Hannah Hasson

Date of Award


First Advisor

Sarah Snyder

Second Advisor

Jessica Robbins


How do pacemaker cells of the heart all fire action potentials simultaneously to produce a regular rhythm in the heartbeat? Why do neurons in the brain spontaneously begin to fire in the same period causing a dangerous malfunction? How does your body know what time of the day to feel hungry, tired, or sleepy? Synchronization, a phenomenon found in nearly all entities of the universe, across vastly varying orders of magnitude, governs many of the processes that allow for the existence of homeostasis. The phenomenon allows for individual parts in a system to operate in unison. When in sync, these individual parts are known as coupled oscillators, which are entities that repeat themselves in an automatic cycle at regular time intervals, influencing one another through a chemical or physical process. The syncing of two independent systems, specifically referring to the human body, is termed entrainment. This thesis explores how the phenomenon of synchronization plays a part in pacemaker cells, seizures, and the circadian rhythm.

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