The Sleep Research Society (SRS) has selected four sleep and circadian scientists as recipients of the 2022 Sleep Research Society awards, which recognize excellence in sleep and circadian research.
This year’s award winners will be recognized during the plenary session at SLEEP 2022.
Thomas E. Scammell, 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
Thomas Scammell, MD is a Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Scammell received his medical degree from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and then completed a residency in Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco. For the last 25 years, Dr. Scammell has run a research lab at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center focused on identifying the neural mechanisms that control sleep and wakefulness. He has received several NIH grants to study the control of sleep and wakefulness by the hypothalamus and brainstem, and much of his lab’s work now focuses on narcolepsy and identifying the pathways through which the orexin neuropeptides stabilize wakefulness and suppress cataplexy. Additional projects examine the interactions of sleep and pain, and the functions of arousal-promoting brainstem pathways. Dr. Scammell also treats patients with narcolepsy and other sleep disorders. He is a Section Editor for UpToDate and Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine and was a Deputy Editor of Sleep. He has published over 150 research articles, reviews, and chapters.
Maiken Nedergaard, MD, DMSc
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
Maiken Nedergaard is a pioneer in the field of neuroglial signaling. She was the first to show that astrocytes can transmit calcium signals to neurons; that astrocytes regulate inhibitory neurotransmission; that they communicate by purinergic signaling; that they in live brain are activated by sensory stimulation; and that they regulate cerebral perfusion. Nedergaard also showed that astrocytes control the extracellular ion composition and thereby by a simple, yet powerful mechanism, can control neural circuit activity. Her collaborative studies revealed that the size and complexity of astrocytes increases across phylogeny, and that engraftment of human astrocytes enhances the cognitive performance of mice. Clinically-trained, she has identified a role of astrocytic pathology in spinal cord injury, epilepsy, ammonium toxicity, glioma invasion and activation of astrocytes in deep brain stimulation. Yet, her notable discovery is of the (glia-lymphatic) glymphatic system, a brain-wide fluid clearance system. She showed that the glymphatic system is activated during sleep and clears waste metabolites. Glymphatic transport declines in aging, chronic diseases, and sleep disturbances, thus linking its failure to an increased risk of dementing illness. Her most recent work has highlighted glymphatic transport as the basis for acute post-ischemic cerebral edema, a revelation that has breathed new life into modern therapeutic approaches. In sum, Nedergaard’s work has revealed that astrocytes are active participants in higher brain function and critical causal contributors to brain disease, while laying out clear paths to fundamentally new therapeutic avenues going forward.
Kenneth P. Wright, Jr., PhD
Mary A. Carskadon Outstanding Educator Award for excellence in education related to the sleep and circadian research field
Ken Wright is a Professor of Distinction in the Department of Integrative Physiology and Director of the Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory at the University of Colorado Boulder. He has over 25 years of experience in the sleep and circadian fields, has led individual and multicenter/team research grants and has participated in multicenter clinical trials. His research is aimed at explaining the physiology of sleep and circadian rhythms in humans, understanding the health and safety consequences of sleep and circadian disruptions, such as, metabolic dysregulation, impaired cognition, and compromised performance, and applying knowledge gained to develop sleep and circadian medicine based countermeasures to improve public health and safety. Prof. Wright is committed to training the next generation of leaders in the sleep and circadian field. He maintains a large undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate training program in sleep and circadian physiology at University of Colorado Boulder. He has published over 140 peer-reviewed manuscripts and is a frequent reviewer for national and international grant agencies and journals. Prof Wright has served in leadership, consulting, and advisory roles for government, professional, community, and commercial stakeholders, such as, the Sleep Disorders Research Advisory Board (SDRAB) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and the Board of Directors of the Sleep Research Society.
Terra Ziporyn Snider, PhD
The Public Service Award for significant and extraordinary contributions to the mission of SRS above and beyond research and educational activities
Terra Ziporyn Snider, PhD is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Start School Later/Healthy Hours, a nonprofit dedicated to school hours that allow for healthy sleep, as well as an award-winning author of numerous popular health and medical books including The New Harvard Guide to Women’s Health, The Women’s Concise Guide to Emotional Well-Being, Alternative Medicine for Dummies, and Nameless Diseases. A Yale graduate (Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude), she earned a doctorate at the University of Chicago as a Searle Fellow in the history of science and medicine while conducting research in biopsychology. Dr. Ziporyn Snider is a former associate editor at The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and has written extensively on a wide range of health and medical issues for publications including The Harvard Health Letter, JAMA, Consumer Reports, CNN, Education Week, Weight Watchers Magazine, Business Week, and Longevity. She has been awarded science-writing fellowships by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Chemical Society, and the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole.