Sleep and the Gut

  • Speaker
  • Dragana Rogulja, Ph.D.Principal Investigator, Rogulja Lab
    Associate Professor, Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School
Date & Time


Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium
160 5th Ave
New York, NY 10010 United States

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5:30 p.m. Doors open

6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Lecture and Q&A

This lecture is part of “The Neuroscience of Sleep,” the 2023 lecture series theme in neuroscience and autism science. All animals need to sleep; it is essential to health and well-being, with many disease states disrupting sleep. Yet, despite its importance, the fundamental biological reasons and mechanisms for sleep remain poorly understood. This set of talks will explore the state of sleep science, including the mechanisms that initiate sleep, what happens in the brain during sleep, what happens when sleep is disordered and why sleep is necessary.
2023 Lecture Series Themes
Biology: Microbiomes
Neuroscience and Autism Science: The Neuroscience of Sleep
Physics: The Third Quantum Revolution
Mathematics and Computer Science: Waves

About Simons Foundation Presidential Lectures

Simons Foundation 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.

Sleep is critical to our survival and our very existence: Evidence suggests that even the earliest animals entered sleeplike states. Most efforts to understand the importance of sleep, however, focus primarily on the brain and sleep’s role in regulating memory and cognition.

In this lecture, Dragana Rogulja will present her lab’s work studying the vital functions of sleep throughout the body. She and her colleagues discovered that sleep deprivation causes oxidative stress that eventually results in death. The organ most critically injured by this process, they found, is the gut. In another study, they found that the gut can, in turn, regulate sleep, particularly the depth of sleep. These discoveries suggest a bidirectional relationship between sleep and the gut. She will also touch on the connections between poor sleep, gut health and autism spectrum disorders.

About the Speaker

Rogulja is an associate professor of neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. Originally from Belgrade, Serbia, she earned her Ph.D. in developmental biology at Rutgers University under Ken Irvine. She then worked as a postdoc at Rockefeller University in Michael Young’s lab, where she began studying sleep and circadian rhythms. She has received numerous awards and honors, including the 2016 NIH Director’s New Innovator Award.

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