Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology

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Faculty Research

Research at the Center for Sleep & Circadian Neurobiology (CSCN) ranges from basic science to original clinical trials as well as translational research.
 

Mathias Basner, MD, PhD, MSc

Dr. Basner's primary research interests concern the effects of sleep loss on neurobehavioral and cognitive functions, population studies on sleep time and waking activities, the effects of traffic noise on sleep and recuperation, and the effects of long-duration space missions on behavior and cognition. Dr. Basner is funded by FAA to investigate the effects of aircraft noise on sleep around major US airports, and by NASA to investigate neurostructural and cognitive changes induced by living in isolated, confined, and extreme environments.

Research Team
  • Sarah McGuire, PhD
  • Alexander Stahn, PhD
  • Jad Nasrini, BS
  • Maryam Witte, BS
  • Anjana Kallarackal, BS
  • Emanuel Hermosillo, BS
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Faculty Profile

Unit for Experimental Psychiatry, Division of Sleep and Chronobiology

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Subjahit Chakravorty, MD

Dr. Chakravorty's program of research is primarily focused on understanding optimal treatment interventions for insomnia comorbid with Alcohol Use Disorder and their underlying mechanisms for change.  Additionally, he is interested in understanding how alcohol use interfaces with sleep-related disorders. 

Links of Interest

Faculty Profile

Behavioral Sleep Medicine

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Christopher Cielo, DO

Dr. Cielo's research program focuses on improving the evaluation and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in children with craniofacial conditions. Through collaborations with plastic surgery, neonatology, radiology, genetics, and others, his current study aims to understand the mechanisms of OSA in infants born with a small jaw (micrognathia) and how OSA affects growth in these patients. 

Research Team
  • Mary Anne Cornaglia
Links of Interest

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David F. Dinges, MS, MA, PhD

Dr. Dinges’ laboratory science focuses on neurobehavioral and physiological regulation of human health and behavior by circadian and sleep biology. The primary focus is on identifying the manner in which sleep need and circadian biology dynamically interact to influence wakefulness and neurobehavioral, cognitive, affective and physiological functions (immune, inflammatory, endocrine, metabolic, genetic).

Research Team
  • David F. Dinges, MS, MA, PhD
  • Mathias Basner, MD, PhD, MSc
  • Namni Goel, PhD
  • Alexander C. Stahn, PhD
  • Sarah McGuire, PhD
  • Matthew S. Kayser, MD, PhD
  • Michele Carlin, Research Project Manager
  • Adrian Ecker, Senior Systems Project Leader
  • Daniel Castellano, Business Administrator
  • Christine Dinges, Research Coordinator
  • Jad Nasrini, Clinical Research Coordinator
  • Laura Dennis, Clinical Research Coordinator
  • Patrick Carlin, Research Lab Technician
  • Emanuel Hermosillo, Research Lab Technician
  • Anjana Kallarackal, Research Lab Technician
  • Sierra Park-Chavar, Research Lab Technician
  • Maryam Witte, Research Lab Technician
  • Zaineb Alhassani, Research Assistant
  • Shan Choudhri, Research Assistant
  • Jordyn Jackson, Research Assistant
  • Sean Carlin      
  • Chungeun Chae
  • Brittany Ejimole
  • Althea Escorce
  • Vilair Feristin
  • Eliza Halpin
  • Marlena Hanna
  • Grant Heindselman
  • Victoria Kalbacher
  • Megan Lane
  • Carmen Lau
  • Sydney Liu
  • Micaela Lucero
  • Asana Okocha
  • Sanaa Ounis
  • Brianna Owairu
  • Sarah Rocha
  • Zachary Sheldon
  • Claire Stickler
  • Maiko Suarez
  • Delaney Taylor
  • Erin Tinney
  • Shauntelle Woods
  • Christopher Yao
  • Olga Tkachenko
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Faculty Profile

Unit for Experimental Psychiatry, Division of Sleep & Chronobiology

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Philip Gehrman, PhD

Dr. Gehrman has an active research program exploring the mechanisms and treatment of insomnia in the context of mental illness.  His work explores the link between sleep and mental health at a variety of levels including the genome, metabolome, neural circuitry and behavior. He has primarily focused on sleep disorders in Veterans with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder but is now doing work in major depression and psychosis.  He also conducts clinical trials of cognitive behavioral treatments for insomnia and nightmares.

Links of Interest

Faculty Profile

Behavioral Sleep Medicine

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Namni Goel, PhD

Throughout her interdisciplinary career, as a broadly-trained biological psychologist and behavioral neuroscientist, Dr. Goel has been investigating individual differences in how genetic, physiological, behavioral, hormonal and environmental factors relate to resilience and vulnerability in sleep-wake functions and circadian rhythm physiology, and regulate eating behavior (including night eating), energy balance, mood and cognitive performance in humans. She also has published a substantial number of papers on circadian rhythm physiology and sleep-wake functions in animal models.

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Faculty Profile

Publications

Unit for Experimental Psychiatry, Division of Sleep and Chronobiology

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Nalaka Gooneratne, MD, MSCE

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.

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Faculty Profile

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Matthew S. Kayser, MD, PhD

Dr. Kayser’s translational research focuses on neural circuit development and plasticity, and on how sleep promotes normal brain maturation and affects synapse formation.

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Faculty Profile

Unit for Experimental Psychiatry, Division of Sleep and Chronobiology

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Jinyoung Kim, PhD, RN

The ultimate goal of Dr. Kim's research is to promote cardiovascular health by providing the best care to patient's with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Since there is immense variability of symptom manifestation in OSA, Dr. Kim is developing a personalized strategy to the diagnosis and treatment of OSA. This personalized strategy includes state of the art quantification of snoring and its association with cardiovascular outcomes, such as carotid atherosclerosis and plaque rupture as well as genetic and protein biomarkers.

Research Team
  • Rebecca Kim
  • Youn-Young Hur
  • Emily Kim
Links of Interest

Faculty Profile

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Leszek Kubin, PhD, MS

Dr. Kubin's lab is interested in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep; Cardiorespiratory and metabolic consequences of sleep-disordered breathing; homeostatic regulation of sleep. Hypoventilations and apneas occur most frequently and are most severe during REM sleep. In Obstructive Sleep Apnea patients, the chronic disruption and loss of sleep further exacerbate the disorder. We use animal models to understand the interaction between sleep and breathing under normal and disrupted conditions.

Research Team
  • Anjum Parkar, PhD
  • Kate Benincasa Herr, MS
  • Caroline Boyle
Links of Interest

Kubin Lab

Publications

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Samuel T. Kuna, MD

Dr. Kuna is interested in establishing new clinical pathways to diagnose and manage patients with obstructive sleep apnea. He has a particular interest in the use of telemedicine and portable monitor testing so that patients with sleep apnea can to be diagnosed and treated without having to come to a sleep center. Dr. Kuna also conducts research on the cardiovascular responses to positive airway pressure treatment of patients with sleep apnea.

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Faculty Profile

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Diane C. Lim, MD, MTR

As a translational physician-scientist, Dr. Lim's primary research is in mice, assessing the effects of cyclical intermittent hypoxia on cancer initiation, progression and metastasis, using both a triple transgenic model as well as a syngeneic orthotopic model of breast cancer and lung cancer. She is also significantly involved in two clinical trials of OSA (NIH funded), specifically within the Biomarker Core, correlating genes and proteins to physiological outcome measures on polysomnograms. Lastly, she closely collaborates with several engineers at Drexel University to measure sleep in mice.

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Faculty Profile

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Greg Maislin M.S., M.A.

Greg Maislin focuses on biostatistics, design and analysis of biomedical research studies and clinical trials.

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Biostat

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Carole L Marcus, MBBCh

Dr. Marcus's research interests are focused on the pathophysiology and management of pediatric obstructive sleep apnea; in particular, the developmental determinants of upper airway collapsibility, and the medical and surgical management of childhood obstructive sleep apnea.

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Faculty Profile

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Jodi A. Mindell, Ph.D.

Dr. Mindell's research focus is on the assessment and behavioral treatment of sleep disorders in young children. Recent studies have focused on cross-cultural differences in pediatric and maternal sleep and their impact on daytime functioning.

Research Team
  • Ariel Williamson, PhD
  • Devann O’Connell 
  • Amanda Mascieri 
  • Nicholas Ambrulavage 
  • Kristina Lanzilotta
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Faculty Profile

ResearchGate

 

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Nirinjini Naidoo, PhD

Dr. Nirinjini Naidoo studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate and sleep and aging. Normal sleep patterns change across age and sleep dysfunction is a common feature of aging-related disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. However, the biological intersection between sleep and aging is not well understood. Our lab utilizes both rodent and Drosophila animal models in order to address the question of how these processes are modulated in the brain. Our laboratory research has two primary focuses. The first focus is on the relationship between protein homeostasis and age-related changes in sleep and wake regulation. We have established that sleep disruptions induce cellular stress in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and activate the unfolded protein response (UPR). The UPR is an adaptive and protective response and maintains protein homeostasis, but becomes impaired with aging. This suggests that the elderly, who normally experience sleep disturbances, might be especially vulnerable to the effects of inadequate sleep due to age-related impairments in the cellular UPR response. Furthermore, disturbances in protein homeostasis may represent an intracellular link between sleep loss and cellular damage. The second focus of the lab involves examining the role of the synaptic scaffolding protein Homer in sleep-wake maintenance. Our current studies are focused on how Homer signaling as well as metabotropic glutamate receptor signaling converge to affect sleep and wake across aging. Recently, we have begun to use in vivo calcium imaging combined with sleep recordings and two-photon microscopy in rodents in order to gain further insight into how intracellular processes such as calcium homeostasis are affected by sleep, wake and our signaling molecules of interest.  

Research Team
  • Sarah Ly
  • Jingxu Zhu
  • Michael Paolini
  • Soomin Cho

Links of Interest

Faculty Profile

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Allan I. Pack, MBChB, PhD

Dr. Pack's lab conducts sleep studies in Drosophila and mice and translate findings to humans. One focus is on the genetic determinants of sleep homeostasis by discovering molecular mechanisms of sleepiness and sleep promotion using both hypothesis-driven and discovery science. The second focus is understanding the consequences of cyclical intermittent hypoxia in a mouse model and the genetic and physiological determinants of sleep apnea in an international collaboration. Dr. Pack is committed to research training and directs two training grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Research Team
  • Allan I. Pack, MBChB, PhD
  • Raymond Galante, Lab Manager
  • Nirinjini Naidoo, PhD
  • Diane C. Lim, MD, MTR
  • Sophie X. Guo, PhD, Research Specialist
  • Jingxu Zu, MD, PhD, Research Specialist
  • May Chan, Research Specialist
  • Lin Zhang, Research Specialist
  • Jie Lian, Research Specialist
Links of Interest

Faculty Profile

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Michael Perlis, PhD

Dr. Perlis’s research pertains to insomnia and Behavioral Sleep Medicine. His specific research interests include: Behavior, cognitive, and physiologic factors in Acute and Chronic insomnia, Cortical arousal and conditioned CNS activation as a primary perpetuator of insomnia;  Sensory and information processing and long term memory formation as key features of Insomnia Disorder as a hybrid state between wake and sleep;  Sleep homeostasis effects on the frequency and severity of insomnia (and the patterning of insomnia over time); Insomnia as morbid risk factor for new onset and recurrent depression; The anti-depressant effects of CBT-I; The potential of conditioning and partial reinforcement with placebos (Behavioral; Pharmacotherapeutics) as a means to change how medical maintenance therapy is conducted; The relative efficacy of behavioral and pharmacologic treatments of insomnia.

Links of Interest

Faculty Profile

Behavioral Sleep Medicine

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David M. Raizen, MD, PhD

Dr. Raizen's lab studies the regulation and function of sleep using the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.

Lab Members
  • Richard McCloskey, PhD
  • Kristin Davis, PhD
  • Hilary Debardeleben, PhD
  • Mark Nessel
  • Lindsey Lopes
  • Eve Phelps
  • Jessica Schwarz
  • Teddy Wang
Links of Interest

Faculty Profile

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Barbara Riegel, PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN

Dr. Riegel's research addresses the influence of poor sleep quality on self-care in adults with chronic illness. The element of self-care that she has found previously to be most influenced is medication adherence, so that is an emphasis of her current research.

Research Team
  • Miranda Varrasse, MSN, RN
  • Glenna Brewster, PhD, RN
  • Susan Malone, PhD, RN
  • Junxin Li, PhD, RN
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Faculty Profile

Self-Care of Heart Failure Index

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Sharon L. Schutte-Rodin, MD, DABSM, CBSM

As the Clinical Outcomes Program Director of the Penn Sleep Centers, Dr. Schutte-Rodin's group has been developing e-questionnaires for clinical and research use. Goals of the e-questionnaire use are: (1) to use EMR's and technology to improve patient communications, data management, and EMR visit documentation (2) to systematically collect and use repeated outcomes measures in a patient-reported outcomes database.

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Richard Schwab, MD

Dr. Richard Schwab’s research has focused on the pathogenesis of obstructive sleep apnea utilizing novel upper airway imaging techniques. His studies help elucidate the role of the motion of key structures of the upper airway in mediating airway closure. By examining dynamic state-related changes in the upper airway and soft tissue structures surrounding the upper airway he has begun to understand the biomechanics of apneic events. He has studied patients with both magnetic resonance imaging and electronic beam computed tomography during wakefulness and sleep. Several novel findings have resulted from these studies: 1) the anatomic significance of the lateral pharyngeal walls in mediating airway caliber in normals and apneics; and 2) the characterization of the changes in upper airway caliber during the respiratory cycle and the importance of end-expiratory airway narrowing. Dr. Schwab collaborates closely with members of the Departments of Radiology and Biomechanical and Computer Engineering. They have developed state-of-the-art, computer graphics-based analysis software to help model in three dimensions the biomechanical interrelationships between the soft tissue structures and the upper airway.

Research Team
  • Richard Schwab, MD
  • Sarah Leinwand, MPH
  • Yuan Feng
  • Andrew Wiemken, MPH
  • Connor Hoge
  • Joseph Mellia
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Faculty Profile

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Amita Sehgal, PhD

Dr. Sehgal's lab is interested in the molecular basis of behavior. The major emphasis, to date, has been on the mechanisms underlying circadian rhythms of rest:activity, using Drosophila as a model system. Our accomplishments in this area include the isolation of the timeless clock gene, the finding that timeless (tim) functions in an autoregulatory loop that lies at the core of the endogenous clock, elucidating the mechanisms that synchronize the clock to light and discovering mechanisms that transmit signals from the clock and produce overt rest:activity rhythms.

Research Team
  • Lei Bai, PhD
  • Annika Barber, PhD
  • Paula Haynes, PhD
  • Katarina Moravcevic, PhD
  • Mi Shi, PhD
  • Hirofumi Toda, PhD
  • Shirley Zhang, PhD
  • Xiangzhong (Sam) Zheng, PhD
  • Greg Artiushin
  • Christine Dubowy
  • Anna King
  • Iryna Shakhmantsir
  • Dechun Chen
  • Michael Gulledge
  • Kiet Luu
  • Han Wang
  • Zhifeng Yue
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Sehgal Lab

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Sigrid Veasey, MD

Dr. Sigrid Veasey’s laboratory focuses on metabolic injury to wake-active neurons and neural injury incurred by hypoxia/reoxygenation events of obstructive sleep apnea. The lab uses a diverse array of molecular and imaging techniques to answer clinically relevant questions in Sleep Medicine: How are wake neurons injured with aging and other metabolic challenges? How does sleep apnea injure neurons? The overreaching goal is towards developing therapies to prevent neural injury.

Wake-active neurons in the brain are essential for optimal wakefulness and cognitive performance. 
Although there are many groups of these neurons, each playing unique roles in wake responses, the catecholaminergic wake neurons in the locus coeruleus and dorsal midbrain are particularly sensitive to diverse injuries, including aging and neurodegenerative processes. We have recently identified SIRT1 as a key regulator of wake-active neuron function and integritys, one that is lost with aging. A key focus for the lab now is to identify why this is lost and why wake neurons rely so heavily on this protectant. 

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