Amita Sehgal

Professor Amita Sehgal, HHMI, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Why we all need a good night’s sleep

13:00 - 14:00, Wednesday 14th April 

BiographyAmita Sehgal

Amita Sehgal is the John Herr Musser Professor of Neuroscience, Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Director of the Chronobiology and Sleep Institute (CSI) at the University of Pennsylvania.  Prof. Sehgal received her Ph.D. from the Weill Graduate School, Cornell University, and conducted her postdoctoral work at Rockefeller University.  Her research focuses on the genetic basis of circadian rhythms and sleep.  Sehgal serves on many national and international advisory panels and as editor for several journals.  Her work has been recognized through a number of awards and honors, which include the Outstanding Scientific Acievement award from the Sleep Research Society, the Javits award from NINDS and the Switzer Prize from UCLA.  Sehgal is currently President of the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms and is also an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences USA.


We seek to determine how circadian rhythms and sleep are integrated with physiological processes to provide optimal fitness and health. Using initially a Drosophila model, and more recently also mammalian models, we have found that aspects of the blood brain barrier (BBB) are controlled by the circadian clock.  BBB properties are also influenced by sleep:wake state in Drosophila, and, in fact, appear to be contribute to functions of sleep.  In other work, we have investigated the role of sleep in learning and memory, and find that it is context-dependent, such that it depends upon metabolic state.

Additional websites

See the Sehgal lab website here