Dragana Rogulja, 2021

Who she is

Dragana Rogulja is an Associate Professor of Neurobiology. Her Ph.D. training was in developmental biology with Ken Irvine (Rutgers University), and her postdoctoral training was in behavioral neuroscience with Michael Young (Rockefeller University). She joined the faculty of the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School in 2013.

What she does

The Rogulja lab studies sleep, circadian rhythms, and motivation using fruit flies and mice. The questions they want to answer include: Why is sleep essential for survival? How do animals disconnect from their sensory environment during sleep? How do you decide to take an action?

News from the Lab

The lab recently discovered a critical relationship between sleep and the gut. During sleep deprivation the gut accumulates reactive oxygen species and gets oxidized; preventing gut oxidation allows survival in the absence of sleep (otherwise total sleep loss is lethal). The gut also instructs sleep: dietary proteins are sensed in the gut, and the signal sent to the brain promotes sensory disconnect and deeper sleep.