Funded Projects

The AASM Foundation funds high-impact projects that are aimed at improving sleep health for all. Over the past 20 years, the AASM Foundation has invested more than $13.5 million in funding career development, high-impact research, clinical training and community initiatives. These cross-cutting sleep research projects range from molecular mechanisms of sleep to population sleep health.

Congratulations to the recipients of our 2020 award cycle.

2020 Strategic Research Award Recipients

David Plante, MD, PhD
David Plante, MD, PhDUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison

The Role of Epigenetic Modification of Pax8 in Hypersomnia

Excessive sleep duration is a debilitating aspect of idiopathic hypersomnia (IH), the pathophysiology of which is unknown. This project will determine whether epigenetic modification of PAX8 differs between patients with IH and healthy persons and whether epigenetic modification of PAX8 is a state or trait marker for hypersomnia. The results of this innovative project will advance the diagnosis and treatment of patients with hypersomnia, with high relevance and impact to the field of sleep medicine.

Scott Sands, PhD
Scott Sands, PhDBrigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School
Mechanism-based Precision Medicine for Oral Appliance Therapy: A Prospective Observational Study

Oral appliances are highly effective for many patients with sleep apnea, but efficacy is unpredictable and dependent on several endotypic traits (“loop gain”, “collapsibility”, “arousal threshold”, “palate prolapse”). Here we will test leading endotype models for predicting responses from home sleep studies with EEG, and will prospecticely-test a refined model. The study would, for the first time, demonstrate utility for mechanistic phenotyping in clinical practice and enable precision mechanism-driven decision making for oral appliance therapy.

Nadia Gosselin, PhD
Nadia Gosselin, PhDUniversité de Montréal
Investigating sleep microarchitecture to better understand idiopathic hypersomnia pathophysiology and phenotype heterogeneity

Idiopathic hypersomnia (IH) is a poorly defined nosological entity and shows phenotype heterogeneity. Sleep microarchitecture has the potential to explain part of IH pathophysiology and heterogeneity, as it can inform about homeostatic process efficiency, neural synchrony, and sleep consolidation. We propose to characterize IH sleep microarchitecture and identify clinically-relevant subtypes based on their microarchitecture. This project could improve our understanding of IH and reveal subtypes, which are necessary steps before developing more targeted interventions.

Qian Xiao, PhD, MPH
Qian Xiao, PhD, MPHThe University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health
Rest-Activity Rhythms and Cardiovascular Health in the Elderly: the Role of Metabolomic and Inflammatory Pathways

Rest-activity rhythms play an important role in cardiovascular health. Our study will comprehensively characterize the diurnal and rhythmic patterns of rest and activity, examine the prospective relationship between rest-activity rhythms and cardiovascular disease outcomes, and identify the underlying metabolic and inflammatory pathways that may drive the cardiovascular effects of rest-activity rhythms. Our study will deepen the understanding about the biological pathways linking circadian dysfunction with cardiovascular health.

2020 Community Sleep Health Award Recipient

Jack Peltz, PhD
Jack Peltz, PhDDaemen College
Addressing Sleep Health in Low-Income, Disadvantaged Youth Through Data-Informed Trainings for School-based Staff/Counselors

Poverty is a risk factor for poor sleep health. Rochester (NY) is one of the poorest U.S. cities, with approximately 25,000 children living in poverty. Our project seeks to provide innovative, online sleep-health training to school-based counselors from the Center for Youth. By assessing the counselors’ knowledge of sleep health and targeting workshops to support knowledge gaps, we hope to increase local children’s engagement in healthy sleep by teaching/supporting the counselors who serve them.