Amita Sehgal

John Herr Musser Professor of Neuroscience
Perelman School of Medicine
Co-Director of the Penn Medicine Neuroscience Center
Vice Chair of the Department of Neuroscience

How long have you worked at Penn?
20 years

What do you do?
Sehgal’s research focuses on the molecular basis of behavior; sleep, in particular. “We work with fruit flies for the most part, drosophila, and we have a lot of our own equipment to monitor behavior. We monitor rest activity cycles and sleep in our flies, and we have equipment that allows us to monitor thousands of flies at the same time, individually.” Throughout her career, she has discovered a circadian clock gene, and her lab has figured out the way in which the circadian clock responds to light.

What’s the best part about your job?
“The favorite part of my job is discussing experiments, research projects, with the people in my lab, trying to analyze an experiment and figure out what it’s telling us about a biological process, and then trying to plan the next stage.”

What is unique about your workspace?
Sehgal conducts most of her research in the lab across from her office in the 531,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art Smilow Center for Translational Research, which opened in 2012. “I now have space that I really like. I love my office. I got to design my lab here because it was a new building. I have gotten great people to work in my lab here, students and post-doc fellows.”

--G.J.