Research in the Division of Sleep Medicine

Research Labs

Emmanuel Mignot Lab

The Mignot lab uses proteomics and genetics to further the understanding of human sleep and sleep disorders, notably narcolepsy. In one part of the lab, we are focusing on the generation and analysis of data generated from a study called the Stanford Technology Analytics and Genomics of Sleep (STAGES).  In the STAGES study we are collecting actigraphy, 3D facial morphometry, neurocognitive testing, subjective sleep questionnaire data and objective sleep EEG studies in 30,000 participants together with genetic and protein biomarker data. Analyses involve classic statistics and machine learning of polysomnography, clinical and biological data.

In the second part of the lab, we are focusing on more targeted clinical, pathophysiological and genetic studies of sleep disorders involving excessive daytime sleepiness, such as narcolepsy, hypersomnia and Kleine Levin syndrome. Narcolepsy studies in particular are the most advanced and are focusing on the autoimmune basis of type 1 narcolepsy through the study of T cell biology.

Philippe Mourrain Lab

One major goal of the Mourrain lab is to elucidate the function of sleep at the synapse and its impact in synaptopathies such as Fragile X syndrome, autism spectrum disorders and Alzheimer’s disease. The Mourrain lab also investigates how sleep and the newly identified miR-9/TLX/Onecut pathway control brain and retina regeneration in mouse and zebrafish models. Reprogramming of endogenous neural stem cells is a critical step to develop safe and effective methods to replace damaged or dead neurons in many neurological disorders including synaptopathies and sleep disorders.

Seiji Nishino Lab

Our research focuses on understanding the etiology and pathophysiology of human sleep and circadian disorders using various animal models. We are especially interested in hypersomnia with various etiology. We also research and develop new sleep sensing technologies for humans and animals.

Sergiu Pasca Lab

The Pasca lab is interested in understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms of neuropsychiatric disorders. We are using pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) derived non-invasively from patients to generate in a dish specific regions of the human brain in a functional 3D structures known as organoids or assembloids, and employ live imaging, electrophysiology and other state-of-the-art technologies to identify disease phenotypes.

Jamie Zeitzer Lab

Dr. Zeitzer studies the development of human centric lighting as a countermeasure to the ills of the 24-hour society, and the biological underpinnings of sleep quality -- in essence, why we sleep.

Researchers

Dr. Joseph Cheung

Dr. Cheung is a physician scientist and the recipient of an NIH NINDS K23 award, with a research focus on elucidating the neurobiological and genetic basis of hypersomnia disorders. In addition, he is a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine task force in actigraphy. His other research involves applying wearable and digital technologies to the study of sleep and disease phenotyping.

Dr. Makoto Kawai

Dr. Kawai is a physician scientist in the field of sleep medicine in aging and brain function. Using combined polysomnogram and novel neuroimaging technology, he aims to identify potential sleep biomarkers to investigate the mechanism of progression from normal aging to Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) or dementia. Additionally, he investigates the impact of sleep on cognitive/affective function or behavior abnormality in various neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders.

Dr. Mitchell Miglis

Dr. Miglis is a member of the International REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) study group and is currently the Principal Investigator of an international NIH funded trial evaluating the risk of neurodegenerative disease in patients with RBD and autonomic failure. He is also lead investigator of a study evaluating the presence of autonomic dysfunction in Idiopathic Hypersomnia and the presence of sleep and autonomic disorders in patients with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. 

Dr. Gaurav Singh

Dr. Singh’s research interests include health outcomes regarding obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and co-existing pulmonary diseases. In particular, as the director of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at Stanford, he has a specific interest in evaluating outcomes related to COPD-OSA Overlap Syndrome. His interests also include assessing outcomes with other pulmonary diseases that may overlap with OSA, including asthma, pulmonary hypertension, interstitial lung disease, and tracheobronchomalacia. These patients may require more advanced ventilation modalities, so this is an area that he is investigating as well.

Dr. Emmanuel During

Dr. During is co-investigator of a NIH funded international study evaluating the risk of neurodegenerative disease in patients with REM sleep behavior disorder, as well as a study on the role of microbiome (gut flora) in patients with Restless Legs Syndrome and its relation with iron metabolism. In addition, he is sub-investigator of a clinical trial evaluating a once nightly formulation of sodium oxybate in subjects with narcolepsy. His most recent interest pertains to home devices that can enhance slow wave sleep via auditory closed-loop stimulation. He is the Principal Investigator of a study investigating the accuracy of such a wearable home EEG device for the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea. Dr. During is designing several studies examining the effect of slow wave sleep enhancement on sleep quality, cognition and biological markers of Alzheimer's disease, as well as an industry-sponsored randomized controlled trial evaluating the impact of an immunomodulating agent on sleep architecture and sleep quality.

Dr. Clete Kushida

The Stanford Center for Human Sleep Research conducts clinical trials that improve ways to treat and manage sleep disorders.  These studies aim to increase the safety and effectiveness of current and novel applications of sleep medicine, and to improve the quality of life of the greater populations of individuals with sleep disorders.

Dr. Logan Schneider

From a research perspective, Dr. Schneider’s long-term career plan is to refine the understanding of normal and dysfunctional sleep, much like the Epilepsy Phenome/Genome Project (EPGP) and Epi4K are doing for the enigmatic epilepsies. Insufficient sleep has been deemed a public health problem with poorly understood behavioral and physiologic sleep disorders lying at the core of the issue. He is currently using well-defined distinct and objective phenotypes (e.g. periodic limb movements, hypocretin-deficient narcolepsy) to acquire the analytic skills necessary to expand his knowledge of both signal processing and genetics, with the former enhancing his ability to identify and/or refine sleep phenotypes, and the latter facilitating the pathophysiological understanding of these phenotypes. As a consequence of a better link between symptoms/phenotypes, physiology, and genetic risks, more personally targeted and effective therapeutics can be developed to address the enriched spectrum of sleep disorders.