We are greatly saddened to announce the passing of Dr. Monique LeBourgeois on November 28, 2023. Her pivotal research advanced our understanding of sleep and circadian physiology in early childhood. She developed creative groundbreaking techniques to rigorously conduct circadian and sleep research in the home environment, including performing salivary melatonin and high-density EEG/polysomnography assessments on toddlers.
Dr. LeBourgeois received her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1995. There, she sought out mentorship from Dr. John Harsh, who was investigating sleep disturbance in childhood. She went on to receive her M.S. in Counseling Psychology, M.A. in Experimental Psychology, and Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi.
One week after defending her dissertation, Dr. LeBourgeois packed up and moved across the country to pursue postdoctoral training in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown Medical School, under the mentorship of Dr. Mary Carskadon. Her interest in measurement of sleep homeostasis and circadian rhythms blossomed, and she began to apply these concepts and measures to evaluate the developmental aspects of sleep behavior regulation in young children. Dr. Carskadon notes her outstanding way of working with families and kids and maintaining their engagement throughout longitudinal studies.
In 2010, she moved the Sleep and Development Lab to the Department of Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado Boulder. While at the University of Colorado, she conducted longitudinal studies examining the development of Process C and Process S across early childhood, as well as researching the sensitivity of the developing circadian system to light exposure. Her pioneering work has contributed to our fundamental understanding of how environment and physiology interact to influence sleep health in early childhood. Dr. LeBourgeois had an unwavering track record in securing external research funding, and was the recipient of F31, T32, K01, and R01 awards and continuous NIH funding since 2001. She engaged in collaborative research where she created opportunities, generously lent her expertise, and shared her passion for developmental sleep and circadian science.
Beyond her scientific accomplishments, Dr. LeBourgeois devoted a large portion of her academic life to mentorship, always asking trainees “What do you want your life to look like?”. She invested time, energy, trust, and love into helping trainees to successfully achieve their goals. She recognized the value of the mentorship she received and sought to continue the tradition of learning, experience, and skill building by creating the Mary A. Carskadon Sleep and Circadian Summer Research Fellowship in 2017. This annual fellowship provided enriching and unique opportunities for students to receive hands-on research experiences, form relationships with families in the community, and develop basic professional skills. Many of her trainees have gone on to successful careers in professions including biomedical research, healthcare, science policy, and industry. Though she has passed, her passion and legacy will continue through the extended family of trainees (aka “sleep fairies”) that were touched by her dedicated mentorship.
Mary A. Carskadon, PhD
John R. Harsh, PhD
Lauren E. Hartstein, PhD
Sachi D. Wong, PhD
Kenneth P. Wright Jr., PhD