Nalaka S. Gooneratne, M.D., M.Sc.

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
Fellow, Institute on Aging (University of Pennsylvania)
Member, Center for Sleep and Respiratory Neurobiology (University of Pennsylvania)
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)
Director, Innovative Insomnia Therapeutics Clini (Division of Sleep Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania)
Department: Medicine

Contact information
Ralston Penn Center, Room 220
3615 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 215 662-7772 clinical
Fax: 215-573-8684 no clinical inf
Lab: 215-746-3098 no clinical calls
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.
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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), he is pursuing research examining the role of melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland, in sleep in the elderly and the effects of sleep apnea treatment on cognitive function in older adults. 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 Director of the Masters in Translational Research Program, with a focus on Entrepreneurial Science education at the University of Pennsylvania's ITMATEd program. He is the director of the mHealth mobile app development service at ITMAT (CTSA/Penn). 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 Clinical Expertise

Dr. Gooneratne's clinical focus is in the area of sleep disorders in older adults. He has been invited to lecture on this topic at national conferences, such as those hosted by the American Association of Sleep Medicine, the American Thoracic Society as well as the National Institutes of Health State-of-the-Science conference on Chronic Insomnia. Dr. Gooneratne runs a Sleep Disorders Clinic for Seniors which is tailored to the unique needs of older adults as they seek to address their sleep disturbances.

Description of Other Expertise

Dr. Gooneratne has an interest in education and implementation of academic entrepreneurship in the life sciences. He currently teaches two classes in this area, and is the Director of the Entrepreneurship concentration in the Masters in Translational Research (MTR) Program.

Selected Publications

McPhillips MV, Li J, Petrovsky DV, Brewster GS, Ward EJ 3rd, Hodgson N, Gooneratne NS: Assisted Relaxation Therapy for Insomnia in Older Adults With Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Pilot Study. Int J Aging Hum Dev Page: Epub ahead of print, Oct 2022.

Richards KC, Radhakrishnan K, Britt KC, Vanags-Louredo A, Park E, Gooneratne NS, Fry L: "Please Don't Forget Us": A Descriptive Qualitative Study of Caregivers of Older Adults With Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Res Gerontol Nurs 15(5): 217-228, Sep-Oct 2022.

Chang JL, Goldberg AN, Alt JA, Ashbrook L, Auckley D, Ayappa I, Bakhtiar H, Barrera JE, Bartley BL, Billings ME, Boon MS, Bosschieter P, Braverman I, Brodie K, Cabrera-Muffly C, Caesar R, Cahali MB, Cai Y, Cao M, Capasso R, Caples SM, Chahine LM, Chang CP, Chang KW, Chaudhary N, Cheong CSJ, Chowdhuri S, Cistulli PA, Claman D, Collen J, Coughlin K, Creamer J, Davis EM, Dupuy-McCauley KL, Durr ML, Dutt M, Ali ME, Elkassabany NM, Epstein LJ, Fiala JA, Freedman N, Gill K, Gillespie MB, Golisch L, Gooneratne N, Gottlieb DJ, Green KK, Gulati A, Gurubhagavatula I, Hayward N, Hoff PT, Hoffmann OMG, Holfinger SJ, Hsia J, Huntley C, Huoh KC, Huyett P, Inala S, Ishman S, Jella TK, Jobanputra AM, Johnson AP, Junna MR, Kado JT, Kaffenberger TM, Kapur VK, Kezirian EJ, Khan M, Kirsch DB, Kominsky A, Kryger M, Krystal AD, Kushida CA, Kuzniar TJ, Lam DJ, Lettieri CJ, Lim DC, Lin HC, Liu SYC, MacKay SG, Magalang UJ, Malhotra A, Maurer JT, May AM, Mitchell RB, Mokhlesi B, Mullins AE, Nada EM, Naik S, Nokes B, Olson MD, Pack AI, Pang EB, Pang KP, Patil SP, de Perck EV, Piccirillo JF, Pien GW, Piper AJ, Plawecki A, Quigg M, Ravesloot MJL, Redline S, Rotenberg BW, Ryden A, Sarmiento KF, Sbeih F, Schell AE, Schmickl CN, Schotland HM, Schwab RJ, Seo J, Shah N, Shelgikar AV, Shochat I, Soose RJ, Steele TO, Stephens E, Stepnowsky C, Strohl KP, Sutherland K, Suurna MV, Thaler E, Thapa S, Vanderveken OM, de Vries N, Weaver EM, Weir ID, Wolfe LF, Woodson BT, Won CHJ, Xu J, Yalamanchi P, Yaremchuk K, Yeghiazarians Y, Yu JL, Zeidler M, Rosen IM: International consensus statement on obstructive sleep apnea. Int Forum Allergy Rhinol Sept 2022.

Britt KC, Richards KC, Radhakrishnan K, Vanags-Louredo A, Park E, Gooneratne NS, Fry L: Religion, Spirituality, and Coping During the Pandemic: Perspectives of Dementia Caregivers. Clin Nurs Res Jul 2022.

Elkhatib Smidt SD, Gooneratne N, Brodkin ES, Bucan M, Mitchell JA: Sufficient sleep duration in autistic children and the role of physical activity. Autism 26(4): 814-826, May 2022.

Izci-Balserak B, Zhu B, Wang H, Bronas UG, Gooneratne NS: Independent associations between sleep duration, gamma gap, and cognitive function among older adults: Results from the NHANES 2013-2014. Geriatr Nurs 44: 1-7, Apr 2022.

Li J, Szanton SL, McPhillips MV, Lukkahatai N, Pien GW, Chen K, Hladek MD, Hodgson N, Gooneratne NS.: An mHealth-Facilitated Personalized Intervention for Physical Activity and Sleep in Community-Dwelling Older Adults. J Aging Phys Act Apr 2022.

Perlis ML, Morales KH, Vargas I, Muench A, Seewald M, Gooneratne N, Grandner MA, Thase ME, Kaptchuk TJ, Ader R.: Durability of treatment response to zolpidem using a partial reinforcement regimen: does this strategy require priming? Sleep Med 87: 56-61, November 2021.

Perlis ML, Morales KH, Vargas I, Posner DA, Grandner MA, Muench AL, Seewald MW, Gooneratne NS, Kloss JD, Gencarelli AM, Khader WS, Thase ME, Ellis JG.: The natural history of insomnia: Does sleep extension differentiate between those that do and do not develop chronic insomnia? J Sleep Res 30(5), October 2021.

Hodgson NA, Gooneratne N, Perez A, Talwar S, Huang L.: A timed activity protocol to address sleep-wake disorders in home dwelling persons living with dementia: the healthy patterns clinical trial. BMC Geriatr 21: 451, Aug 2021.

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Last updated: 11/21/2022
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