Sara C. Mednick, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Irvine and Director of the Sleep and Cognition (SaC) Lab
Sara C. Mednick, Ph.D. is a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of California, Irvine and author of The Power of the Downstate: Recharge Your Life Using Your Body’s Own Restorative Systems and Take a Nap! Change Your Life. She is passionate about understanding how the brain works through her research into sleep and the autonomic nervous system. Prof. Mednick’s seven-bedroom Sleep and Cognition (SaC) Lab works literally around-the-clock to discover methods for boosting cognition by napping, stimulating the brain with electricity, sound and light, and pharmacology. Her lab also investigates how the menstrual cycle and aging affect the brain. Her science has been continuously federally funded (National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation, Department of Defense Office of Naval Research, DARPA).
Dr. Mednick was awarded the Office Naval Research Young Investigator Award in 2015. Her research findings have been published in such leading scientific journals as Nature Neuroscience and The Proceedings from the National Academy of Science, and covered by all major media outlets. She received a BA from Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, in Drama/Dance. After college, her experience working in the psychiatry department at Bellevue Hospital in New York, inspired her to study the brain and how to make humans smarter through better sleep.
She received a Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard University, and then completed a postdoc at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and UC San Diego.