How and Why We Sleep: Insights from a Small Animal Model

  • Speaker
  • Portrait of Amita SehgalAmita Sehgal, Ph.D.Musser Professor of Neuroscience and HHMI Investigator
    Director, Chronobiology and Sleep Institute (CSI)
    Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
Date & Time

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Presidential Lectures are free public colloquia centered on four main themes: Biology, Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science, and Neuroscience and Autism Science. These curated, high-level scientific talks feature leading scientists and mathematicians and are intended to foster discourse and drive discovery among the broader NYC-area research community. We invite those interested in the topic to join us for this weekly lecture series.

The need to catch some z’s is common throughout the animal kingdom, from blue whales to fruit flies. Yet, despite its prevalence and importance, sleep’s cause and purpose remain largely a mystery.

In this lecture, Amita Sehgal will describe her group’s research investigating the biology of sleep. In particular, she will discuss recent studies of fruit flies that have helped elucidate why sleep persists across so many different species despite continued evolution. In addition, her research using genetic screens has led to the identification of sleep genes, and her analysis of mutants, coupled with hypothesis-driven approaches, has provided clues to sleep’s cellular functions. A cross-disciplinary approach, she says, is critical to unraveling this biological mystery.

About the Speaker

Portrait of Amita Sehgal

Sehgal is the John Herr Musser Professor of Neuroscience, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and director of the Chronobiology and Sleep Institute (CSI) at the University of Pennsylvania. Sehgal received her Ph.D. from the Weill Graduate School of Cornell University and conducted her postdoctoral work at Rockefeller University. She has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that generate endogenous circadian rhythms and the genetic mechanisms and functions of sleep.

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