We are each timepieces – our bodies carry within them an inner time embedded in our organs and cells. These body clocks are constantly in conversation with our environment through the light we see, the food we eat, and how we move. New research is revealing the extent to which our health is dependent on these biological rhythms remaining in synchronicity – which is often challenging in a modern world which seems to never stop. Regular cycles of sleep and wake, feed and fast, rest and activity are integral to the efficient running of the clocks.

This project takes the science of circadian rhythms as a jumping off point for a wider investigation of time, timing and rhythmicity in health, medicine and scientific practice. We are interdisciplinary in our approach, drawing on insights from history, curatorial practice, science communication, medical humanities and science and technology studies. Body Time is embedded within the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research (CBMR) and the Medical Museion.

Explore this site to find out more about our projects, who we are, what we do and how you can get involved.

Blog posts & articles

We have collected all our blog posts and articles about Body Time. Find them here.

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Rhytmic Histories

Today, circadian biologists are revealing the importance of time and timing to our health. When we eat, when we exercise and when we sleep have wide reaching effects on our metabolic health. While these new insights into the rhythmicity of our bodies are on the cutting edge of science – there is a much longer history of doctors and scientists studying biological rhythms. This subproject of Body Time interrogates the histories of rhythmicity in health – waking and sleeping, feasting and fasting, and changing perspectives on how to use time and timing to optimize our bodies.

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ZT: Making time in the laboratory

Humans perceive time as light. Our brains have evolved to use the light of the sun to jumpstart a cascade of biological processes across the day and night. Scientists call these environmental cues ‘zeitgebers’, from the German for ‘time giver’. Light signals are perceived through a special class of photoreceptors in the eye, and triggering a small bundle of cells in the hypothalamus called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). In our 24/7 society, there is a concern that too much light stimulation can damage our sleep and our metabolic health.

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Online exhibition

Z-Time – The Art and Science of Circadian Rhythms

You are made of time. Literally. Our bodies have evolved over thousands of years to keep time with the rising and setting of the sun. Visit our online exhibition about Circadian Rhythms curated by Kristin Hussey.

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Supported by

Body Time is supported by a CBMR international postdoc award to Louise Whiteley (PI) and Adam Bencard (Co-PI). It is embedded within CBMR and Medical Museion, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen.


We are always keen to hear from others who are also interested in time, rhythms, and health. We welcome collaboration opportunities from any disciplinary perspective – but are particularly keen to connect with circadian biologists and historians of medicine. We would be open to suggestions and invitations for collaborative events, workshops and publications. To get in touch with us, use the details below – or explore our People page to see who might be most relevant to your enquiry.

Project Lead:
Postdoctoral Researcher, Kristin HusseyKristin.hussey@sund.ku.dk
Principal Investigator:
Associate Professor Louise Whiteleylowh@sund.ku.dk