Current Awards

Sleep Research Program for Advancing Careers

2021-2022 Sleep Research Program for Advancing Careers: August 2021 – June 2022

The 2022-2023 application cycle will open February 2022. Please check back for additional details or subscribe to the mailing list to receive updates on AASM Foundation award programs.

In an effort to expand the field of sleep medicine with highly qualified researchers that will lead breakthrough discoveries in circadian science and sleep research, the AASM Foundation is committed to the growing and supporting the pipeline of sleep scientists by investing in the research careers of new investigators through mentorship and grantsmanship training opportunities.

The Sleep Research Program for Advancing Careers matches early career investigators with seasoned sleep researchers to serve as mentors and provides grantsmanship lectures and activities throughout the course of 10 months. The goal of the Sleep Research Program for Advancing Careers is to launch the research careers of sleep and circadian investigators. By the end of the Sleep Research Program for Advancing Careers, early career investigators will have the skills and resources necessary to successfully apply for a National Institutes of Health, Veteran Affairs, AASM Foundation career development grant, or equivalent award.

Meet the 2021-2022 SOAR Fellows and Mentors

Judite Blanc, PhD
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

SOAR Mentor: Daniel J. Buysse, MD

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Daniel J. Buysse, MD
University of Pittsburgh

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Maya Elias, PhD, RN
University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies

SOAR Mentor: Phyllis Zee, MD, PhD

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Phyllis Zee, MD, PhD
Northwestern University

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Sarah E. Emert, PhD
The University of Arizona

SOAR Mentor: Rachel Manber, PhD

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Rachel Manber, PhD
Stanford University

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Anna E. Mullins, PhD, RPSGT
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

SOAR Mentor: Elizabeth B. Klerman, MD, PhD

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Elizabeth B. Klerman, MD, PhD
Harvard Medical School

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Sonja G. Schütz, MD, MS, MSc
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

SOAR Mentor: Neomi Shah, MD, MPH, MSc

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Neomi Shah, MD, MPH, MSc
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

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About the Sleep Research Program for Advancing Careers

SOAR Fellows participate in didactic lectures, networking opportunities, leadership and grant writing trainings throughout the year. These activities are structured to build upon grant writing skills while SOAR Fellows work with SOAR Mentors on the various components of their grant.


Through the year, SOAR Fellows participate in didactic lectures structured to build upon grant writing skills. Lectures are held once a month virtually.

  • Specific Aims
  • Individual Components of a Research Plan
  • Candidate’s Background Document/Personal Statement
  • Individual Development Plan
  • Mentoring Plan
  • Budget Basics
  • Career Goals and Objectives
  • Summary Statement and Preparing to Resubmit

Mid-Year Grant Writing Symposia

The symposia provides the opportunity for SOAR Fellows to learn about grantsmanship from leading sleep researchers, present their proposal, and have dedicated time set aside with their SOAR mentors and symposia faculty for refining and reviewing the various parts of their grant application by using a collaborative approach. The symposia is held in-person over the course of 3 days and a travel scholarship is provided by the AASM Foundation*.

  • Mock Grant Review Workshop
  • Aspects of Grantsmanship Plenary Session
    • Grantsmanship Best Practices
    • Planning your Grant
    • Integrating Feedback into your Grant
    • Grant Competition
    • Mentoring Needs, Reference and Support Letters
  • Sleep Research Shark Tank Competition
  • Protected Grant Writing Time
  • Grant Application Consultation Meetings

Leadership Training

SOAR Fellows participate in leadership training to explore and understand their strengths and embedding them into their potential to become leaders in the sleep research field. The leadership training is held virtually towards the end of the program.

SLEEP Annual Meeting

SOAR Fellows participate in the annual SLEEP meeting to present their research and network with sleep researchers. The annual SLEEP meeting is held in-person and a travel scholarship is provided by the AASM Foundation*.

*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions, in-person activities were held virtually

The program also provides discretionary funds of up to $3,000 to be used towards activities and/or training for developing and submitting a competitive application a funding agency. Examples include:

  • Registration for professional conferences or workshops, and associated travel
  • Poster costs for accepted abstracts at a professional conference
  • Coursework related to research career development (e.g. grantsmanship, research methodology)
  • Publication fees associated with submitting papers to a journal

SOAR Fellows are matched with SOAR Mentors based on research interests and goals. SOAR Fellows and Mentors complete a goal development plan based on expectations below and meet throughout the year.

SOAR Fellow Expectations

  • Submit an application for an NIH, VA, AASM Foundation career development award or equivalent within one year of ending of the program.
  • Submit an abstract to the annual SLEEP meeting for any new or ongoing sleep research project during the SOAR year.
  • Develop research skills in order to prepare specific grant sections, including a refined specific aims page and research plan, and refine research ideas through webinars and one-on-one interactions with SOAR mentor.
  • Create career development plans and individual training goals with short-term and long-term academic goals. Begin to develop a research personal brand.
  • Complete program evaluation and feedback surveys, as well as annual follow-up evaluations.
  • Volunteer to participate in committees that expose fellows to the grant, abstract, or manuscript review process.

SOAR Mentor Expectations

  • Assist in the overall development of the SOAR Fellow’s research idea and project.
  • Provide timely feedback to SOAR Fellow on their research progress regularly via email
  • Meet with SOAR Fellow to review research grant documents
  • Assist in creating a timeline for preparing documents for a grant submission.
  • Track SOAR Fellow metrics.
  • Provide overall research and career advice/guidance as needed.
  • Complete program feedback requests in a timely fashion.

The following individuals are eligible to participate in the Sleep Research Program for Advancing Careers. Applications are accepted once a year.

  • Physicians (MD or DO) who are board-eligible or board-certified in sleep medicine by the American Board of Sleep Medicine or by a member board of the American Board of Medical Specialties and have completed their sleep medicine fellowship within the past 10 years, or who are currently enrolled in an ACGME-accredited sleep medicine fellowship program are eligible to apply.
  • Researchers (PhD or other similar doctoral degree) who are within 10 years of completing their post-doctoral training or who are current post-doctoral fellows.
  • Must members of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
SOAR Fellows SOAR Mentors
Mihaela Bazalakova, MD, PhD
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Louise O’Brien, PhD, MS
Michigan Medicine
Omonigho M. Bubu MD, MPH, PhD
NYU Grossman School of Medicine
Brendan Lucey, MD, MSCI
Washington University
Lu Dong, PhD, MHS
RAND Corporation
Michael Grandner, PhD, MTR
University of Arizona
Sonya S. Kaur, PhD
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Phyllis C. Zee, MD, PhD
Northwestern University
Jack S. Peltz, PhD
Daemen College
M. Safwan Badr, MD, MBA
Wayne State University