We spend approximately a third of our lives asleep: that’s roughly twenty-five years we could spend awake and living, and yet evolution has fettered us to hours spent every night in our most vulnerable state – unconscious and unaware. It’s an easy question to ask: what’s the point?
 
While the precise functions of sleep are still in the process of being uncovered, sleep is universal across all animals – from bees to elephants – suggesting a critical function that has been conserved across millions of species and millions of years of evolution. We all feel the effects of a bad night’s sleep in our daily interactions and performance, but why exactly we feel that drain (and, consequently, how sleep affects the brain) is still in the process of being discovered.
 

Meet the presenter - Professor Bruno van Swinderen

 
Sleep researcher Professor Bruno van Swinderen uses fruit flies to investigate the fundamental biological mechanisms behind sleep. He is particularly interested in REM sleep, which is when we experience vivid dreams. During REM sleep, also termed ‘paradoxical' sleep, the brain is as active as during waking, but disconnected from the outside world. Many animals appear to experience paradoxical sleep, suggesting that an important and conserved biological function. What might this function be? A recent idea that has been proposed is that this sleep stage is crucial for developing and maintaining conscious awareness. This idea has interesting implications for the evolution of consciousness in animals, and for human society more broadly.
 

Transport and parking

Please note, The Women's College does not have capacity to facilitate guest parking. 
 
Public transport
The Women’s College is a short (350m) walk from UQ Lakes Bus Station. Alternatively, it is a one kilometre walk from Chancellor's Place Bus Station.
 
Parking at UQ
Please click this link for information on casual parking at UQ. We recommend parking along Sir William MacGregor Drive for $5 per day. Payment options include the Pay by Plate machines or the online, CelloPark system - more information on paying for parking is available here.
 
If possible, we suggest ride-sharing or car pooling to get to this event. If you need any assistance with transport to UQ, please let us know by emailing uqalumni@uq.edu.au.

About Alumni events

UQ alumni and community events take place in-person and online, across the globe, throughout the year. UQ alumni are invited to join the UQ ChangeMakers platform to access early event registrations, benefits and discounts.

Join UQ ChangeMakers

Other upcoming sessions