Richa Saxena, PhD is a Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School, and an Investigator in the Center for Genomic Medicine and Department of Anesthesia at Mass General Hospital. She is also an Associate Member at the Broad Institute and a member of the Harvard Division of Sleep Medicine. Dr. Saxena received her BA in Biology and Chemistry from Cornell University and her PhD in Biology from MIT. She is the recipient of the MGH Claflin Distinguished Scholar Award and is currently a Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport MGH Research Scholar.
Dr. Saxena’s human genetic research uses population-scale biobanks coupled with focused mechanistic studies to identify genes and biological mechanisms underlying circadian rhythm and sleep traits and adverse pregnancy disorders, and illuminate their relationships with chronic disease. Her team has discovered genes underlying sleep quality, quantity and timing, morningness-eveningness preference, as well as genes for sleep disorders and preeclampsia.
Dr. Saxena’s team is studying biological and physiologic mechanisms linking circadian rhythms, melatonin and sleep to type 2 diabetes, neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases. She also examines the genetic basis of preeclampsia and links of preeclampsia to cardio-metabolic disease. Her research aims to catalyze new therapeutic avenues for sleep and pregnancy disorders, and to define disease mechanisms where targeted interventions for sleep or circadian rhythms could prevent or ameliorate related human disease.