Liverpool Skylilne

Natural Sciences and Psychology

Dr Alun Hughes

Dr Alun Hughes

Telephone: 0151 231 2335



Dr Hughes' research interests are focussed on the mammalian circadian system and aim to address questions regarding the function and synchronisation of circadian oscillators in health and disease. These interests cover a broad spectrum of physiology and neuroscience, encompassing all tiers of organisation from the molecular level to whole animal behaviour and physiology. Dr Hughes has particular interests in the circadian biology of skeletal muscle and adipose tissue, neuropeptide regulation of circadian function and the impact of lifestyle factors such as exercise and diet on circadian biology.

The Physiological Society, Research Grant.
Running out of time: Exercise, skeletal muscle and the circadian system
Value: £10,000

Teaching Activities:
3409FNDSCI Building Blocks of Life (module leader)
4211NATSCI Physiology (module leader)
4202NATSCI Practical Skills for Biology
5201NATSCI Research Skills and Employability
5212NATSCI Physiology of Life
5215NATSCI Comparative Animal Physiology
5216NATSCI Brain, Hormones and Behaviour
6202NATSCI Health and Disease
6207NATSCI Current Topics in Zoology
6211NATSCI Neurobiology
6215NATSCI Animal Welfare


2006, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom, PhD, Animal Biology
2001, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom, MRes, Biological Sciences
2000, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom, BSc, Biology

Academic appointments

Lecturer in Vertebrate Physiology, Natural Sciences and Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, 2017 - present


Journal article

Timothy JWS, Klas N, Sanghani H, Al-Mansouri T, Hughes ATL, Kirshenbaum GS, Brienza V, Belle MDC, Ralph MR, Clapcote SJ, Piggins HD. 2018. Circadian Disruptions in the Myshkin Mouse Model of Mania are Independent of Deficits in Suprachiasmatic Molecular Clock Function Biological Psychiatry, 84 :775-777 >Public Url

Hughes ATL. 2018. Locomotor exercise and circadian rhythms in mammals Current Opinion in Physiology, 5 :51-57 >DOI >Public Url

Yang N, Williams J, Pekovic-Vaughan V, Wang P, Olabi S, McConnell J, Gossan N, Hughes ATL, Cheung J, Streuli CH, Meng Q-J. 2017. Cellular mechano-environment regulates the mammary circadian clock Nature Communications, 8 >DOI >Link >Public Url

Wegner S, Belle MDC, Hughes ATL, Diekman CO, Piggins HD. 2017. Delayed cryptochrome degradation asymmetrically alters the daily rhythm in suprachiasmatic clock neuron excitability Journal of Neuroscience, 37 :7824-7836 >DOI >Public Url

Hughes ATL, Croft CL, Samuels RE, Myung J, Takumi T, Piggins HD. 2015. Constant light enhances synchrony among circadian clock cells and promotes behavioral rhythms in VPAC(2)-signaling deficient mice SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 5 >DOI >Link >Public Url

Hughes ATL, Piggins HD. 2014. Disruption of daily rhythms in gene expression: The importance of being synchronised BioEssays, 36 :644-648 >DOI

Yeung C-YC, Gossan N, Lu Y, Hughes ATL, Hensman JJ, Bayer ML, Kjaer M, Kadler KK, Meng Q-J. 2014. Gremlin-2 is a BMP antagonist that is regulated by the circadian clock Scientific Reports,

Belle MDC, Hughes ATL, Bechtold DA, Cunningham P, Pierucci M, Burdakov D, Piggins HD. 2014. Acute Suppressive and Long-Term Phase Modulation Actions of Orexin on the Mammalian Circadian Clock JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE, 34 :3607-3621 >DOI >Link

Gossan N, Zeef L, Hensman J, Hughes A, Bateman JF, Rowley L, Little CB, Piggins HD, Rattray M, Boot-Handford RP, Meng Q-J. 2013. The Circadian Clock in Murine Chondrocytes Regulates Genes Controlling Key Aspects of Cartilage Homeostasis ARTHRITIS AND RHEUMATISM, 65 :2334-2345 >DOI >Link

Hughes ATL, Guilding C, Piggins HD. 2011. Neuropeptide Signaling Differentially Affects Phase Maintenance and Rhythm Generation in SCN and Extra-SCN Circadian Oscillators PLOS ONE, 6 >DOI >Link

Power A, Hughes ATL, Samuels RE, Piggins HD. 2010. Rhythm-Promoting Actions of Exercise in Mice with Deficient Neuropeptide Signaling JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL RHYTHMS, 25 :235-246 >DOI >Link

Guilding C, Hughes ATL, Piggins HD. 2010. CIRCADIAN OSCILLATORS IN THE EPITHALAMUS NEUROSCIENCE, 169 :1630-1639 >DOI >Link

guilding C, Hughes ATL, brown TM, namvar S, piggins HD. 2009. A riot of rhythms: neuronal and glial circadian oscillators in the mediobasal hypothalamus Molecular Brain, 2 :28-47

Hughes ATL, Guilding C, Lennox L, Samuels RE, McMahon DG, Piggins HD. 2008. Live imaging of altered period1 expression in the suprachiasmatic nuclei of Vipr2-/- mice JOURNAL OF NEUROCHEMISTRY, 106 :1646-1657 >DOI >Link

Hughes ATL, Piggins HD. 2008. Behavioral responses of Vipr2(-/-) mice to light JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL RHYTHMS, 23 :211-219 >DOI >Link

Brown TM, Coogan AN, Cutler DJ, Hughes AT, Piggins HD. 2008. Electrophysiological actions of orexins on rat suprachiasmatic neurons in vitro NEUROSCIENCE LETTERS, 448 :273-278 >DOI >Link

Guilding C, Hughes A, Brown T, Namvar S, Piggins H. 2008. An ensemble of novel circadian oscillators in the mouse mediobasal hypothalamus Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 150 :S149-S149 >DOI

Brown TM, Hughes ATL, Piggins HD. 2005. Gastrin-releasing peptide promotes suprachiasmatic nuclei cellular rhythmicity in the absence of vasoactive intestinal polypeptide-VPAC2 receptor signaling Journal of Neuroscience, 25 :11155-11164 >DOI

Hughes AT, Fahey B, Cutler DJ, Coogan AN, Piggins HD. 2004. Aberrant gating of photic input to the suprachiasmatic circadian pacemaker of mice lacking the VPAC(2) receptor JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE, 24 :3522-3526 >DOI >Link

Hughes A, Mann D, Pickering-Brown S. 2003. Tau haplotype frequency in frontotemporal lobar degeneration and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis EXPERIMENTAL NEUROLOGY, 181 :12-16 >DOI >Link

Zupanc GKH, Clint SC, Takimoto N, Hughes ATL, Wellbrock UM, Meissner D. 2003. Spatio-temporal distribution of microglia/macrophages during regeneration in the cerebellum of adult teleost fish, Apteronotus leptorhynchus: A quantitative analysis BRAIN BEHAVIOR AND EVOLUTION, 62 :31-42 >DOI >Link


Piggins HD, Belle MDC, Baño-Otálora B, Joshi A, Hughes ATL. 2015. Extrinsic and intrinsic regulation of SCN neuronal activity and function Honma KI, Honma S. Circadian Clocks Hokkaido University Press. Sapporo, Japan

Hughes ATL, Piggins HD. 2012. Feedback actions of Locomotor Activity to the Circadian Clock Kalsbeek A, Merrow M, Roenneberg T, Foster RG. 199 :305-336

Engagement & Impact


Honorary Research Fellow, The University of Manchester