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Hanne M. Hoffmann

Hanne M. Hoffmann

Assistant Professor, animal science; Expert in neuroendocrinology

Dr. Hoffmann’s research program is focused on how light changes your well being, motivation, fertility and pregnancy success.

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Area of Expertise

Light Contamination Impact of Light on Physiology Development Molecular Biology Preterm Labor Reproduction Neuro-endocrinology Circadian Rhythms Shift-work

Biography

Dr. Hoffmann’s research program is focused on understanding the molecular pathways and brain circuitry regulating function of the hypothalamus and the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), the major pacemaker of the body, and how their impaired function affects hormone release, behavior and reproductive competence. Uncoordinated hormone release, as seen in shift workers and people sitting in front of bright screens late into the night, is a growing health concern and affects more than 20% of the US population. ... Not only do impaired circadian rhythms increase the risk of endocrine disorders such as diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease, but they also affect mental health and lead to infertility and preterm labor. To further our understanding of the importance of circadian rhythms in endocrine-related disorders, Dr. Hoffmann has developed novel mouse models allowing her to understand the central and peripheral control reproductive function.

The major goal of Dr. Hoffmann’s research is to understand how abnormal SCN function leads to desynchronization of hormone release and how this relates to cellular function, for example through receptor expression and localization. Her long-term goal is to identify novel drug targets for the treatment of arrhythmia, infertility and preterm labor.

Dr. Hoffmann’s current projects use numerous molecular biology approaches, including novel transgenic mouse models, reporter mice (Per2::luciferase, TdTomato, etc), and recordings from live cells and tissues, in combination with behavioral studies.

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Education

Montpellier University 2: D. 12, Neurobiology | 2010

Autonomous University of Barcelona: D. 12, Biochemistry | 2010

Selected Press

Will Seasonal Affective Disorder Be Worse This Year Because of COVID-19? Here's What Experts Say

Health | 2020-12-01

SAD is a type of depression, Hanne Hoffmann, assistant professor at Michigan State University, tells Health. People with SAD tend to experience common depression symptoms: feeling depressed most days, losing interest in activities they once enjoyed, experiencing changes in appetite or weight, having problems with sleep, having low energy, and feeling hopeless or worthless. But SAD only affects people for four or five months of the year—typically, the winter months, when the days become shorter. "Light promotes the secretion of hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain, specifically serotonin, which stabilizes your mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness," says Hoffman. "Because there's less daylight and the light isn't as intense in the winter, we don't produce as much serotonin—and that can lead to depression." (It is possible to experience SAD in the spring and summer months, but that's much less common.)

A Tiny Norwegian Island Wants to Be The First Place in The World to Abolish Time

ScienceAlert | 2019-06-22

"The problem is that humans did not evolve in the Arctic," Hanne Hoffman, an animal scientist from Michigan State University who focuses on circadian rhythm, told Gizmodo.

A Norwegian City Wants to Abolish Time

Gizmodo | 2019-06-14

Then there’s the health component. “The problem is that humans did not evolve in the Arctic,” Hanne Hoffman, assistant professor in animal science who studies the circadian rhythm, told Gizmodo. “Our bodies have adapted to this 24-hour cycle generated by the rotation of the Earth. We can’t really go against evolution, and that’s what is happening in those locations. You’re going against what we’re programmed to do.” Typically, folks in the Arctic compensate by shutting out the light in their homes during what would otherwise be nighttime hours.

This Norwegian Island Wants to Become the World’s First Time-Free Zone

Smithsonian.com | 2019-06-19

“[H]umans did not evolve in the Arctic,” Hanne Hoffman, assistant professor of animal science at Michigan State University, tells Gizmodo’s Dvorsky. “Our bodies have adapted to this 24-hour cycle generated by the rotation of the Earth. We can’t really go against evolution, and that’s what is happening in those locations. You’re going against what we’re programmed to do.”