Associate Professor of Neuroscience
Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics
University of Oxford

“How did you sleep last night?”

This is something that you may have been asked lots of times, but it is a very important question. We probably spend about one third of our time asleep – over your whole life that’s 30 years! But we still don’t really know what sleep is for. Some scientists think that sleep is very important for our brains. When we are asleep, the brain is still very active, making new connections to help us remember things for the next day and the future.

It is also very common for people who have illnesses that affect the brain (neurological disorders) to have problems with their sleep that make it difficult for them to live a normal life. My research aims to learn more about how the brain controls sleep. If we can identify some of the sleep mechanisms that go wrong when people are suffering from a mental health disorders it should help us to provide better care both at home and in hospitals.


Professor Peter Oliver holds a degree in Biochemistry from the University of Bath and received a PhD in mammalian genetics from the Medical Research Council’s National Institute for Medical Research, London. In 2000, he joined Professor Kay Davies’ group in the MRC Functional Genomics Unit at the University of Oxford, where his research focused on understanding novel gene function in the brain, using the mouse as a model system. He was recently awarded a European Research Council Starting Grant and has established his own group in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics at the University of Oxford.

Peter’s research involves gene function in the brain and the consequences of gene dysfunction in disease, with focus on the relationship between sleep and mental health.


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