Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

Unit for Experimental Psychiatry Division of Sleep and Chronobiology

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Current Projects: Office of Naval Research

Office of Naval Research 
Phenotypic and Genotypic Markers of Performance Vulnerability to Sleep Loss

Principal Investigator: Namni Goel, Ph.D.

In this project we will use phenotypic and genotypic techniques to identify predictors of those individuals most vulnerable to the performance effects of both acute total sleep deprivation (TSD) and chronic partial sleep deprivation (PSD). Evidence from our laboratory as well as from other groups has indicated large and highly replicable (trait-like) individual differences in the magnitude of fatigue, sleepiness, sleep homeostatic and cognitive performance vulnerability to acute TSD. Approximately a third of healthy adults are highly vulnerable to the neurobehavioral effects of sleep deprivation, another third are vulnerable, and the remaining third are much less vulnerable. The reasons for these stable (phenotypic) differential vulnerabilities are unknown. This project has two specific aims: (1) Establish the extent to which neurobehavioral vulnerability to acute TSD overlaps with neurobehavioral vulnerability to chronic PSD (i.e., are there 1 or 2 phenotypes for performance vulnerability to sleep loss?); (2) identify predictors and correlates of individual vulnerability to the performance effects of acute TSD and of individual vulnerability to chronic PSD, including 5 specific candidate genes involved in sleep-wake, circadian and cognitive regulation, as well as the importance of habitual sleep duration, chronotype (morningness-eveningness), baseline performance ability, IQ, personality traits, and body mass index (BMI).