HTLS 2019 | Satchin Panda: The scientist who is studying our body clocks

Published on Nov 29, 2019 04:48 AM IST

Satchin Panda is a professor of regulatory biology laboratory in Salk Institute for Biological Studies, an independent, non-profit, scientific research institute located in San Diego, California.

A graduate from Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha, he did his PhD from The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California, and his postdoctoral research at Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, San Diego.

Panda’s laboratory uses genetic, genomics and biochemical approaches to understand the molecular mechanism of the biological clock, which coordinates human sleep-wake behaviour with the natural dark-light cycle to uncover the link between our circadian clocks and health.

While exploring how the liver’s daily cycle works, Panda found that mice that eat within a set time (8-12 hours) are slimmer and healthier than those who ate the same amount of calories over a larger window of time, showing that when one eats may be as important as what one eats.

He identified the working of light sensors that give direct inputs to a section of the hypothalamus — a part of the brain — at the centre of the body’s master clock and how the body’s
cellular timekeepers function. His work has won him the Pew Scholar Award and Dana Foundation Award in Brain and Immune System Imaging.

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