The How and Why of Sleep
Yang Dan, Ph.D.University of California, Berkeley
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 a fundamental biological process, and its disruption profoundly impacts human health. In this lecture, Yang Dan will describe her team’s effort to identify neurons involved in sleep generation using a combination of optogenetics, electrophysiology, imaging and gene expression profiling. They found that sleep is controlled by a highly distributed network spanning the forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain. They also discovered that sleep neurons are part of the central somatic and autonomic motor circuits. To address the question of “why” we sleep, they are now exploring how sleep interacts with the cardiovascular, immune and neuroendocrine systems.