Salk Institute
Satchidananda Panda
Associate Professor
Regulatory Biology Laboratory
Satchidananda Panda

Associate Professor
Regulatory Biology Laboratory


Satchin Panda, an associate professor in the Regulatory Biology Laboratory, is interested in understanding the molecular mechanism of the biological clock in a mouse model system. The biological clock or circadian oscillator in most organisms coordinates behavior and physiology with the natural light-dark cycle. His laboratory uses genetic, genomics and biochemical approaches to identify genes under circadian regulation in different organs and to understand the mechanism of such regulation. His lab also tries to characterize the mechanism by which the circadian oscillator is synchronized to the natural light-dark condition. Both classical rod/cone photoreceptors and a newly identified ocular photopigment melanopsin participate in photoentrainment of the clock. Research in his lab is geared towards identifying molecular components and events critical for transmitting light information from the eye to the master oscillator in the brain.

"Just as the biological clock in the brain wakes us in the morning and puts us to sleep at night, clocks in every other organ tune physiology and metabolism to appropriate times of the day. When these timing mechanisms don't work well, it can lead to sleep problems, depression, metabolic diseases, cancer and accelerated aging."

Panda's team explores how our biological clocks control our metabolism and physiology, as a means for coming up with new strategies to treat or prevent chronic diseases. His lab discovered that a light receptor, called melanopsin, senses blue light in our environment and tells our brain when to sleep and when to stay alert. The discovery has inspired architects and designers to redesign lighting at workplaces, homes and hospitals to improve the quality of life. His team is also actively pursuing a novel idea for finding drugs that can mimic light or dark so that diseases like depression and sleep disorders can be effectively treated.

Panda's work on clocks outside the brain revealed that eating times synchronize clocks in other organs, including the liver, muscles and fat tissues. These clocks, in turn, orchestrate when and for how long our body breaks down sugar, fat and cholesterol.

His team may have found another option for preventing obesity by preserving natural feeding rhythms without altering dietary intake. They discovered that mice who ate fatty food frequently throughout the day gained weight and developed high cholesterol, high blood glucose, liver damage and diminished motor control, while the mice restricted to eating for only eight hours per day weighed 28 percent less and showed no adverse health effects, despite consuming the same amount of calories from the same fatty food. When given an exercise test, the time-restricted mice also outperformed the ad lib eaters and control animals fed a normal diet. The findings suggest that the control of energy metabolism is a finely tuned process that involves an intricate network of signaling and genetic pathways, including nutrient-sensing mechanisms and the circadian system. Timerestricted feeding acts on these interwoven networks and moves their state toward that of a normal feeding rhythm.

Although the findings have not yet been duplicated in humans, most successful human lifestyle interventions were first tested in mice, so Panda and his team are hopeful their findings will follow suit, providing a simple and effective lifestyle intervention to contain the obesity epidemic.

Lab Photo

Left to right:
Ludovic Mure, Megumi Hirota, Luciano DiTacchio, Satchin Panda, Shubhroz Gill, Amandine Chaix, Hiep Le

Selected Publications

Hatori M, Vollmers C, Zarrinpar A, DiTacchio L, Bushong E, Gill S, Leblanc M, Chaix A, Joens M, Fitzpatrick J, Ellisman M, Panda S. Time-restricted feeding without reducing caloric intake prevents metabolic diseases in mice fed a high-fat diet. Cell Metabolism (in press)

Cho H, Zhao X, Hatori M, Yu RT, Barish GD, Lam MT, Chong LW, DiTacchio L, Atkins AR, Glass CK, Liddle C, Auwerx J, Downes M, Panda S, Evans RM. Regulation of circadian behaviour and metabolism by REV-ERB-α and REV-ERB-β. Nature. 2012 Mar 29;485(7396):123-7. [pdf]

Siegert S, Cabuy E, Scherf BG, Kohler H, Panda S, Le YZ, Fehling HJ, Gaidatzis D, Stadler MB, Roska B. Transcriptional code and disease map for adult retinal cell types. Nat Neurosci. 2012 Jan 22;15(3):487-95, S1-2. [pdf]

DiTacchio L, Le HD, Vollmers C, Hatori M, Witcher M, Secombe J, Panda S. Histone lysine demethylase JARID1a activates CLOCK-BMAL1 and influences the circadian clock. Science. 2011 Sep 30;333(6051):1881-5. [pdf]

Ma D, Panda S, Lin JD. Temporal orchestration of circadian autophagy rhythm by C/EBPβ. EMBO J. 2011 Sep 6;30(22):4642-51. [pdf]

Gill S, Panda S. Feeding Mistiming Decreases Reproductive Fitness in Flies. Cell Metab. 2011 Jun 8;13(6):613-4. [pdf]

Brown TM, Gias C, Hatori M, Keding SR, Semo M, Coffey PJ, Gigg J, Piggins HD, Panda S, Lucas RJ. Melanopsin contributions to irradiance coding in the thalamo-cortical visual system. PLoS Biol. 2010 Dec 7;8(12):e1000558. [pdf]

Hatori M, Panda S. CRY links the circadian clock and CREB-mediated gluconeogenesis. Cell Res. 2010 Dec;20(12):1285-8. Epub 2010 Nov 9. [pdf]

Jones MA, Covington MF, DiTacchio L, Vollmers C, Panda S, Harmer SL. Jumonji domain protein JMJD5 functions in both the plant and human circadian systems. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Dec 14;107(50):21623-8. Epub 2010 Nov 29. [pdf]

Hatori M, Panda S. The emerging roles of melanopsin in behavioral adaptation to light. Trends Mol Med. 2010 Oct;16(10):435-46. Epub 2010 Aug 31. [pdf]

Vollmers C, Gill S, DiTacchio L, Pulivarthy SR, Le HD, Panda S. Time of feeding and the intrinsic circadian clock drive rhythms in hepatic gene expression. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Dec 15;106(50):21453-8. Epub 2009 Nov 25. [pdf]

Lamia KA, Sachdeva UM, DiTacchio L, Williams EC, Alvarez JG, Egan DF, Vasquez DS, Juguilon H, Panda S, Shaw RJ, Thompson CB, Evans RM. AMPK regulates the circadian clock by cryptochrome phosphorylation and degradation. Science. 2009 Oct 16;326(5951):437-40

Hitomi K, DiTacchio L, Arvai AS, Yamamoto J, Kim ST, Todo T, Tainer JA, Iwai S, Panda S, Getzoff ED. Functional motifs in the (6-4) photolyase crystal structure make a comparative framework for DNA repair photolyases and clock cryptochromes. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Apr 28;106(17):6962-7. Epub 2009 Apr 9

Hughes ME, DiTacchio L, Hayes KR, Vollmers C, Pulivarthy S, Baggs JE, Panda S, Hogenesch JB. Harmonics of circadian gene transcription in mammals. PLoS Genet. 2009 Apr;5(4):e1000442. Epub 2009 Apr 3

Baggs JE, Price TS, DiTacchio L, Panda S, Fitzgerald GA, Hogenesch JB. Network features of the mammalian circadian clock. PLoS Biol. 2009 Mar 10;7(3):e52.

Vollmers C, Panda S, DiTacchio L. A high-throughput assay for siRNA-based circadian screens in human U2OS cells. PLoS One. 2008;3(10):e3457. Epub 2008 Oct 20 [pdf]

Lin B, Koizumi A, Tanaka N, Panda S, Masland RH. Restoration of visual function in retinal degeneration mice by ectopic expression of melanopsin. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Oct 14;105(41):16009-14. Epub 2008 Oct 3

Hatori M, Le H, Vollmers C, Keding SR, Tanaka N, Schmedt C, Jegla T, Panda S. Inducible ablation of melanopsin-expressing retinal ganglion cells reveals their central role in non-image forming visual responses. PLoS ONE. 2008 Jun 11;3 (6):e2451.[pdf]

Pulivarthy SR, Tanaka N, Welsh DK, DeHaro L, Verm IM, Panda S. Reciprocity between phase shifts and amplitude changes in the mammalian circadian clock. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Dec 18;104(51):20356-61. Epub 2007 Dec 7. [pdf]

Kozlov SV, Bogenpohl JW, Howell MP, Wevrick R, Panda S, Hogenesch JB, Muglia LJ, Van Gelder RN, Herzog ED, Stewart CL. The imprinted gene Magel2 regulates normal circadian output. Nat Genet. 2007 Oct;39(10):1266-72. Epub 2007 Sep 23. [pdf]

Miller BH, McDearmon EL, Panda S, Hayes KR, Zhang J, Andrews JL, Antoch MP, Walker JR, Esser KA, Hogenesch JB, Takahashi JS. Circadian and CLOCK-controlled regulation of the mouse transcriptome and cell proliferation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Feb 27;104(9):3342-7. Epub 2007 Feb 20. [pdf]

Panda S. Multiple photopigments entrain the Mammalian circadian oscillator. Neuron. 2007 Mar 1;53(5):619-21. Review. [pdf]

Nayak SK, Jegla T, Panda S. Role of novel photopigment, melanopsin, in behavioral adaption to light. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2007 Jan; 64(2):144-54. [pdf]

De Haro L, Panda S. Systems biology of circadian rhythms: an outlook. J Biol Rhythms. 2006 Dec; 21(6): 507-18.

Rudic RD, McNamara P, Reilly D, Grosser T, Curtis AM, Price TS, Panda S, Hogenesch JB, FitzGerald GA. Bioinformatic analysis of circadian gene oscillation in mouse aorta. Circulation. 2005 Oct 25;112(17):2716-24. Epub 2005 Oct 17.[pdf]

Panda S, Nayak SK, Campo B, Walker JR, Hogenesch JB, Jegla T. Illumination of the melanopsin signaling pathway. Science. 2005. Jan 28;307(5709):600-4. [pdf]

Rudic RD, McNamara P, Curtis AM, Boston RC, Panda S, Hogenesch JB, Fitzgerald GA. BMAL1 and CLOCK, two essential components of the circadian clock, are involved in glucose homeostasis. PLoS Biol. 2004 Nov;2(11):e377. [pdf]

Panda S, Hogenesch JB. It's all in the timing: many clocks, many outputs. J Biol Rhythms. 2004 Oct;19(5):374-87.

Sato TK, Panda S, Miraglia LJ, Reyes TM, Rudic RD, McNamara P, Naik KA,FitzGerald GA, Kay SA, Hogenesch JB. A functional genomics strategy reveals Rora as a component of the mammalian circadian clock. Neuron. 2004 Aug 19;43(4):527-37. [pdf]

Grechez-Cassiau A, Panda S, Lacoche S, Teboul M, Azmi S, Laudet V, Hogenesch JB, Taneja R, Delaunay F. The transcriptional repressor STRA13 regulates a subset of peripheral circadian outputs. J Biol Chem 2004 Jan 9; 279(2):1141-50. [pdf]

Panda S, Provencio I, Tu DC, Pires SS, Rollag MD, Castrucci AM, Pletcher MT, Sato TK, Wiltshire T, Andahazy M, Kay SA, Van Gelder RN, Hogenesch JB. Melanopsin is required for non-image-forming photic responses in blind mice. Science. 2003 Jul 25;301(5632):525-7. [pdf]

Sato TK, Panda S, Kay SA, Hogenesch JB. DNA arrays: applications and implications for circadian biology. J Biol Rhythms. 2003 Apr;18(2):96-105

Panda S, Sato TK, Hampton GM, Hogenesch JB. An array of insights: application of DNA chip technology in the study of cell biology. Trends Cell Biol. 2003 Mar;13(3):151-6. [pdf]

Panda S, Sato TK, Castrucci AM, Rollag MD, DeGrip WJ, Hogenesch JB, Provencio I, Kay SA. Melanopsin (Opn4) requirement for normal light-induced circadian phase shifting. Science. 2002 Dec 13;298(5601):2213-6. [pdf]

Ceriani MF, Hogenesch JB, Yanovsky M, Panda S, Straume M, Kay SA. Genome-wide expression analysis in Drosophila reveals genes controlling circadian behavior. J Neurosci. 2002 Nov 1;22(21):9305-19. [pdf]

Panda S, Poirier GG, Kay SA. tej defines a role for poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation in establishing period length of the arabidopsis circadian oscillator. Dev Cell. 2002 Jul;3(1):51-61.

Panda S, Hogenesch JB, Kay SA. Circadian rhythms from flies to human. Nature. 2002 May 16;417(6886):329-35. [pdf]

Panda S, Antoch MP, Miller BH, Su AI, Schook AB, Straume M, Schultz PG, Kay SA, Takahashi JS, Hogenesch JB. Coordinated transcription of key pathways in the mouse by the circadian clock. Cell. 2002 May 3;109(3):307-20. [pdf]

Harmer SL, Panda S, Kay SA. Molecular bases of circadian rhythms. Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2001;17:215-53. [pdf]

Salk News Releases


Panda lab

Salk study may offer drug-free intervention to prevent obesity and diabetes

May 17, 2012

It turns out that when we eat may be as important as what we eat. Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have found that regular eating times and extending the daily fasting period may override the adverse health effects of a high-fat diet and prevent obesity, diabetes and liver disease in mice. Read more>>



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