Circadian Rhythms, Light & Jet Lag -- Dr. Shawn Soutiere is head of Submarine Medicine and Survival Systems at the Navy Submarine Medical Research Lab at the Naval Sub Base in Groton CT, and has served as Research Physiologist for the Naval Experimental Diving Unit in Maryland.
Dr. Soutiere has designed hyperbaric dive recovery facilities and is currently studying the effects of light for biological clock resetting and its role in human circadian (daily) rhythms.
In collaboration with the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Dr. Soutiere is developing and testing new devices and routines to set/reset circadian rhythms with specific wavelengths of light.
The aim of the study is to develop and test the use of a personal light- treatment device and light filtration glasses as a means to shift and/or lock circadian rhythms to optimize operational readiness. Many physical and psychological attributes relevant to combatants are dependent on biological rhythm timing. By controlling the type and quantity of light the ability to shift and maintain daily biological rhythms is achieved.
“Research in and of itself is a complex activity, often requiring a mix of academic or professional disciplines. Sound collaborative initiatives such as between the LRC and the NSMRL help to promote greater research results which then benefit the warfighter,” explains Dr. Soutiere. Applications of this research can be applied to Astronaut mission readiness and eventually to our everyday travel to avoid the effects of jet-lag.