Human Chronobiology, Inserm U846

Department of Chronobiology

Claude Gronfier
Senior Research Scientist (tenure)
18 avenue Doyen Lepine, 69500
+33 472 91 3489
+33 472 91 3475
Research Domain
  • Basic Human
  • Clinical
  • Behavioural Sleep Disorders
  • Biological Rhythms
  • Light and Non-Classical Photoreception
  • Sleep Physiology-Neurophysiology in Human
  • Sleep and Ageing

Laboratory description

Mechanisms of circadian entrainment/synchronization
Effects of light on circadian and non-visual physiology
Non-visual photoreception in humans
Effects of age on circadian and non-visual physiology
Optimization of environmental lighting for circadian synchronization
Photic countermeasures to circadian misalignment (shift work, space class missions, polar bases, etc.)

Technical Capabilities and areas of expertise

Non-visual photoreception
Circadian physiology
Sleep-wake cycle
Pupillary light reflex
Skin and core body temperature
Melatonin, cortisol, …
Cognition, memory
Visual performance

Selected Publications in the 5 past years:

• Mure LS, Cornut PL, Rieux C, Drouyer E, Denis P, Gronfier C, Cooper HM. A fly’s eye technology in the human retina. PLoS ONE, Jun 24;4(6):e5991 (2009).

• Renard E, Palombi K, Gronfier C, Pepin JL, Noel C, Chiquet C, Romanet JP. 24-hour (nyctohemeral) rhythm of intraocular pressure and ocular perfusion pressure in normal tension glaucoma patients. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2010 Feb;51(2):882-9.

• Duffy JF, Cain SW, Chang AM, Phillips AJK, Munch MY, Gronfier C, Wyatt JK, Dijk D-J, Wright JP, Czeisler CA. Sex difference in intrinsic circadian period in humans. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 108 Suppl 3:15602-8, 2011

• Vezoli J, Fifel K, Leviel V, Dehay P, Kennedy H, Cooper HM, Gronfier C, Procyk E. Correlation of changes in rest-activity cycles and cognitive behavior with respect to onset and spontaneous motor recovery in the low-dose MPTP monkey model of Parkinson’s disease. PLoSONE, 6(8):e23952, 2011

• Klerman H, St. Hilaire M, Kronauer RE, Duffy JF, Gooley JJ, Gronfier C, Hull JT, Lockley SW, Santhi N, Wang W, Klerman EB. Analysis method and experimental conditions affect computed circadian phase from melatonin data, PLoSONE, ;7(4):e33836. Epub 2012 Apr 12.

• Chang AM, Santhi N, St. Hilaire M, Gronfier C, Bradstreet DS, Duffy JF, Lockley SW, Kronauer RE, Czeisler CA. Human Duration Response Curve to Bright Light. J Physiol Apr 23 2012.

• Daneault V, Vandewalle G, Hébert M, Teikari P, Mure L, Doyon J, Gronfier C, Cooper HM, Dumont M, Carrier J. Does Pupil Constriction under Blue and Green Monochromatic Light Exposure Change with Age? J Biol Rhythms, 27(3):257-64, 2012.

• Teikari P, Najjar RP, Malkki H, Knoblauch K, Dumortier D, Cooper HM*, Gronfier C*, (* co-senior authors). An inexpensive Arduino-based LED stimulator system for vision research. J Neurosci Methods, 2012 Nov 15;211(2):227-36. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2012.09.012. Epub 2012 Sep 21.

• Najjar RP, Teikari P, Cornut PL, Claustrat B, Denis P, Cooper HM, Gronfier C. An improved psychophysical method to objectively assess ocular lens transmittance in vivo. J Optic Soc Am A (JOSA A), 29(11): 2469–2478, 2012

• Mottet B, Chiquet C, Aptel F, Noel C, Gronfier C, Buguet A, Romanet JP. 24-hour intraocular pressure of healthy humans in supine position. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (IOVS),doi:pii: iovs.12-10877v1. 10.1167/iovs.12-10877, 2012.

• Fifel K, Vezoli J, Dzahini K, Claustrat B, Leviel V, Kennedy H, Procyk E, Dkhissi-Benyahya O, Gronfier C, Cooper HM. Alteration of daily and circadian rhytms following dopamine depletion in MPTP treated Non-Human Primates Plos One 9(1): e86240, 2014.

• Najjar RP, Chiquet C, Teikari P, Cornut PL, Claustrat B, Denis P, Cooper HM, Gronfier C. Aging of non-visual spectral sensitivity to light: compensatory mechanisms? PLoSONE 9(1): e85837, 2014.

• Najjar RP, Schlangen LS, Cajochen C, Gronfier C. Non visual effects of chronic artificial lighting in extreme environments. Plos One, In press (online publication scheduled for July 29, 2014)

Key Publications of the Laboratory:

• Gronfier C, Luthringer R, Follenius M, Schaltenbrand N, Macher JP, Muzet A, Brandenberger G. Temporal link between plasma thyrotropin levels and electroencephalographic activity in man. Neurosci Lett 1995; 200:97-100.

• Gronfier C, Luthringer R, Follenius M, Schaltenbrand N, Macher JP, Muzet A, Brandenberger G. A quantitative evaluation of the relationships between growth hormone secretion and delta wave electroencephalographic activity during normal sleep and after enrichment in delta waves. Sleep 1996; 19:817-24.

• Chapotot F, Gronfier C, Spiegel K, Luthringer R, Brandenberger g. Relationships between iPTH 24-hour profiles, sleep-wake cycle and sleep electroencephalographic activity in man. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1996; 81:3759-65.

• Spiegel K, Weibel L, Gronfier C, Brandenberger G, Follenius M. Twenty-four hour prolactin profile in night workers. Chronobiol. Int 1996; 13:283-93.

• Brandenberger G, Luthringer R, Muller G, Gronfier C, Schaltenbrand N, Macher JP, Muzet A, Follenius M. 5-HT2 receptors are partially involved in the relationship between renin release and delta relative power. J Endocrinol Invest 1996; 19:556-62.

• Gronfier C, Luthringer R, Follenius M, Schaltenbrand N, Macher JP, Muzet A, Brandenberger G. Temporal relationships between pulsatile cortisol secretion and electroencephalographic activity during sleep in man. Electroenceph clin Neurophysiol 1997; 103:405-8.

• Weibel L, Spiegel K, Gronfier C, Follenius M, Brandenberger G. 24-hour melatonin and body temperature rhythms: their adaptation in night workers. Am J Physiol (Regulatory Integr Comp Physiol) 1997; 41:R948-54.

• Otzenberger H, Simon C, Gronfier C, Brandenberger G. Temporal relationship between dynamic heart rate variability and electroencephalographic activity during sleep in man. Neurosci Lett 1997; 229:173-6.

• Weibel L, Follenius M, Spiegel K, Gronfier C, Brandenberger G. Growth hormone secretion in night workers. Chronobiol Int 1997; 14:49-60.

• Charloux A, Otzenberger H, Gronfier C, Lonsdorfer-Wolf E, Piquard F, Brandenberger G. Oscillations in sympathovagal balance oppose variations in delta-wave activity and the associated renin release. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1998; 83:1523-28.

• Goichot B, Weibel L, Chapotot F, Gronfier C, Brandenberger G. Effect of the shift of the sleep-wake cycle on: studies on three robust endocrine markers of the circadian clock. Am J Physiol (Endocrinol Metab) 1998; 275:E243-8.

• Gronfier C, Chapotot F, Weibel L, Jouny C, Piquard F, Brandenberger G. Pulsatile cortisol secretion and EEG delta waves are controlled by two independent but synchronized generators. Am J Physiol (Endocrinol Metab) 1998; 275:E94-100.

• Simon C, Gronfier C, Goichot B, Schlienger Jl, Brandenberger G. Circadian and ultradian variation of leptin in normal man under continuous enteral nutrition: relationship to sleep and body temperature. J Clin Endocr Metab 1998; 83:1893-9.

• Otzenberger H, Gronfier C, Charloux A, Ehrarht J, Piquard F, Brandenberger G. Dynamic heart variability: a tool for exploring the sympatho-vagal balance continuously: during sleep in man. Am J Physiol 1998; 275 (Heart Circul Physiol 44): H946-H950

• Chapotot F, Gronfier C, Jouny C, Buguet A, Brandenberger G. Cortisol secretion is related to electroencephalographic alertness in Human subjects during daytime wakefulness. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1998; 83:4263-8.

• Charloux A, Gronfier C, Lonsdorfer-Wolf E, Piquard F, Brandenberger G. Aldosterone release and the sleep-wake cycle in humans. Am J Physiol 1999; (Endocrinol Metab) 276:E43-9.

• Gronfier C, Simon C, Piquard F, Ehrhart J, Brandenberger G. Neuroendocrine processes underlying ultradian sleep regulation in man. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1999;84:2686-90.

• Brandenberger G, Gronfier C, Chapotot F, Simon C, Piquard F. 24-h Effect of sleep deprivation on overall 24 h growth-hormone secretion. Lancet 2000; 356:1408.

• Charloux A, Gronfier C, Chapotot F, Ehrhart J, Piquard F, Brandenberger G. Sleep deprivation blunts the nighttime increase in aldosterone release in humans. J Sleep Res 2001; 10:27-33.

• Chapotot F, Buguet A, Gronfier C, Brandenberger G. Hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis activity is related to the level of central arousal: effect of sleep deprivation on the association of high-frequency waking electroencephalogram with cortisol release. Neuroendocrinology 2001; 73:312-321.

• Gronfier C, Wright KP, Jewett ME, Kronauer RE, Czeisler CA. Efficacy of a single sequence of intermittent bright light pulses for delaying circadian phase in humans Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 2004; 287:E174-E181.

• Wright KP, Gronfier C, Duffy JF, Czeisler CA. Intrinsic circadian period and strength of the circadian synchronizer determines the phase relationship between melatonin onset, habitual sleep time and the light-dark cycle in humans. J Biol Rhythms 2005; 20:168-177.

• Dkhissi-Benyahya O, Gronfier C, Devanssay W, Flamant W, Cooper HM. Modelling the role of mid-wavelength cones in circadian responses to light, Neuron. 2007; Mar 1;53(5):677-87.

• St. Hilaire M, Gronfier C, Zeitzer JM, Klerman EB. A physiologically-based mathematical model of melatonin including ocular light suppression and interactions with the circadian pacemaker. J Pineal Res. 2007; Oct;43(3):294-304.

• Gronfier C, Wright KP, Jewett ME, Kronauer RE, Czeisler CA. Entrainment of the human circadian timing system to longer-than-24 h days. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007, May 22;104(21):9081-6.

Current/Completed Grants (past 5 years):

2010-12 Co-PI, University of Basel (Cajochen), Inserm (Gronfier), Mars500 Program; ESA’s Microgravity Research Programme , European Space Agency (ESA)
2010-13 Co-Investigator, ANR project (PI HM Cooper), Restore vision
2010-13 PI, Effects of light on non-visual functions; Consortium Industry/INSERM/ENTPE
2012-19 Co-Investigator, ANR LabEx CORTEX 2012-2019 (coordinator: H. Kennedy)

2012-17 Co-Investigator, IREX PN Ville 10D-Ville d’idées, Aménagement des espaces fermés/souterrains : Prise en compte de l’impact visuel et non visuel dans la lumiere »
2012-16 PI, ANR TECSAN “Chronomofos”, Optical filters for the regulation of circadian rhythms and alertness in shift workers (consortium Inserm [Gronfier], Institut de la Vision [Sahel/Picaud], Industry)
2014-16 PI, EU ENG62-REG3-APP035, Circadian metrology, 2014

Other laboratory Members

Title:  PhD

Name:  Howard Cooper

Position:  DR1, Emeritus


Title:  PhD

Name:  Ouria Dkhissi-Benyahya

Position:  Senior Research Scientist


Title:  PhD MD

Name:  Alain Nicolas

Position:  Sleep Specialist


Title:  BSc

Name:  Christine Coutanson

Position:  Research Technician


Title:  MSc

Name:  Abhishek Prayag

Position:  PhD student



Title:  PhD

Name:  Christian Cajochen

Position:  Head, Chronobiology Lab.

Institution:  Basel University

Title:  PhD

Name:  Steve Lockley

Position:  Associate Professor

Institution:  Harvard Medical School

Title:  PhD MD

Name:  Elisabeth B Klerman

Position:  Associate Professor

Institution:  Harvard Medical School

Title:  PhD

Name:  Jacques Taillard

Position:  Senior Researcher

Institution:  Université de Bordeaux

Title:  PhD

Name:  Kenneth P Wright

Position:  Associate Professor

Institution:  University of Boulder, Colorado

Title:  PhD

Name:  Dominique Dumortier

Position:  Professor

Institution:  ENTPE, Lyon

Past Members

Title:  PhD

Name:  Raymond Najjar

Position:  PostDoctoral Fellow, Stanford USA


Title:  PhD

Name:  Petteri Teikari

Position:  PostDoctoral Fellow


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