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.

Dr. Goel’s research investigates how genetic, physiological, behavioral and environmental factors affect circadian rhythm physiology and sleep-wake functions and regulate mood and cognition.  Dr. Goel has spear-headed studies of candidate genes for sleep homeostasis and human neurobehavioral vulnerability to sleep deprivation and also collaborates with Dr. Dinges on physiological and neurobehavioral experimental studies of sleep deprivation in healthy adults. Additionally, Dr. Goel collaborates on work investigating the circadian basis of Night Eating Syndrome and on ongoing research on the effects of blue spectrum light on alertness and cognitive performance in healthy humans.

Dr. Goel has obtained prior funding from NIA and NIMH, and was recently a Co-Principal Investigator of a phenotype-genotype grant from Penn’s Genomic Frontiers Institute (PGFI) awarded through Penn’s Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (ITMAT).  She is currently the Principal Investigator of a 5-year Department of Defense grant investigating candidate genes for sleep homeostasis and human neurobehavioral vulnerability to sleep deprivation.

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. She is also a member of the Sleep Research Society, the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms, and the Society for Neuroscience. Dr. Goel is an ad hoc member of NIH Study Sections F02B and MESH, and has reviewed grants for many other national and international agencies including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Wellcome Trust, and the Royal Society . Dr. Goel is on the Board of Directors of the Center for Environmental Therapeutics, is Co-Chair of the Neurobehavioral and Psychosocial Factors Workgroup for the NASA Decadal Review of the Role of Sex/Gender in Adaptation to Spaceflight, and serves on one of the National Sleep Foundation's expert review panels. Dr. Goel is also an Academic Editor for 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 4 other journals (Chronobiology International, Journal of Circadian Rhythms, Journal of Neurology Research, and Journal of Sleep Disorders: Treatment and Care).

Research Interests

Sleep, circadian rhythms, and depression: biological, environmental treatments. Nonphotic and photic stimuli's effects on mammalian sleep, circadian rhythms and mood. Individual (gender, diagnostic, personality, etc) differences in sleep, circadian rhythms and mood including differential vulnerability to sleep deprivation.  Behavioral and genetic biomarkers for sleep loss.

Selected Bibliography

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

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

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.