Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Sehgal, Amita
Location University of Pennsylvania
Primary Field Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
Secondary Field Cellular and Developmental Biology
 Election Citation
Sehgal identified key circadian clock proteins in Drosophila, including those essential for the clock response to light. She then pioneered the development of this organism for studying the homeostatic control of sleep and has discovered conserved molecules, genes, circuits and principles important for sleep as well as circadian rhythms.
 Research Interests
The Sehgal laboratory is interested in the genetic and cellular underpinnings of sleep:wake behavior. They study the circadian timing of sleep:wake, and related physiological processes, and also seek to address how and why the need for sleep is generated. Using a Drosophila model, the laboratory has identified circadian clock genes, elucidated mechanisms by which these genes function together to generate an endogenous clock and by which they synchronize the clock to light, and discovered pathways that transmit signals from the clock and produce overt behavioral rhythms. They have also addressed the role of clocks in peripheral (non-brain) tissues in Drosophila as well as mammals. To understand the mechanisms that determine sleep need, and thereby sleep amount and quality, Sehgal and her collaborators established Drosophila as a model system to study the homeostatic regulation of sleep. They have identified genes and neural circuits that control sleep amount, linked sleep loss to behavioral and metabolic changes and pinpointed a function for sleep in early life.

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