Translational Sleep & Circadian Sciences Program | NYU Langone Health

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Center for Healthful Behavior Change Education & Training Translational Sleep & Circadian Sciences Program

Translational Sleep & Circadian Sciences Program

As the population of older Americans increases, a major public health priority is to identify approaches to optimize healthy aging and to limit the disabling effects of chronic diseases and Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia (ADRD) in underserved communities. An important focus of the Translational Sleep and Circadian Sciences Program at NYU Langone’s Center for Healthful Behavior Change is to ascertain whether the disproportionate burden of ADRD in minority populations can be attributed to sleep deficiencies, including poor sleep, sleep apnea, and circadian misalignment. We aim to develop early intervention strategies to curb the expanding health burden on minorities, especially that resulting from inadequate access to personalized medical and psychological care.

Our program, supported by a National Institutes of Health (NIH) K07 award, aims to address the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Strategic Goal 3 of strengthening “the economic and social well-being of Americans across the lifespan.” Our goal is to foster rich cross-campus collaborations between investigators in various disciplines at NYU Langone, NYU, and other premier institutions, to maximize the rigor and impact of innovative approaches to reducing disparities in the brain health of vulnerable communities. We also aim to develop new curricula and research projects in translational sleep and circadian sciences.

Reducing disparities in cardiovascular and brain health is an important area for translational research, and mentoring junior investigators in the area of translational sleep and circadian sciences is paramount. We incorporate recommendations from the National Alzheimer’s Project Act and draw from NIH-sponsored studies identifying mentorship as the most important factor in fostering successful research careers.

Our Vision and Mission

The vision of the Translational Sleep and Circadian Sciences Program is to serve as a collaborative learning laboratory and a university-wide resource to stimulate, support, and evaluate high-priority ADRD research with a special focus on low-income and underserved communities. We have a three-part mission:

  • to amplify, through core faculty, concurrent NIH-funded research in understanding the mechanisms underlying racial and ethnic disparities and testing multilevel interventions (patient, clinician, and community) to promote optimal aging and disease management among people living with Alzheimer’s disease
  • to mentor 12 junior scientists who are pursuing academic careers in aging research from a variety of NYU-based postdoctoral programs, with special effort made to recruit women and underrepresented minorities
  • to implement innovative research strategies in translational sleep and circadian sciences to reduce health disparities in ADRD and disseminate evidence generated from the program into clinical and public health practice and policy

Our Core Faculty Mentors

A wide array of nationally and internationally recognized NYU Langone and affiliated faculty, as well as faculty from other premier local and regional institutions, participate in our program. Our interdisciplinary group includes practicing physicians with expertise in clinical research and investigators conducting research in the areas of community-based population health, health disparities, sleep medicine, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and cardiovascular disease prevention. Many of our mentors drive pioneering studies in their respective fields.

Indu Ayappa, PhD

Specialization: sleep physiology
Dr. Ayappa is an associate professor of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. In addition to studying new techniques for diagnosing and treating sleep apnea, she investigates the relationship between sleep-disordered breathing and daytime function. Dr. Ayappa has mentored multiple NIH trainees, serving as the principal investigator on several NIH- and industry-sponsored grants.

Caroline S. Blaum, MD

Specialization: geriatric medicine
Dr. Blaum, a professor of geriatric medicine and population health, is the director of the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Palliative Care within NYU Langone’s Department of Medicine. Her research focuses on the epidemiology and clinical care of complex patients, particularly those with multiple comorbidities, functional disability, geriatric conditions, and frailty. She also has expertise in cardiovascular disease and geriatric conditions, particularly cognition and falls, in older adults.

Mony J. de Leon, EdD

Specialization: imaging; dementia
Dr. de Leon is a professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College where he founded the Center for Brain Health-Neuroimaging Laboratory. The center employs diverse PET tracers, high-field MRI, and cerebrospinal fluid and plasma biomarker assays in multiple conditions associated with increased risk for cognitive decline: chronic inflammation, traumatic brain injury, hypertension, and familial and genetic risks for dementia.

Silvia Fossati, PhD

Specialization: Alzheimer’s disease; cerebral amyloid angiopathy; traumatic brain injury; post-traumatic stress disorder
Dr. Fossati, an associate professor of pharmacology at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, is the associate director of the Alzheimer’s Center at Temple.

Lidia Glodzik, MD, PhD

Specialization: Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers; neuroimaging
As an associate professor of psychiatry at Temple University and co-director of the Alzheimer’s Center at Temple, Dr. Glodzik focuses on arterial spin labeling perfusion and on applying new imaging techniques to evaluate metabolic changes in the hippocampus. She also assesses the value of cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers in early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

Girardin Jean-Louis, PhD

Specialization: sleep and circadian research; aging
Dr. Jean-Louis is a professor of population health and psychiatry at NYU Langone and director of the NIH-funded Program to Increase Diversity in Behavioral Medicine and Sleep Disorders Research (PRIDE) Summer Institute. He has been involved in several key NIH-funded studies, leading to over 300 publications, primarily in sleep and cardiometabolic diseases, circadian rhythm, aging, and health equity. Consistent with the National Institute on Aging Academic Leadership Award’s goals, Dr. Jean-Louis leads the NYU Sleep Disparity Workgroup to develop innovative approaches to elucidate the role of sleep deficiency (for example, poor sleep, sleep apnea, and circadian misalignment) among older adults in communities at risk of developing ADRD.

Olugbenga G. Ogedegbe, MD, MPH

Specialization: hypertension; cardiovascular disease
Dr. Ogedegbe, a physician and professor of population health and medicine, is a leading expert on health disparities research, whose work focuses on implementing evidence-based interventions for cardiovascular risk reduction in minority populations. He is the principal investigator on numerous NIH-funded projects and has expanded his work internationally to sub-Saharan Africa to strengthen research capacity and reduce the burden of noncommunicable diseases.

Ricardo M. Osorio Suarez, MD

Specialization: sleep; neurodegeneration
Dr. Osorio is an assistant professor of psychiatry and director of the Center for Sleep and Brain Health. His research focuses on using neuroimaging and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers to help study sleep disturbances as risk factors for cognitive impairment in aging and dementia.

David Rapoport, MD

Specialization: sleep medicine; cardiovascular disease
Dr. Rapoport is a pulmonologist and professor of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Currently the director of the Sleep Medicine Research Program at Mount Sinai, Dr. Rapoport has been involved in clinical research in this field since 1979.

Joseph E. Ravenell, MD

Specialization: hypertension; community-based participatory research
Along with being an internist and a professor of population health and medicine, Dr. Ravenell is the associate dean for diversity affairs and inclusion as well as director of diversity in research at Perlmutter Cancer Center. Dr. Ravenell researches and implements community-based strategies to diagnose and treat diseases like colorectal cancer and hypertension by offering blood pressure readings at barbershops and health education at churches and mosques.

Mary A. Sevick, ScD

Specialization: diabetes; metabolic health
A professor of population health and medicine, Dr. Sevick has served as the principal investigator on multiple NIH- and American Heart Association–funded studies and conducts research on the use of technology to engage clinical populations in self-management and lifestyle behavior change. She is interested in primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and secondary prevention in populations with complex chronic diseases (such as diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and end-stage renal disease).

Scott E. Sherman, MD

Specialization: geriatric medicine
Dr. Sherman, a professor of population health, medicine, and psychiatry, specializes in geriatrics and focuses his research on smoking cessation strategies. Dr. Sherman is the principal investigator on seven large grants, representing funding from the NIH, the Veterans Administration Health Services Research and Development Service, and other agencies.

Wendy A. Suzuki, PhD

Specialization: brain health and exercise
A professor of neural science and psychology at the NYU Center for Neural Science, Dr. Suzuki is best known for her extensive analysis of brain regions critical to forming and retaining long-term memories. Though her major research interest continues to be brain plasticity, Dr. Suzuki’s more recent work focuses on how exercise can be used to improve learning, memory, and higher cognition in humans.

Chau Trinh-Shevrin, DrPH

Specialization: health equity; community-based participatory research
Dr. Trinh-Shevrin is an associate professor of population health and medicine, director of the Section for Health Equity, and vice chair for research in NYU Langone’s Department of Population Health. Her research centers on multilevel strategies to reduce health disparities and advance health equity, both as the principal investigator of an NIH grant supporting the NYU Center for the Study of Asian American Health and as co-principal investigator of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention–funded prevention research center.

Andrew W. Varga, MD

Specialization: neurocognitive decline; memory and sleep
Dr. Varga is an assistant professor of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. His clinical interests involve all areas of sleep medicine with particular interest in movement disorders in sleep (such as restless leg syndrome, REM sleep behavior disorder), sleep in neurodegenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease), and generalized cognitive deficits as a function of fragmented sleep.

Contact Us

For more information about the Translational Sleep and Circadian Sciences Program, please contact Debbie Chung, MS, senior project coordinator, at debbie.chung@nyulangone.org or 646-501-3466.