The fellowship acknowledges his research on circadian rhythms, including the effects of blue light on sleep cycles and the implications of circadian misalignment on metabolism and inflammation.

Summary: Satchidananda Panda, PhD, from the Salk Institute, has been named a 2023 AAAS Fellow for his contributions to circadian biology. His work reveals how light exposure, especially blue light, affects the body’s circadian rhythms, impacting sleep, mood, and alertness. His research into time-restricted eating shows that confining eating to eight to 12 hours can significantly improve health. Additionally, his findings suggest that misaligned circadian rhythms increase inflammation, which could influence disease treatments. This recognition highlights Panda’s role in advancing the understanding of circadian rhythms’ impact on health.

Key Takeaways:

  • Satchidananda Panda, a professor at the Salk Institute, has been named a 2023 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his contributions to the field of circadian biology, which focus on how daily light exposure impacts the body’s internal clock and overall health.
  • Panda’s research in circadian biology has advanced understanding of how light sensors in the eyes measure ambient light levels to regulate the body’s sleep and wake times. His findings support a lighting revolution to reduce exposure to blue light at night, which can improve mood, alertness, and overall sleep quality.
  • Panda’s studies have shown that mice with dysregulated circadian rhythms exhibit higher levels of inflammation compared to those with normal rhythms. This suggests that the genes and molecules involved in circadian regulation could be potential targets for treating conditions linked to inflammation, such as cancer.

Salk Institute Professor Satchidananda Panda, PhD, has been named a 2023 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for his work in circadian biology. 

Panda is among 502 new AAAS Fellows spanning 24 scientific disciplines who were nominated by their peers for their efforts to advance science. The election recognizes his contributions to the field of chronobiology, particularly for applications to obesity and human health. 

“The Salk community congratulates Satchin on his well-deserved election as an AAAS Fellow,” says Salk President Gerald Joyce in a release. “His pioneering work in circadian biology has illuminated the intricacies of our body’s internal clock and opened new avenues for understanding human health and preventing and managing chronic diseases. We are delighted to celebrate this prestigious recognition with him.”

Panda is a professor in the regulatory biology laboratory and holder of the Rita and Richard Atkinson Chair at Salk. He is consistently named among the best and most highly cited researchers in the world by Clarivate. His research explores the genes, molecules, and cells that keep the whole body on the same circadian clock and how they are linked to health and disease. 

Advancements in Light Exposure and Health

He has made significant advancements in understanding how light sensors in the eyes measure ambient light levels to regulate the body’s sleep and wake times. These discoveries have fueled a new lighting revolution to reduce blue light exposure at night to improve mood, alertness, and sleep.

Exploring Time-Restricted Eating

In further exploring these daily cycles in the body, his lab’s work has extended into the field of time-restricted eating and its impact on metabolism and immunity. Panda found that mice that eat within a set amount of time (eight to 12 hours) were slimmer and healthier than those who ate the same number of calories in a larger window of time, showing that when one eats may be as important as what one eats. 

Subsequent studies have explored whether these benefits of time-restricted eating hold true in humans, with pilot studies suggesting it could have profound impacts on treating high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. A recent clinical trial in firefighters also showed promising results for improving cardiovascular health in shift workers

Circadian Rhythms Linked to Inflammation

Mice with dysregulated circadian rhythms also had higher levels of inflammation in their bodies than other mice, suggesting that genes and molecules involved in the circadian clock could be potential drug targets for conditions linked to inflammation, such as cancer. Panda’s lab continues to explore the ways that circadian regulation can be used to prevent and better manage these diseases and, in turn, promote healthy aging and extended life spans.