The sleep and behavior laboratory at EVMS focuses on understanding the role of sleep in the neurobiological processes that give rise to post-traumatic stress disorder and other stress-related disorders. PTSD is a neuropsychiatric disorder that develops in a subset of the population following psychological trauma. It is characterized by significant alterations in the regulation of arousal and sleep. We use animal models to examine the linkages between stress-related learning and sleep in the formation of memories and altered emotionality that can give rise to PTSD.

Current projects are developing animal models to better understand the role of stress resilience and vulnerability in stress-induced sleep disturbances. We also are examining the neurocircuitry that links emotion and sleep in order to better understand sleep disturbances that accompany emotional disorders.

Ongoing studies are examining how the amygdala and hippocampus interact in forming traumatic memories that can disrupt sleep and alter behavior. Other areas of interest include:

  • Stress, sleep and neuroimmune interactions
  • How space radiation impacts sleep
  • The role of sleep in the development of atherosclerosis
  • The development of methodologies to improve neuroscience research