Sleep and the Gut

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

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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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