Nalaka S. Gooneratne

faculty photo
Associate Professor of Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Presbyterian Medical Center of Philadelphia and the Veteran's Administration Medical Center
Attending Physician, Presbyterian Medical Center
Fellow, Institute on Aging (University of Pennsylvania)
Member, Center for Sleep and Respiratory Neurobiology (University of Pennsylvania)
Director, Geriatric Fellowship Research
Member, Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics
Director, Masters of Translational Research - Entrepreneurial Science Track
Director, mHealth mobile app/device service (University of Pennsylvania Clinical and Translational Science Award)
Associate Program Director, Center for Human Phenomic Science (University of Pennsylvania Clinical and Translational Science Award)
Department: Medicine

Contact information
Ralston Penn Center, Room 220
3615 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 267 408 3789
Fax: 215 573-8684
Lab: 215 615 0141
Cert. (French)
Ecole de Français Moderne, Université de Lausanne, Switzerland, 1989.
B.S. (Medical Education)
Northwestern University (Honors Program) (Graduated with Distinction), 1991.
M.D. (Medicine)
Northwestern University School of Medicine (Graduated with Distinction), 1993.
M.Sc. (Clinical Epidemiology)
Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Pennsylvania, 2002.
Permanent link

Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests:

Aging, sleep, complementary/alternative medicine, melatonin, patient-oriented research, translational research, categorical data, clinical trials, multivariate analysis, time series.

Description of Research:

Dr. Gooneratne’s research interests are centered around studying the nature of sleep disorders in the elderly. While many older adults complain of difficulties with sleep, it is an area about which modern medicine has only a limited understanding. Funded initially by a National Institute on Aging Mentored Research Career Development Award (K23) and a National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research Award (R01), he is pursuing research examining the role of melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland, in sleep in the elderly. Dr. Gooneratne also has a strong interest in the attitudes of senior citizens towards their sleep problems and how their background/ethnicity informs their decisions. This project has been funded by a Hartford foundation/Penn Center for Excellence pilot grant. Dr.Gooneratne also runs a Sleep Disorders Clinic for Seniors in an effort to address the medical needs of older patients with sleep disorders. In addition, Dr. Gooneratne is the Associate Program Director of the Clinical and Translational Research Center of the University of Pennsylvania's Clinical and Translational Science Award, which assists in the conduct of over 190 clinical research studies. He also helps to coordinate the research activities of the Geriatric fellows in the Division of Geriatric Medicine and mentors research fellows in the Division of Sleep Medicine.

Description of Itmat Expertise

Dr. Gooneratne is interested in geriatric sleep medicine, the pathophysiology of insomnia in the elderly, the role of melatonin abnormalities, cognitive beliefs and attitudes of older patients towards sleep disorders, and the evaluation and management of sleep apnea.

Selected Publications

Sharma A., Barrett M.S., Cucchiara A.J., Gooneratne N.S., Thase M.E.: A Breathing-Based Meditation Intervention for Patients With Major Depressive Disorder Following Inadequate Response to Antidepressants: A Randomized Pilot Study. J Clin Psychiatry Nov 2016 Notes: epub ahead of print.

Gooneratne, N.S.: What is Academic Entrepreneurship? Academic Entrepreneurship in the Life Sciences: ITMATEd (University of Pennsylvania), June 2016.

Onen F., Lalanne C., Pak V.M., Gooneratne N.S., Falissard B., Onen S.H.: A Three-Item Instrument for Measuring Daytime Sleepiness: The Observation and Interview Based Diurnal Sleepiness Inventory (ODSI). J Clin Sleep Med 12(4): 505-12, April 2016.

Gooneratne, N.S.: Sleep Problems Specific to Geriatric Patients. Sleep Medicine in Primary Care (electronic textbook). Bianchi, M. (eds.). Oakstone Publishing, 2016.

Gehrman P.R., Hall M., Barilla H., Buysse D., Perlis M., Gooneratne N., Ross R.J.: Stress Reactivity in Insomnia. Behav Sleep Med 14(1): 23-33, 2016.

Gooneratne, N. S. and M. V. Vitiello : Sleep in older adults: normative changes, sleep disorders, and treatment options. Clin Geriatr Med 30(3): 591-627, Aug 2014.

Grandner M.A., Gallagher R.A., Gooneratne N.S.: The use of technology at night: impact on sleep and health. J Clin Sleep Med 9(12): 1301-2, Dec 2013.

Grandner, M.A., Patel, N.P., Jean-Louis, G., Jackson, N.J., Gehrman, P.R., Perlis, M.L., and Gooneratne, N.S.: Sleep-related behaviors and beliefs associated with race/ethnicity in women. Journal of the National Medical Association 105(1): 4-15, July 2013.

Grandner M.A., Patel N.P., Jean-Louis G., Jackson N., Gehrman P.R., Perlis M.L., Gooneratne N.S.: Sleep-related behaviors and beliefs associated with race/ethnicity in women. J Natl Med Assoc 105(1): 4-15, Jun 2013.

Grandner, M.A., Jackson, N., Gooneratne, N.S., Patel, N.P. : The Development of a Questionnaire to Assess Sleep-Related Practices, Beliefs, and Attitudes. Behavioral Sleep Medicine 11: 1-20, April 2013.

back to top
Last updated: 01/31/2017
The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania