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Sleep and Performance Research Center

Alcohol and Sleep Research Group

Steve Simasko, PH.D.

AREAS OF INTEREST

Alcohol and Alcoholism, Sleep, Circadian Rhythms, Addiction

RESEARCH SCOPE

One of the most common complaints in active alcoholics is difficulty with sleep. The disturbed sleep often continues even after abstinence and is associated with propensity to relapse drinking. How chronic alcohol consumption induces sleep pathology, and why this should be associated with relapse, remain unanswered. A better understanding of the factors involved may lead to novel interventions that will reduce abusive drinking.

RESEARCH FOCUS

We use a rodent model of chronic alcohol consumption to probe the mechanisms by which alcohol alters sleep. Our prior work has shown that our particular exposure paradigm recapitulates many of the sleep pathologies observed in human alcoholics. Our current focus is to determine whether these sleep pathologies are associated with the disruption of homeostatic regulation of sleep, disrupted circadian rhythms which in turn induce sleep pathologies, or both. We utilize EEG recordings to monitor sleep, continuous recordings of activity and body temperature to follow circadian timing, and measurements of circadian clock genes in various central and peripheral sites to determine the impact of alcohol consumption on the molecular control of circadian rhythms.

STAFF AND TRAINEES

Rong Guo, B.Sc. (Graduate Student, Neuroscience)
Heiko Jansen, Ph.D. (Collaborator)

APPROACHES USED

Rodent models
Sleep neurophysiology
Circadian rhythm analysis
Bioluminescence
Cell/Organ culture
Behavior

PUBLICATIONS