The Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine

Sleep Research Programs

The Stanford Center for Sleep Medicine is comprised of different research labs focusing on all aspects of sleep. We regularly collaborate with research groups both at Stanford and world-wide. Below are our core research labs as well as regular Stanford collaborators.

Core Research Labs

Dement: Sleep and Dreams

Dr. Dement is considered the father of sleep medicine and retired at the end of 2015. He is a leading authority on sleep, sleep deprivation, and the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders.  His undergraduate course, Sleep and Dreams has been one of the most popular classes at Stanford University for over 40 years.

Kushida: Center for Human Sleep Research

The Stanford  Center for Human Sleep Research is dedicated solely to the exploration of sleep and its disorders in humans. The Center staff work closely with the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and the basic research group at Stanford to design clinical studies. The Center is capable of running short-term and long-term studies and accepts contracts with outside researchers.

Mignot: Center for Narcolepsy & KLS Research

Stanford has been instrumental in establishing the cause of narcolepsy, a disabling illness affecting more than 1 in 2,000 Americans. The disorder is characterized by abnormal dreaming sleep and is caused by an autoimmune attack destroying ~70,000 brain cells secreting the neuropeptide hypocretin (orexin). The Stanford Center for Narcolepsy coordinates the care of several hundred patients each year and is always looking for individuals with narcolepsy and controls to participate in research studies.

In addition, the research lab also study Kleine Levin Syndrome (KLS), a curious episodic disease with hypersomnia and behavioral abnormalities.

Mourrain:  Genetics, Neurobiology, and Computational Analysis of Sleep and Associated Behaviors Laboratory

The Mourrain lab research focuses on the function of sleep on synaptic landscape and neural networks underpinning sleep/wake regulation. They use the diurnal zebrafish as a model. As a vertebrate zebrafish shares a similar nervous system with human. Zebrafish compact size, linear organization of brain regions, and optical clarity allow live imaging from synapse to whole brain system level.

Nishino:  Sleep & Circadian Neurobiology Laboratory

The Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology Lab is an integrated, multidisciplinary research facility dedicated to understanding sleep-wake control and biological rhythms at all levels from the molecular to the behavioral and developing new generations of pharmaceuticals to remedy the enormous unmet needs of sleep disorders medicine and disorders of circadian timekeeping.

Pasca: Cellular Mechanisms of Neuropsychiatric Disorders Laboratory

Our lab is interested in deciphering the molecular and cellular mechanisms of neuropsychiatric disorders. To achieve this, we employ a multidisciplinary approach involving human genetics, molecular and developmental neurobiology, rodent disease models and neural cells differentiated from patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells. We are also developing methods for generating specific classes of neurons from human stem cells and state-of-the-art tools for probing disease-relevant cellular endophenotypes. Our ultimate objective is to identify novel and reliable drug targets for neuropsychiatric disorders.

Zeitzer: Circadian Research Laboratory

Dr. Zeitzer's research concerns examination circadian rhythms and sleep; notably, the neural mechanisms that underlie wakefulness and circadian photoreception. He is also involved in collaborative efforts in examining the role of sleep disruption in medical pathologies such as Alzheimer's disease, spinal cord injury, and breast cancer.

Associated Researchers

Joachim Hallmayer in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science - Child Psychiatry

Craig Heller in the Department of Biology - School of Humanities and Sciences

Jon Erik Holty in the Center for Health Policy / Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research

John Hugenard in the Department of Neurology & Neurological Sciences

Peter Koltai in the Departments of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery and Pediatrics

Ruth O’Hara in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science - VA & Geriatric

Maurice Ohayon in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science - Sleep Center

Alexander Urban in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science - Psychopharmacology

Jerome Yesavage in the Departments of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science - VA Research and  Neurology & Neurological Sciences

Nanci Yuan in the Department of Pediatrics - Pulmonary Medicine  


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