Photo by Kevin Jung-Hoo Park

sejal DAVLA

Ph.D. Candidate Neuroscience, McGill University. 

Sejal Davla grew up in India and chose to move to Montreal to pursue a Ph.D. in Neuroscience. She is passionate about anything related to neuroscience and science outreach. Davla enjoys going to fun dance classes and indulging in books on politics and history. 

Sejal Davla studies neuron-astrocyte communications in sleep behavior using fruit fly, or Drosophila, as a model organism in Dr. Don van Meyel’s laboratory. The brain is mainly comprised of two classes of cells - neurons and glia. Interactions among these cells are vital for proper brain development and function. Davla is studying a class of glial cells called astrocytes - cells with thick, bushy tendrils that directly connect to neurons and blood vessels. Malfunction of astrocytes contributes to a variety of neurological disorders like stroke, epilepsy, or sleep disorders. Using genetics, high-resolution microscopy and behavior assays, Davla has identified a new candidate that is required in astrocytes for the proper control of the timing of sleep. As compared with human genes, those from Drosophila show a high level of conservation (similarity), as are the molecular profiles of astrocytes, suggesting that her work has direct relevance for human sleep disorders. 


Studio Art - Painting, 4th year, 

Concordia University. 

Goodnight Books for Flies is an installation by Hélène Salamanca that explore various aspects of sleep, both as a scientific interest and as an essential part of everyday life. Working in collaboration with neuroscientist Sejal Davla, the project aims to bridge highly specific data with the very personal experience of sleep, reflecting on the collection of information as well as the biases inherent to our understanding of the world and ourselves. Themes of intimacy, repetition and humour are intertwined in order to generate unusual narratives, all explored within a series of small books. These handmade objects, delicate but meant to be handled and touched, remind of both scientific reports and bedtime stories through their format. Goodnight Books for Flies aims to evoke a private space where, despite their differences, the experiences of sleep for both the fly and the human, the artist and the researcher, can connect. 

Goodnight Books for Fruit Flies. 2017.
Hélène Salamanca-Gagnon and Sejal Davla, Silk, ink on paper, oil painting.

Photo by C. Zaelzer

Photo by C. Zaelzer

Photo by C. Zaelzer

Photo by C. Zaelzer

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