual components, a timekeeping oscillator, input pathways providing environmental information, and output pathways sending timing information to peripheral clocks and organs. The timekeeping oscillator or clock resides, in mammals, in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) a bilateral structure located in the hypothalamus. This circadian clock is synchronized (entrained) to the environmental light-dark cycle via a direct axonal projection (retinohypothalamic tract, RHT) from a specialized subset of retinal ganglion cells. SCN neurons ouput timing information via projections to other hypothalamic nuclei and by releasing neurohumoral factors.

Areas of interest

  • Circadian Rhythms
  • Sleep
  • Synaptic Transmission
  • Suprachiasmatic Nucleus
  • Neural Network Activity


  • B.S., Texas Tech University, Lubbock Texas United States 1976
  • Ph.D., University of Texas Health Sciences Center, Dallas Texas United States 1981


  • "Gabaa receptor-mediated neurotransmission in the suprachiasmatic nucleus"  January 1 2015
  • "Simultaneous electrophysiological recording and calcium imaging of suprachiasmatic nucleus neurons." Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE  2013
  • "Orphanin-FQ/nociceptin (OFQ/N) modulates the activity of suprachiasmatic nucleus neurons" Journal of Neuroscience March 15 1999
  • "Melatonin receptor potentiation of cyclic AMP and the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator ion channel" Journal of Pineal Research  1999
  • "Presynaptic inhibition by baclofen of retinohypothalamic excitatory synaptic transmission in rat suprachiasmatic nucleus" Neuroscience  1995
  • "Developmental and circadian changes in Ca2+ mobilization mediated by GABAA and NMDA receptors in the suprachiasmatic nucleus" European Journal of Neuroscience  2003
  • "β-N-Methylamino-l-alanine in the presence of bicarbonate is an agonist at non-N-methyl-d-aspartate-type receptors" Neuroscience  1993
  • "GABAergic synapses of the suprachiasmatic nucleus exhibit a diurnal rhythm of short-term synaptic plasticity" European Journal of Neuroscience May 2004
  • "D2 dopamine receptors modulate calcium channel currents and catecholamine secretion in bovine adrenal chromaffin cells" Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics  1990
  • "Rudimentary TCR signaling triggers default IL-10 secretion by human TH1 cells" Journal of Immunology October 15 2001
  • "Synaptic inputs to retinal ganglion cells that set the circadian clock" European Journal of Neuroscience August 2006
  • "Characteristics of acetylcholine-activated channels of innervated and chronically denervated skeletal muscles" Experimental Neurology  1986
  • "Molecular mechanisms of the potent and stereospecific nicotinic receptor agonist (+)-anatoxin-a" Molecular Pharmacology  1986
  • "Cloning and characterization of Kir3.1 (GIRK1) C-terminal alternative splice variants" Brain Research June 1997
  • "Retrograde suppression of GABAergic currents in a subset of SCN neurons" European Journal of Neuroscience June 2006
  • "Causes and Consequences of Hyperexcitation in Central Clock Neurons" PLoS Computational Biology August 2013
  • "Circadian rhythms, diet, and neuronal excitability" Epilepsia November 2008
  • "Potential pathways for intercellular communication within the calbindin subnucleus of the hamster suprachiasmatic nucleus" Neuroscience  2004
  • "The sensitivity of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors to lead inhibition is dependent on the receptor subunit composition" Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics July 1996
  • "GABAergic signaling induces divergent neuronal Ca2+ responses in the suprachiasmatic nucleus network" European Journal of Neuroscience October 2009
  • "Neurotoxic potential of three structural analogs of β-N-oxalyl-α,β- diaminopropanoic acid (β-ODAP)" Neurochemical Research  1999
  • "Pre- and postsynaptic actions of serotonin on rat suprachiasmatic nucleus neurons" Brain Research June 2 2000
  • "The sulphydryl reagent, N-ethylmaleimide, disrupts sleep and blocks A1 adenosine receptor-mediated inhibition of intracellular calcium signaling in the in vitro ventromedial preoptic nucleus" Neuroscience October 31 2001
  • "Tracer and electrical coupling of rat suprachiasmatic nucleus neurons" Neuroscience  1997
  • "Characterization of an inward current elicited by edrophonium in physically isolated and internally perfused Aplysia neurons" Brain Research October 25 1988
  • "Cloning and expression of a 5HT7 receptor from xenopus laevis" Receptors and Channels  1995
  • "Conductance properties of GABA-activated chloride currents recorded from cultured hippocampal neurons" Brain Research April 28 1987
  • "Melatonin receptors activate heteromeric G-protein coupled Kir3 channels" NeuroReport  1996
  • "The frog interosseal muscle fiber as a new model for patch clamp studies of chemosensitive- and voltage-sensitive ion channels" Journal de Physiologie  1984
  • "Calbindin neurons in the hamster suprachiasmatic nucleus do not exhibit a circadian variation in spontaneous firing rate" European Journal of Neuroscience  2002

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