Recipe for Sleep

Neuroscientist Chiara Cirelli: Uncovering Sleep

Chiara Cirelli Studies Shuteye

Neuroscientist Cirelli wants to find a recipe for sound sleep.



In what phase of sleep do humans dream?

Answer: REM

REM = Rapid Eye Movement

During the REM phase of sleep, brain waves are

Why Do We Sleep?

What some scientists suspect

What Cirelli suspects

Cirelli's Synaptic-Strength Hypothesis

Testing Cirelli's Hypothesis

Fruit Flies Are Model Organisms

Drosophila melanogaster

(fruit fly)

Fruit flies are perfect tools for studying heredity, or genetics.

Cirelli uses fruit flies to study genes that affect sleep.

Sleep Genes and Fruit Flies

Sleepless in Madison

Previously, Cirelli would awaken sleeping fruit flies by shaking the test tubes where they ate and slept.

Now, Cirelli uses a robotic arm that tilts and drops a frame containing the test tubes of sleeping fruit flies, jolting them awake.

Cirelli Discovers Minisleeper Flies

Research Applications

How might Cirelli's work with fruit fly genes eventually help humans sleep better, and what is the "fly in the ointment" of such an application?