Matthew Kayser, MD, PhD

faculty photo
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Attending in Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Physician-of-Record, Unit for Experimental Psychiatry, Division of Sleep and Chronobiology, Department of Psychiatry
Member, Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology
Member, Program in Chronobiology
Assistant Program Director, Psychiatry Residency, Department of Psychiatry
Director for Neuroscience and Research Training, Department of Psychiatry
Department: Psychiatry
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
415 Curie Blvd
CRB 322A
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 2158988268
ScB (Neuroscience)
Brown University, 2000.
MD, PhD (Neuroscience)
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 2009.
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Description of Clinical Expertise

Dr. Kayser is a practicing psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, specializing in issues related to sleep and mental health.

Description of Research Expertise

Key words:
sleep, synapse, development, drosophila, psychiatry, behavior

Research interests:
We study how neural circuits give rise to complex behaviors, and how dysfunction of neural processes can cause mental illness. Our particular focus is in understanding how sleep -- a highly conserved behavior whose core function remains a mystery -- contributes to sculpting brain circuits during development and in other times of life.

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Research techniques:
drosophila genetics, behavioral assays, molecular biology, imaging approaches

Research summary:
Sleep abnormalities are pervasive across nearly all psychiatric disorders, and disrupted sleep early in life has been linked to mental illness in adulthood. Work in the Kayser Lab stands to connect this fundamental behavior – sleep – to both pathogenesis and treatment of neuropsychiatric disease. We primarily utilize the powerful genetic system Drosophila melanogaster (the fruit fly). The fly provides unparalleled neurogenetic approaches towards unraveling the neural logic of complex behaviors. In addition, genetic and molecular insights from Drosophila have repeatedly translated to higher organisms, even humans. The Kayser Lab is a "question-driven" lab. We use or develop any approaches necessary to further our understanding of biological processes that, when awry, contribute to neuropsychiatric disease.

Projects include

1. How does sleep early in life affect brain development and, ultimately, normal adult function?

2. What role does sleep play in promoting the formation of new synaptic connections in the brain?

2. How do disruptions to sleep impact aggressive behaviors?

Selected Publications

Churgin MA, Szuperak M, Davis KC, Raizen DM, Fang-Yen C, Kayser MS: Quantitative Imaging of Sleep Behavior in Caenorhabditis elegans and larval Drosophila melanogaster. Nature Protocols 14(5): 1455-1488, May 2019.

Belfer SJ, Bashaw AG, Perlis ML, Kayser MS: A Drosophila model of sleep restriction therapy for insomnia. Mol Psychiatry March 2019.

Brown EB, Slocumb ME, Szuperak M, Kerbs A, Gibbs AG, Kayser MS, Keene AC: Starvation resistance is associated with developmentally specified changes in sleep, feeding and metabolic rate. J Exp Biol 191049, Jan 2019.

Dilley LC, Vigderman A, Williams CE, Kayser MS: Behavioral and genetic features of sleep ontogeny in Drosophila. SLEEP 41(7), July 2018.

Szuperak M, Churgin MA, Borja AJ, Raizen DM, Fang-Yen C, Kayser MS: A sleep state in Drosophila larvae required for neural stem cell proliferation. eLife e33220(7), February 2018.

Machado DR, Afonso DJ, Kenny AR, Öztu Rk-Çolak A, Moscato EH, Mainwaring B, Kayser MS, Koh K. : Identification of octopaminergic neurons that modulate sleep suppression by male sex drive. eLife e23130, May 2017.

Garbe DS, Vigderman AS, Moscato E2, Dove AE, Vecsey CG, Kayser MS, Sehgal A: Changes in Female Drosophila Sleep following Mating Are Mediated by SPSN-SAG Neurons. J Biol Rhythms 31(6): 551-567, September 2016.

Weljie Aalim M, Meerlo Peter, Goel Namni, Sengupta Arjun, Kayser Matthew S, Abel Ted, Birnbaum Morris J, Dinges David F, Sehgal Amita: Oxalic acid and diacylglycerol 36:3 are cross-species markers of sleep debt. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 112(8): 2569-74, Feb 2015.

Kayser Matthew S, Mainwaring Benjamin, Yue Zhifeng, Sehgal Amita: Sleep deprivation suppresses aggression in Drosophila. eLife 4: e07643, 2015.

Kayser Matthew S, Yue Zhifeng, Sehgal Amita: A critical period of sleep for development of courtship circuitry and behavior in Drosophila. Science (Research Article) 344(6181): 269-74, Apr 2014 Notes: **covered by a Dispatch in Current Biology by A. Keene, PhD, and in Nature Reviews Neurosciences.

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Last updated: 10/28/2019
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