2018 Award Recipients 2018-12-10T17:37:56+00:00

2018 Award Recipients

2018 Physician Scientist Training Award Recipient

Eric Landsness, MD, PhD
Eric Landsness, MD, PhDWashington University
Focal slow wave sleep in brain repair and recovery after stroke

Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the US. The purpose of this research is to better understand the role of slow wave sleep (SWS) in post-stroke recovery by using chemogenetics to locally manipulate SWS and track recovery. This has the potential to clarify the basic mechanisms of how SWS regulates neuronal repair and recovery after stroke with the ultimate goal of identifying novel, sleep-based stroke rehabilitation therapies.

2018 Bridge to Success Award Recipients

Thomas Scammell, MD
Thomas Scammell, MDBeth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Mechanisms of Cataplexy

Many people with narcolepsy have episodes of cataplexy, sudden weakness triggered by positive emotions. The amygdala mediates behavioral responses to emotions, and these experiments will determine if cataplexy is triggered by a specific class of neurons in the central nucleus of the amygdala that activate brainstem pathways that regulate the paralysis of REM sleep. By improving our understanding of cataplexy, this research should bring us closer to better treatments for narcolepsy.

Jag Sunderram, MD
Jag Sunderram, MDRutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Exploring mechanisms of OSA in World Trade Center responders

A very high prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has been found in the WTC responder population with an increased risk for OSA in subjects with chronic rhinosinusitis. The present project will examine the impact of upper airway sensory impairment from chronic rhinosinusitis on the development of OSA. In addition, other potential mechanisms for development of OSA will also be examined. The results of this study will help target therapeutic interventions in the future.

Mary Beth Miller, PhD
Mary Beth Miller, PhDUniversity of Missouri
Treating Insomnia Among Heavy-Drinking Veterans

More than half of returning Veterans who screen positive for hazardous drinking report clinically significant symptoms of insomnia. In turn, insomnia symptoms have been associated with increased risk of alcohol-related problems, perhaps due to insomnia-related impairments in executive functioning, negative emotionality, and craving. The proposed project examines improvements in insomnia as a mechanism for improvement in alcohol use among heavy-drinking Veterans with insomnia via randomized controlled trial. This will inform prevention and intervention efforts.

2018 Focused Projects Award Recipient – Educational

Yu Sun Bin, MD
Yu Sun Bin, MDUniversity of Sydney
An interdisciplinary sleep and circadian online course for first-year undergraduates

Sleep and circadian science are examples of successful interdisciplinary research and collaboration. Sleep and circadian science are rarely found in undergraduate curricula. This project will develop an online course to introduce sleep and circadian basics to first-year undergraduate students from all disciplinary backgrounds. Students will gain an appreciation of the role of sleep and circadian rhythms in daily life and a recognition of the need for interdisciplinary understanding and multidisciplinary teamwork in today’s complex world.

2018 Focused Projects Award Recipients – Junior Investigator

Nicole Bowles, PhD
Nicole Bowles, PhDOregon Health & Science University
Effect of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on sleep in humans

Cannabis use is on the rise in the United States with many users asserting improvements in sleep. Yet, clinical evidence that cannabis alters sleep-wake cycles remains unclear. The central hypothesis of the proposed research is that sleep is differentially affected by an acute oral dose of THC in frequent vs. non-cannabis users. This will be assessed by measuring polysomnographically scored sleep before and after exposure to a standard THC dose.

Megan Petrov, PhD
Megan Petrov, PhDArizona State University
Markers of early atherosclerotic progression in insomnia

Evidence suggests that insomnia may generate atherosclerotic development, though few studies have identified early markers of subclinical cardiovascular disease in diagnosed insomnia compared to rigorously-defined good-sleeping controls. We hypothesize in the proposed research that patients with insomnia will have greater endothelial dysfunction, arterial stiffness, and evidence of cardiac structural aberrations than will good sleeping controls. In this study, community-based young adults with diary and actigraphy-assessed insomnia compared to good-sleeping controls will undergo cardiovascular sonography assessment.

2018 Strategic Research Award Recipients

Jennifer S. Albrecht, PhD
Jennifer S. Albrecht, PhDUniversity of Maryland School of Medicine
Impact of High PAP Adherence on Cardiovascular Outcomes Among Medicare Beneficiaries with Obstructive Sleep Apnea, 2006-2015

Treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may prevent cardiovascular (CV) events, but benefits of positive airway pressure (PAP) are related to adherence. To evaluate the impact of high PAP adherence on risk of CV events and healthcare utilization (HCU) in OSA patients, we will conduct a retrospective cohort study using a 5% sample of Medicare claims 2007-2015. We hypothesize that high PAP adherence is associated with reduced risk of CV events and reduced HCU.

Ruth Benca, MD, PhD
Ruth Benca, MD, PhDUniversity of California, Irvine
PAP Adherence and Longitudinal Accumulation of Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology in Cognitively Normal Older Adults with Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) increases Alzheimer’s disease (AD) risk, but the effects of PAP therapy on AD biomarkers prior to cognitive decline are unknown. We found that OSA disrupts slow wave sleep activity in brain regions associated with greater amyloid burden. In this study we will examine the impact of PAP therapy on amyloid and tau accumulation, cognitive decline, and local sleep disturbance in older adults with OSA and at increased risk for AD.

Indira Guruhagavatula, MD
Indira Guruhagavatula, MDUniversity of Pennsylvania
Adherence to Positivie Airway Pressure in Law Enforcement Officers with Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Role of Telemedicine Strategies

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is common and underdiagnosed in law enforcement officers (LEOs). Adherence to first-line therapy, positive airway pressure, is low. This is a randomized pilot study that compares usual care against a novel pathway that uses telemedicine and care management to promote adherence to PAP. We anticipate that, at the end of two years, our novel program will result in improved sleepiness and workplace outcomes and lower healthcare costs, compared against usual care.

Kiran Maski, MD MPH
Kiran Maski, MD MPHBoston Children’s Hospital
Development of Validation of Pediatric Narcolepsy Patient Reported Outcomes Scale (PN-PROS)

The purpose of this study is to develop and validate pediatric narcolepsy patient reported outcome measures (PN-PROs) for patients 8-17 years of age. Currently, there are no validated outcome measures that encompass the broad range of pediatric narcolepsy symptoms and their impact on safety and academic and social functioning. The PN-PROS will fill this gap by providing outcome measurements needed for pediatric narcolepsy clinical management, clinical trials and other research studies.

Diego Mazzotti, PhD
Diego Mazzotti, PhDUniversity of Pennsylvania
Leveraging Polysomnographic Physiological Signals for Improved Cardiovascular Risk Stratification in Obstructive Sleep Apnea

There is a critical need for an automated solution that translates polysomnographic physiological data to inform accurate and personalized cardiovascular risk prediction in patients with obstructive sleep apnea. This proposal will develop a platform that automates signal-processing steps and implements cardiovascular risk prediction models derived from the analysis of the Sleep Heart Health Study data. We hypothesize that this tool will improve cardiovascular risk prediction when compared to demographic, clinical or conventional polysomnographic factors alone.

Lynn Marie Trotti, MD, MSc
Lynn Marie Trotti, MD, MScEmory University School of Medicine
Informing Treatment Decisions in the Central Disorders of Hypersomnolence: A Pragmatic Clinical Trial of Modafinil Versus Amphetamines

Treatment of patients with central disorders of hypersomnolence is hampered by limited data from: 1) comparative efficacy studies between different medications; 2) controlled trials for some medications; and 3) controlled trials for some diagnoses (e.g., idiopathic hypersomnia). We seek to inform clinical decision-making by completing a controlled trial, directly comparing the effects of modafinil and amphetamine-dextroamphetamine (i.e., amphetamine salts) on patient-oriented outcomes, in the treatment of patients with the narcolepsy type 2 and idiopathic hypersomnia.