Conversations in Science Series
A program conceived and organized by the Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literacy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with the collaboration of the Madison Metropolitan School District and the Edgewood Sonderegger Science Center.

Thursday, November 6, 2008 at 4:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Sonderegger Science Center (Click here for parking information)
1000 Edgewood College Drive Madison, Wisconsin

Professor Ruth Benca
UW Psychiatric Institute & Clinics

“Biology of Sleep”

The Conversations in Science series brings together UW-Madison science researchers and Dane County science teachers. Designed to stimulate discussion between scientists and science educators at all levels, these conversations connect high-, middle-, and elementary school classrooms with the University's cutting-edge research. Questions and ideas are freely exchanged between expert and an audience of K-12 educators.


Sleep is a universal behavior across all animals, yet its function is largely unknown. This presentation will cover a description of the biological basis of sleep, its function and the effects of sleep loss. Seasonal adaptations in sleep patterns by migrating birds and their relevance to human behavior will also be discussed.


Dr. Benca is Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Director of the University of Wisconsin Center for Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research.

Dr. Benca received her PhD in pathology and her medical degree from the University of Chicago in Illinois before completing a residency in psychiatry and a fellowship in sleep disorders medicine, also at the University of Chicago. She is a member of several professional organizations, including the Society for Neuroscience, the Sleep Research Society (SRS), the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and the American Psychiatric Association; she has served as President of the SRS and on the Board of Directors of the AASM. Additionally, she is a Deputy Editor of Sleep: Journal of Sleep and Sleep Disorders Research. Dr. Benca has served as principal investigator for a number of basic and clinical research studies and has presented her research findings at a variety of national meetings. She has coauthored numerous articles, reviews and book chapters, and her research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the Department of Defense. Among her awards and honors, Dr. Benca was recently selected to participate in the Hedwig van Amerigen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program for Women (2004–2005).

Click here ro visit Professor Benca's website.

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