UC Irvine researchers, led by Paolo Sassone-Corsi, Distinguished Professor and pharmacology chair, have identified the chemical switch that triggers the genetic mechanism regulating our internal body clock. The finding, which uncovers the most specific information about the body’s circadian rhythms to date, identifies a precise target for new pharmaceuticals that can treat sleep disorders and a host of related ailments. The study appears in the Dec. 13 issue of Nature. Sassone-Corsi is one of the world’s leading researchers on circadian rhythms, which help regulate a host of body functions, from sleep patterns and hormonal control to metabolism and behavior.