Sleep Research Society selects four outstanding scientists as recipients of 2019 SRS awards

The Sleep Research Society (SRS) has selected four outstanding sleep and circadian scientists as recipients of the 2019 Sleep Research Society awards, which recognize excellence in sleep and circadian research.

"The Sleep Research Society awards recognize individuals who have made noteworthy contributions to sleep and circadian science," said SRS President Andrew D. Krystal, MD. "This year we had many impressive nominees. I congratulate each of the award recipients and acknowledge their impact helping the SRS advance sleep and circadian science."

SRS members were invited to nominate colleagues for the awards. The 2019 SRS award recipients, who were selected by the SRS board of directors, are:

Louis Ptáček, MD

Distinguished Scientist Award for significant, original and sustained scientific contributions of a basic, clinical or theoretical nature to the sleep and circadian research field, made over an entire career

Dr. Ptáček is a distinguished professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Ptáček's and his colleagues' work has opened a whole new field of human genetics in sleep that has spanned from studies of human subjects/phenotypes and identification of genes/mutations to molecular characterization of functional consequences and in vivo studies. Dr. Ptáček is a pioneer in establishing genetic studies of human sleep behavior. His stature in the field has led to his election to the National Academy of Medicine, the American Association of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Science.

As the SRS Distinguished Scientist Award recipient, Dr. Ptáček also receives the honor of presenting an invited lecture at the SLEEP 2019 annual meeting. He will present the lecture, "Homo sapiens as a model system for circadian rhythm genetics and biology."

Frank A.J.L. Scheer, PhD and Steven A. Shea, PhD

Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award for novel and seminal discoveries of a basic, clinical or theoretical nature that have made a significant impact on the sleep field

In 2009, Drs. Frank A.J.L. Scheer and Steven A. Shea, together with their colleagues, published a landmark paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, "Adverse metabolic and cardiovascular consequences of circadian misalignment." Their work demonstrated that disruption of the alignment between the internal circadian system and the sleep/meal cycle leads to adverse cardiometabolic consequences in humans. This work also sparked many follow-up studies across the world. Their study showed that the mistiming of behaviors has strong and negative effects on cardiometabolic control, raising scientific and clinical interest into circadian misalignment and timing of behavior across the world.

In addition to the value of the publication, Drs. Scheer and Shea are scientists at the forefront of clinically relevant human circadian research, using sophisticated laboratory protocols. Dr. Scheer is director of the Medical Chronobiology Program at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and Dr. Shea is director and professor at Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences at Oregon Health & Science University, each leading their independent laboratories expanding their work on circadian misalignment and leading the way in studying mechanisms, translation, and therapeutic interventions.

Martica Hall, PhD

Mary A. Carskadon Outstanding Educator Award for excellence in education related to the sleep and circadian research field

Dr. Hall is a professor of psychiatry, psychology, and clinical and translational science at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She is also co-director of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Sleep and Circadian Science. Since beginning her career in sleep research in the mid-1990s, one of her long-standing passions has been educating researchers outside the field of sleep medicine on the importance of sleep to health and functioning. She has trained a significant number of students and guided them to promising careers in which sleep is a central or secondary focus. Dr. Hall has been the driving force behind the establishment of an entire campus of sleep researchers at the University of Pittsburgh by providing mentorship to numerous students, organizing the weekly Multidisciplinary Sleep Grand Rounds, and developing the (now annual) Sleep Research Day on campus.

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