Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

Unit for Experimental Psychiatry Division of Sleep and Chronobiology

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Namni Goel, PhD Namni Goel, Ph.D.
Research Associate Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry
Division of Sleep and Chronobiology
Department of Psychiatry
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Namni Goel, Ph.D., is a Research Associate Professor in Psychiatry in the School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Goel received her B.A. in Psychology and Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley and her Ph.D. in Biological Psychology from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). As a graduate student, she researched the behavioral and neuroanatomical substrates underlying circadian rhythms in an animal model. As a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia and Cornell Universities, Dr. Goel made the transition to human work, conducting studies on basic human physiological sleep and on seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a mood disorder which may result from circadian rhythm pathophysiology.

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.

Dr. Goel’s research is currently funded by various federal agencies. As Principal Investigator, she has a major 5-year grant from the Department of Defense (Office of Naval Research), investigating candidate genes for sleep homeostasis and human neurobehavioral vulnerability to sleep deprivation.  Dr. Goel is also Principal Investigator of a major 4-year grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, determining the predictive validity of a set of biomarkers for distinguishing those who are more resilient versus those who are more susceptible to the adverse cognitive effects of the combination of high performance demands (including social stressors) and total sleep deprivation stressors in analog environments.  She is also Institutional Principal Investigator on a grant from the National Institutes of Mental Health and a key Co-Investigator on a number of other grants from various federal agencies, including the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

In recognition of her contributions to the field, Dr. Goel was elected and served from 2008-2010 as President of the Society for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms (SLTBR), a major international scientific organization whose membership conducts research at the interface of circadian rhythms and light and other nonpharmacological treatments for mood disorders. Since 2013, Dr. Goel has sat on the Board of Directors of the Center for Environmental Therapeutics, the leading group of international experts in chronobiological (circadian-based) treatments for mood disorders.  In 2014, Dr. Goel was first author on a peer-reviewed publication on gender differences in behavioral health in space--this publication, along with others, led to the receipt of the prestigious NASA Johnson Space Center Group Achievement Award.

Dr. Goel is Vice-Chair of the Educational Programs Committee of the Sleep Research Society. In addition, she is an Academic Editor of PLoS ONE, an Associate Editor for SLEEP and a Review Editor for Frontiers in Behavioral and Psychiatric Genetics. She also serves on the Editorial Boards of four other journals (Chronobiology International, Journal of Circadian Rhythms, Journal of Neurology Research, and Journal of Sleep Disorders: Treatment and Care), and routinely reviews for a large number of scientific journals. She has been a grant reviewer for various NIH, NASA and DOD study sections and for many international granting organizations, including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Wellcome Trust, the Royal Society and the Medical Research Council, among others.

Research Interests

Individual and group (gender, race, etc) differences in sleep, circadian rhythms and mood. Differential vulnerability to sleep deprivation including cognitive performance.  Behavioral and biological (genetic, “omics”, etc) markers for sleep loss.  Energy balance, timing of eating, and night eating syndrome.

Selected Bibliography

Spaeth, A.M., Dinges, D.F., Goel, N.: Resting metabolic rate varies by race and by sleep duration. Obesity (in press).

Basner, M., McGuire, S., Goel, N., Rao, H., Dinges, D.F.: A new likelihood ratio metric for the Psychomotor Vigilance Test and its sensitivity to sleep loss. Journal of Sleep Research 2015 doi: 10.1111/jsr.12322.

Goel, N.: "Omics" approaches for sleep and circadian rhythm research: Biomarkers for identifying differential vulnerability to sleep loss. Current Sleep Medicine Reports 1: 38-46, 2015.

Spaeth, A.M., Dinges, D.F., Goel, N.: Phenotypic vulnerability of energy balance responses to sleep loss in healthy adults. Scientific Reports 5: 14920, 2015.

Goel, N.: Parsing race by genetic ancestry. SLEEP 38: 1151-1152, 2015.

Goel, N., Basner, M., Dinges, D.F.: Phenotyping of neurobehavioral vulnerability to circadian phase during sleep loss. Methods in Enzymology 552: 285-308, 2015.

Weljie, A.M.,* Meerlo, P.,* Goel, N., Sengupta, A., Kayser, M.S., Abel, T., Birnbaum, M.J., Dinges, D.F., Sehgal, A.: Oxalic acid and diacylglycerol 36:3 are cross-species markers of sleep loss. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 112: 2569-2574, 2015 *co-first authors.

Fang, Z.,* Spaeth, A.M.,* Ma, N., Zhu, S., Hu, S., Goel, N., Detre, J.A., Dinges, D.F., Rao, H.: Altered salience network connectivity predicts macronutrient intake after sleep deprivation. Scientific Reports 5: 8215, 2015 *co-first authors.

Abe, T., Goel, N., Basner, M., Mollicone, D., Rao, H., Dinges, D.F.: Integration of sleep need and fatigue mitigation into human systems operation. APA Handbook of Human Systems Integration. Boehm-Davis DA, Durso FT, Lee JD (eds.). Page: 177-191, 2015.

Goel, N.,* Abe, T.,* Braun, M.E., Dinges, D.F.: Cognitive workload and sleep restriction interact to influence sleep homeostatic responses.  SLEEP 37: 1745-1756, 2014 *co-first authors.

Pellegrino, R.,* Kavakli, I.H.,* Goel, N., Cardinale, C.J., Dinges, D.F., Kuna, S.T., Maislin, G., Van Dongen, H.P.A., Tufik, S., Hogenesch, J.B., Hakonarson, H., Pack, A.I.: A novel BHLHE41 variant is associated with short sleep and resistance to sleep deprivation in humans. SLEEP 37: 1327-1336, 2014 *co-first authors.

Spaeth, A.M., Dinges, D.F., Goel, N.: Sex and race differences in caloric intake during sleep restriction in healthy adults. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 100: 559-566, 2014.

Allison, K.C., Goel, N., Ahima, R.S.: Delayed timing of eating: Impact on weight and metabolism. Current Obesity Reports 3: 91-100, 2014.

Goel, N., Bale, T.L., Epperson, C.N., Kornstein, S.G., Leon, G.R., Palinkas, L.A., Stuster, J.W., Dinges, D.F.: Effects of sex and gender on adaptation to space: Behavioral health. Journal of Women's Health 23: 975-986, 2014.

Spaeth, A.M., Goel, N., Dinges, D.F.: Cumulative neurobehavioral and physiological effects of chronic caffeine intake: individual differences and implications for the use of caffeinated energy products. Nutrition Reviews 72: 34-47, 2014.

Basner, M., Rao, H., Goel, N., Dinges, D.F.: Sleep deprivation and neurobehavioral dynamics. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 23: 854-863, 2013.

Goel, N., Basner, M., Rao, H., Dinges, D.F.: Circadian rhythms, sleep deprivation and human performance. Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science 119: 155-190, 2013.

Spaeth, A.M., Dinges, D.F., Goel, N.: Effects of sleep restriction on weight gain, caloric intake and meal timing in healthy adults. SLEEP 36: 981-990, 2013.

Basner, M., Dinges, D.F., Mollicone, D., Ecker, A., Jones, C.W., Hyder, E.C., Di Antonio, A., Savelev, I., Kan, K., Goel, N., Morukov, B.V., Sutton, J.P.: Mars 520-d mission simulation reveals protracted crew hypokinesis and alterations of sleep duration and timing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 110(7): 2635-2640, 2013.

Goel, N.: Genetics of sleep timing, duration and homeostasis in humans. (selected to be reprinted from 2011 invited review in a special issue). Sleep Medicine Clinics, Biology of Sleep 7: 443-454, 2012.

Goel, N.: Searching for genetic clues at the interface of sleep and mood. SLEEP 35: 739-740, 2012.

Goel, N., Dinges, D.F.: Predicting risk in space:  Genetic markers for differential vulnerability to sleep restriction. Acta Astronautica 77: 207-213, 2012.

Spaeth, A.M., Goel, N., Dinges, D.F.: Managing neurobehavioral capability when social expediency trumps biological imperatives.  Progress in Brain Research 199: 377-398, 2012.

Goel, N., Banks, S., Lin, L., Mignot, E., Dinges, D.F.: Catechol-O-Methyltransferase Val158Met polymorphism associates with individual differences in sleep physiologic responses to chronic sleep loss.  PLoS ONE 6(12): e29283, 2011.

Goel, N., Dinges, D.F.: Behavioral and genetic markers of sleepiness. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine 7(5): S19-S21, 2011.

Mullington, J.M., Czeisler, C.A., Goel, N., Krueger, J.M., Balkin, T.J., Johns, M., Shaw, P.J.: Panel discussion: current status of measuring sleepiness. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine 7(5): S22-S25, 2011.

Goel, N.: Genetics of sleep timing, duration and homeostasis in humans. (invited review). Sleep Medicine Clinics 6: 171-182, 2011.

Goel, N., Dinges, D.F.: Sleep deprivation: biomarkers for identifying and predicting individual differences in response to sleep loss. Sleepiness: Causes, Consequences and Treatment. Thorpy MJ, Billiard M (eds.). Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK, Page: 101-110, 2011.

Goel, N., Van Dongen, H.P.A., Dinges, D.F.: Circadian rhythms in sleepiness, alertness, and performance. Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine (5th edition). Kryger MH, Roth T, Dement WC (eds.). Elsevier: Philadelphia, PA, Page: 445-455, 2011.

Goel, N., Banks, S., Mignot, E., Dinges, D.F.: DQB1*0602 predicts interindividual differences in physiologic sleep, sleepiness and fatigue. (Subject of Editorial in Neurology). Neurology 75: 1509-1519, 2010.

Dinges, D.F., Goel, N.: Identification and prediction of substantial differential vulnerability to the neurobehavioral effects of sleep loss. Neurocognitive and Physiological Factors During High-Tempo Operations. Kornguth S, Steinberg RM, Matthews MD (eds.). Ashgate Publishing, Ltd: Aldershot, UK, Page: 93-103, 2010.

Goel, N., Banks, S., Mignot, E., Dinges, D.F.: PER3 polymorphism predicts cumulative sleep homeostatic but not neurobehavioral changes to chronic sleep restriction. PLoS ONE 4(6): e5874, 2009.

Goel, N., Stunkard, A.J., Rogers, N.L., Van Dongen, H., Allison, K.C., O’Reardon, J.P., Ahima, R.S., Cummings, D.E., Heo, M., Dinges, D.F. : Circadian rhythm profiles in women with night eating syndrome. Journal of Biological Rhythms 24: 85-94, 2009.

Goel, N., Rao, H., Durmer, J.S., Dinges, D.F.: Neurocognitive consequences of sleep deprivation. Seminars in Neurology 29(4): 320-339, 2009.

Goel, N., Dinges, D.F.: Genetic resistance to sleep deprivation. Frontiers in Neuroscience 3(3): 432, 2009.

Allison, K.C., O’Reardon, J.P., Ahima, R.S., Dinges, D.F., Goel, N., Stunkard, A.J.: Neuroendocrine levels, circadian profiles, and sleep in night eating syndrome: Integration of findings. Sociedad Iberoamericana de Información Científica (SIIC),  2008.

Goel, N., Lao, R.P.: Sleep changes vary by odor perception in young adults. Biological Psychology 71: 341-346, 2006.

Goel, N.: An arousing musically-enhanced bird song stimulus mediates circadian rhythm phase advances in dim light. American Journal of Physiology- Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 291: R822-R827, 2006.

Goel, N., Etwaroo, G.R.: Bright light, negative air ions and auditory stimuli produce rapid mood changes in a student population: A placebo-controlled study. Psychological Medicine 36: 1253-1264, 2006.

Goel, N.: Late-night presentation of an auditory stimulus phase delays human circadian rhythms.  American Journal of Physiology- Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 289: R209-R216, 2005.

Goel, N., Kim, H., Lao, R.P.: An olfactory stimulus modifies nighttime sleep in young men and women. Chronobiology International 22: 889-904, 2005.

Goel, N., Kim, H., Lao, R.P.: Gender differences in polysomnographic sleep in young healthy sleepers. Chronobiology International  22: 905-915, 2005.

Goel, N., Terman, M., Terman J.S., Macchi, M.M., Stewart, J.W.: Controlled trial of bright light and negative air ions for chronic depression. Psychological Medicine 35: 945-955, 2005.