The negative consequences of blue light are associated with people’s metabolic clock being offset from their brain clock.

CBS DFW Channel 11 reporter Doug Dunbar covered the blue light research of Brian Zoltowski, an assistant professor in the SMU Department of Chemistry.

“As a society, we are using more technology, and there’s increasing evidence that artificial light has had a negative consequence on our health,” says Zoltowski, who was awarded $320,500 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health to continue its research on the impact of blue light.

“Our study uses physical techniques and chemical approaches to probe an inherently biological problem,” Zoltowski said. “We want to understand the chemical basis for how organisms use light as an environmental cue to regulate growth and development.”

Dunbar’s piece featuring Zoltowski’s research and lab, “Too Much “Blue Light” Hinders Sleep,” was published online Dec. 12.

Watch the full coverage.


By Doug Dunbar

Can’t get a good night’s sleep. You might be getting a little too much blue light.

What’s that? It’s a big issue the Federal government is asking researchers at SMU to study.

There’s a reason why it’s dark in this lab. It’s because they’re studying light.

They have the lights off so they can purify the proteins in the dark.

So that we can study the activation process when we first expose them to light. But not just any light. Blue light. The stuff in fluorescents, and devices like laptops and phones. But also daylight.

One of the negative consequences of blue light is associated with our metabolic clock being offset from our brain clock. That can lead to problems for diabetes, cancer, mood disorders.

Not to mention sleep problems.

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[ …] But Zoltowski and his crew could potentially tackle problems much bigger than sleeping.

“If we understand how these proteins that respond to light work we can create new biotechnology.”

Maybe new ways to deliver drugs, or even targeted cancer treatments.

“We can shine light on a very specific spot and that can allow us to activate any biological event we want at that very precise location and time.”

Watch the full coverage.