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The effect of simulated shift work on food desirability and metabolism


The aim of this research is to ascertain the impact of a simulated night shift rotation on food desirability in order to increase our understanding of the mechanisms that underpin increased food intake, weight gain and increased cardio-metabolic disease in shift workers.


Dr Craig Phillips, Dr Maria Comas Soberats.

Research location

Camperdown - Woolcock Institute of Medical Research

Program type



Shift work is associated with obesity and excess cardio-metabolic disease including type II diabetes, metabolic syndrome and vascular events. In Australia, over half of the rotating shift work population are obese and a third report some form of cardiovascular disease. A possible reason for this is increased consumption of high-calorie foods during shift work due to an increase in food desirability in the hunger centres of the brain. Novel imaging techniques have been developed to measure blood flow (brain activity) in these hunger centres. This research will use these techniques to ascertain the impact of a simulated night shift rotation on food desirability, insulin resistance and dyslipidaemia. The impact of disturbed sleep and circadian disruption on these outcomes will also be determined.

Additional information

The Woolcock Institute of Medical Research in Glebe houses a state-of-the-art chronobiology research laboratory allowing shift work simulation studies to be performed. Our research team includes experts in many aspects of sleep medicine who are world leaders in sleep research.

Additional Supervisor: Dr. Camilla Hoyos

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 1174

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