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


  • "Rapid Response and Slow Recovery of the H3K4me3 Epigenomic Marker in the Liver after Light-mediated Phase Advances of the Circadian Clock." Journal of Biological Rhythms In: , 01.06.2018.
  • "Circadian behavioral responses to light and optic chiasm-evoked glutamatergic EPSCs in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of ipRGC conditional vGlut2 knock-out mice." eNeuro In: , Vol. 5, No. 3, e0411-17.2018, 01.05.2018.
  • "Intracellular Chloride Regulation in AVP+ and VIP+ Neurons of the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus." Scientific Reports In: , Vol. 7, No. 1, 10226, 01.12.2017.
  • "GABA transporters regulate tonic and synaptic GABA receptor-mediated currents in the suprachiasmatic nucleus neurons." Journal of Neurophysiology In: , Vol. 118, No. 6, 01.12.2017, p. 3092-3106.
  • "Mexneurin is a novel precursor of peptides in the central nervous system of rodents." FEBS Letters  In: , Vol. 591, No. 12, 01.06.2017, p. 1627-1636.
  • "Membrane currents, gene expression, and circadian clocks." Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology In: , Vol. 9, No. 5, a027714, 01.05.2017.
  • "Gabaa receptor-mediated neurotransmission in the suprachiasmatic nucleus."  Mechanisms of Circadian Systems in Animals and Their Clinical Relevance. Springer International Publishing, 2015. p. 133-147.
  • "Localization and expression of GABA transporters in the suprachiasmatic nucleus." European Journal of Neuroscience In: , 2015.
  • "Enhanced functional connectivity involving the ventromedial hypothalamus following methamphetamine exposure." Frontiers in Neuroscience  In: , Vol. 9, No. SEP, 326, 2015.
  • "Impaired memory and reduced sensitivity to the circadian period lengthening effects of methamphetamine in mice selected for high methamphetamine consumption." Behavioural Brain Research  In: , Vol. 256, 01.11.2013, p. 197-204.
  • "Causes and Consequences of Hyperexcitation in Central Clock Neurons." PLoS Computational Biology In: , Vol. 9, No. 8, e1003196, 08.2013.
  • "GABAB receptor-mediated frequency-dependent and circadian changes in synaptic plasticity modulate retinal input to the suprachiasmatic nucleus." Journal of Physiology In: , Vol. 591, No. 10, 05.2013, p. 2475-2490.
  • "Simultaneous electrophysiological recording and calcium imaging of suprachiasmatic nucleus neurons." Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE In: , No. 82, 2013, p. 50794.
  • "Effects of neonatal methamphetamine and thioperamide exposure on spatial memory retention and circadian activity later in life." Behavioural Brain Research  In: , Vol. 230, No. 1, 21.04.2012, p. 229-236.
  • "Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide requires parallel changes in adenylate cyclase and phospholipase C to entrain circadian rhythms to a predictable phase." Journal of Neurophysiology In: , Vol. 105, No. 5, 05.2011, p. 2289-2296.
  • "Neuropeptide-mediated calcium signaling in the suprachiasmatic nucleus network." European Journal of Neuroscience In: , Vol. 32, No. 9, 11.2010, p. 1497-1506.
  • "Mice with early retinal degeneration show differences in neuropeptide expression in the suprachiasmatic nucleus." Behavioral and Brain Functions In: , Vol. 6, 36, 06.07.2010.
  • "Retinohypothalamic tract synapses in the rat suprachiasmatic nucleus demonstrate short-term synaptic plasticity." Journal of Neurophysiology In: , Vol. 103, No. 5, 05.2010, p. 2390-2399.
  • "GABAergic signaling induces divergent neuronal Ca2+ responses in the suprachiasmatic nucleus network." European Journal of Neuroscience In: , Vol. 30, No. 8, 10.2009, p. 1462-1475.
  • "Ketogenic diet treatment abolishes seizure periodicity and improves diurnal rhythmicity in epileptic Kcna1-null mice." Epilepsia In: , Vol. 50, No. 9, 09.2009, p. 2027-2034.
  • "The development of melanopsin-containing retinal ganglion cells in mice with early retinal degeneration." European Journal of Neuroscience In: , Vol. 29, No. 2, 01.2009, p. 359-367.
  • "Circadian rhythms, diet, and neuronal excitability." Epilepsia In: , Vol. 49, No. SUPPL. 8, 11.2008, p. 124-126.
  • "Postinhibitory rebound spikes are modulated by the history of membrane hyperpolarization in the SCN." European Journal of Neuroscience In: , Vol. 28, No. 6, 09.2008, p. 1127-1135.
  • "Tetraethylammonium (TEA) increases the inactivation time constant of the transient K+ current in suprachiasmatic nucleus neurons." Brain Research In: , Vol. 1221, 24.07.2008, p. 24-29.
  • "Light-evoked calcium responses of isolated melanopsin-expressing retinal ganglion cells." Journal of Neuroscience In: , Vol. 27, No. 49, 05.12.2007, p. 13468-13480.
  • "Calcium response to retinohypothalamic tract synaptic transmission in suprachiasmatic nucleus neurons." Journal of Neuroscience In: , Vol. 27, No. 43, 24.10.2007, p. 11748-11757.
  • "Mutations of presenilin genes in dilated cardiomyopathy and heart failure." American Journal of Human Genetics In: , Vol. 79, No. 6, 12.2006, p. 1030-1039.
  • "Synaptic inputs to retinal ganglion cells that set the circadian clock." European Journal of Neuroscience In: , Vol. 24, No. 4, 08.2006, p. 1117-1123.
  • "Retrograde suppression of GABAergic currents in a subset of SCN neurons." European Journal of Neuroscience In: , Vol. 23, No. 12, 06.2006, p. 3209-3216.
  • "The circadian visual system, 2005." Brain Research Reviews In: , Vol. 51, No. 1, 06.2006, p. 1-60.

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