Geriatrics Education

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Penn Memory Centers

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The Institute on Aging

Ralston Center

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

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)
Department: Medicine

Contact information
Ralston Penn Center, Room 220
3615 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 215 573 2048
Fax: 215 573-8684
Lab: 215 746 3098
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.
Post-Graduate Training
Intern in Medicine, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 1993-1994.
Resident in Medicine, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 1994-1996.
Fellow, Pulmonary and Critical Care, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 1996-1998.
Program in Patient-Oriented Research, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 1997-1998.
Geriatric Clinical Epidemiology Fellowship, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 1998-2002.
Fellow, Sleep Disorders, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 1999-1999.
American Board of Internal Medicine (Pulmonary Disease certified 1999), 1999.
American Board of Sleep Medicine, 2001.
American Board of Internal Medicine (Internal Medicine certified 1996), 2006.
American Board of Internal Medicine (Sleep Medicine certified 2009), 2009.
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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

Gooneratne, N.S., Bastian, R., Winston, F. (eds.): Academic Entrepreneurship for Medical and Health Scientists. Book. Scholarly Commons/UPenn, Page: 420, Feb 2019.

Fox Elliott C, Wang Kairuo, Aquino Melissa, Grandner Michael A, Xie Dawei, Branas Charles C, Gooneratne Nalaka S: Sleep debt at the community level: impact of age, sex, race/ethnicity and health. Sleep Health 4(4): 317-324, Aug 2018.

Grant Shakira J, Kothari Shawn, Gimotty Phyllis A, Gooneratne Nalaka S, Cuker Adam: Quality of direct oral anticoagulant prescribing in elderly patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation: results from a large urban health system. Journal of Thrombosis and Thrombolysis 46(1): 1-6, Jul 2018.

Pak Victoria M, Dai Feng, Keenan Brendan T, Gooneratne Nalaka S, Pack Allan I: Lower plasma choline levels are associated with sleepiness symptoms. Sleep Medicine 44: 89-96, Apr 2018.

Li Junxin, Vitiello Michael V, Gooneratne Nalaka S: Sleep in normal aging. Sleep Medicine Clinics 13(1): 1-11, Mar 2018.

Li Junxin, Chang Yu-Ping, Riegel Barbara, Keenan Brendan T, Varrasse Miranda, Pack Allan I, Gooneratne Nalaka S: Intermediate, but not extended, afternoon naps may preserve cognition in Chinese older adults. The Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 73(3): 360-366, Mar 2018.

Gehrman P., Gooneratne N.S., Brewster G.S., Richards K.C., Karlawish J.: Impact of Alzheimer disease patients' sleep disturbances on their caregivers. Geriatric Nursing 39(1): 60-65, Jan-Feb 2018 Notes: pii: S0197-4572(17)30156-8. doi: 10.1016/j.gerinurse.2017.06.003. [Epub ahead of print]

Pak, V.M., Onen, S-H., Gooneratne, N.S., Falissard, B., Onen, F.: Observation and interview-based diurnal sleepiness inventory for measurement of sleepiness in older adults. Nature and Science of Sleep. Dove Press, Page: 241-247, Sep 2017.

Rosen, I., Gooneratne, N.S., Pien, G.: Pulmonary Sleep Clinical Case Studies. Review of Sleep Medicine (4th ed.). Avidan, A. and Barkoukis, T. (eds.). Elsevier Saunders, Inc, Page: 350-375, August 2017.

Li, J., Cacchione, P.Z., Hodgson, N., Riegel, B., Keenan, B.T., Scharf, M.T., Richards, K.C., Gooneratne, N.S.: Afternoon napping and cognition in Chinese older adults: findings from the China health and retirement longitudinal study baseline assessment Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 65(2): 373-380, Feb 2017.

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Last updated: 10/03/2018
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