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Larry Morin

Currently Lives In: East Setauket, NY USA
Occupation: Ph.D. Prof., Dept of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sci
Spouse/Partner: Peggy Burdick Morin (married June 1969)
Children: daughter: Barbara
daughter: Jennifer (31)
2 grandchildren
Homepage: View Website
School History:

Hanover: grades K-12
HHS graduate

Bio Summary:

Aug. 12, 2010 –

Peggy Burdick joined our class at the beginning of senior year when her family moved to Hanover from Cleveland. The good news for me was that, rather unbelievably, she was denied admission to Middlebury to which she had applied to study languages. Peggy was a far better student than I on virtually all levels, and especially excellent in Spanish and German. So, to be turned down by Middlebury was, and still is, amazing. But because of that decision, we both ended up at Brown, started dating sopho-more year, and married after graduation in June, 1969. We have two daughters living in the greater Boston area. One is also married with two daughters, so we too are the proverbial proud grandparents.

I am in the Psychiatry Dept. where I run a research lab studying the neural pathways through which light modulates the mammalian circadian rhythm system. [see next post]

I played soccer a couple of times at Princeton. Nice campus. Got to visit all the Ivy schools multiple times by playing college soccer. Going to Hanover to beat Dartmouth was quite fun!

I've seen Rusty (aka John) Copenhaver a few times over the years. Once was somewhat amazing. Peggy and I were taking our kids to Guadeloupe in the Caribbean and I was bored from sitting in the plane. As I completed a walking lap up across and back down the aisles on the plane, I did a double take and recognized Rusty who was going to the same destination with his family! We also saw Rusty's mother several times back in Hanover when my mother was still alive. Haven't seen Ann since my senior year in college when she was in a play in Providence. David Clough, I have only seen as a visage asking for money on public television, not realizing until much later that it was the David I had known in Hanover. I've also seen Susan Vanderlinde a couple of times over the years. Her mom and mine were good friends. Alan was a mystery until seeing him again at the big, turn-60-together reunion 2 yrs ago.

[Larry’s second email was a reply to Ann’s question about working in the Psychiatry Department.] In Ann’s words: “I hate to ask you to ‘dumb it down’, but will you? In plain English, what is it that you do, and why does it matter? I’d love to understand. (My neurosurgeon father is probably turning over in his ashes.)”

August 12, 2010 –

I study the structure and function of the neuroanatomical pathways of the circadian rhythm system. All plants and animals have at least one circadian clock typically associated with at least one photo- receptor. That is, there is a clock composed of one or more cells that are periodically active, in one way or another, approximately every 24 hours.

The exact timing of this clock is set by the daily photoperiod. The light, when present, is transmitted (in mammals) from retinal photoreceptors to the site of the circadian clock, the suprachiasmatic nucleus, via the optic nerves. The photic input sets the phase of the clock through mechanisms that are not well understood.

In addition, the clock function is also modulated by two other major pathways (plus several more small ones). These pathways originate in locations quite distant from the clock, and one of these two locations has connections to over 100 other places in the brain. Most unusual.

The result is a fairly complicated system of inputs and outputs controlling a theoretically simple, but actually complex, circadian clock that controls the timing of such events as the sleep/wake cycle, the daily body temperature rhythm, skin cell mitosis rhythms, adrenal hormone output, and essentially every bodily tissue/function.

The retina alone is extraordinarily complicated with respect to how it passes photic information to the brain clock. In fact, because of circadian rhythm research, a third class of photorecep-tors was discovered in 2002. These are totally different from rod and cone photoreceptors that have been studied for over 100 years and only in this year is it finally being recognized that these newly discovered cells may be important for many visual functions and not just circadian rhythm regulation. One of these visual functions has just been reported to be the light sensitivity that often occurs during migraine headache.

That's the gist of it and the best part is that, if I think and write well enough, the government (through the National Institutes of Health and your taxes) pays me to do what I like to do. It is ivory tower fun and not really work, at least to me. And, it takes me places of interest at times. On Saturday, I am going to a meeting in the Netherlands for a week. This will also allow me to have lunch with Trisha Nice on the day I arrive. I haven't seen Trisha since high school.

As for being in the Psychiatry Department, the history is actually a long story, but the result is not unusual. Most psychiatry departments these days are biologically oriented. All behavior, even "personality," is run by nerves. With respect to my area of research, seasonal depression is a disorder of the circadian rhythm system. A number of sleep disorders result from circadian rhythm system problems. So, it's not surprising for scientists like me to be in psychiatry departments.

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Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 1:21 AM
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 1:21 AM