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Amita Sehgal wants to understand the molecular and cellular networks that drive rhythmic behaviors such as sleep. Sehgal and her team work primarily in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, but also translate their findings to mammalian models, especially mice. Their major goals are to elucidate the mechanisms that confer a circadian (~24-hour) periodicity on much of behavior and physiology as well as to understand how and why the drive to sleep is generated. They have identified genes and circuits that underlie the homeostatic drive for sleep, and ongoing studies are revealing new mechanisms and cellular functions for sleep.