Sara C. Mednick, Ph.D.



Sara C. Mednick Ph.D.
Assistant Adjunct Professor
E-mail Address:
Telephone #: 858-552-8585, Ext-2895
FAX #:858-642-3672




In 2003, Dr. Sara Mednick received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Harvard University. She completed postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Dr. Geoffrey Boynton at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, and this work was supported by a three-year, National Institute of Health funded, National Research Service Award fellowship. In fall 2007, she joined our faculty and was awarded a five-year, National Institute of Mental Health-funded, Mentored Research Career Scientist Award. Dr. Mednick’s napping research has been the subject of news reports by CNN, Reuters TV, NPR, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, Consumer Reports Health Journal, Reader’s Digest, The New York Times and other major media outlets.

Research Focus

My research is devoted to understanding how napping affects human performance. Through the use of such cutting-edge technology as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electro-encephalography (EEG), and pharmacologically-tractable neurotransmitter systems, it is possible to reveal neurobiological mechanisms underlying a wide range of cognitive processes. My laboratory investigates memory consolidation, creativity, perceptual learning, and applied areas of napping on the workplace. Sleep is the context and these techniques are the tools we use to pinpoint the areas of the brain and the functional mechanisms that underlie these cognitive processes. My intention is to create research that has both basic and operational applications.

Selected Publications

• Mednick SC, Nakayama K, Cantero JL, Atienza M, Levin AA, Pathak N, Stickgold R,
The Restorative Benefit of Naps on Perceptual Deterioration. Nature Neuroscience 5: 677-
681, 2002.

• Mednick SC., Nakayama K., Stickgold R. Sleep-dependent Learning: A Nap is as
Good as a Night. Nature Neuroscience 6: 697-698, 2003.

• Mednick SC, Arman AC, Boynton GM. The Time Course and Specificity of Perceptual
Deterioration. Proc. from the National Academy of Sciences 102(10):3881-3885, 2005.

• Mednick SC, Drummond SPA, Arman AC, Boynton GM. Perceptual Deterioration is
Reflected in the Neural Response: An fMRI Study Between Nappers and Non-Nappers.
Perception 37:1086-1097, 2008.

• Mednick SC, Kanady J, Cai D, Drummond SPA, Comparing the Benefits of Caffeine, Naps
and Placebo on Verbal, Motor, and Perceptual Memory. Behav. Brain Res.193: 79–86, 2008.


University of California, San Diego, Department of Psychiatry, 9500 Gilman Drive, Mail Code 0603 La Jolla, CA 92037-0603
Telephone: (858) 534-3684, Fax: (858) 534-7653, Electronic Mail: