Biological Rhythms Research Laboratory

Rush’s Biological Rhythms Research Laboratory is an internationally recognized human circadian rhythms and sleep research laboratory. The laboratory was established in 1987 by Charmane Eastman, PhD. Namni Goel, PhD, directs the Adult Chronobiology and Sleep Medicine program and Stephanie Crowley, PhD, directs the Pediatric Chronobiology and Sleep Research Program. The goal of our laboratory is to understand human circadian rhythms and sleep across the lifespan, in the context of physical and mental health.

Our work

The circadian timing system regulates physiology and behavior over the course of a day. Everyday situations, however, such as shift work, jet lag and even waking to an alarm clock each weekday morning, forces us to be awake and try to sleep at adverse circadian times. This “circadian misalignment” between physiology and behavior can lead to decrements in physical health (e.g., sleep disruption, gastrointestinal distress, weight gain), mental health (e.g., depression, impaired learning) and poor health behaviors (e.g., diet, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine). Sleep deprivation can also produce such outcomes.

Our work focuses on measuring sleep and circadian rhythms in different contexts and then testing various interventions to reduce circadian misalignment and sleep loss to reduce symptom burden and improve overall health outcomes. We have extensive experience in the use of prescribed sleep/dark patterns, light treatments and exogenous melatonin treatments to reduce circadian misalignment.

Technology

  • Measurement of the dim light melatonin onset (DLMO) — the most reliable circadian phase marker in humans
  • Wrist actigraphy for reliable estimation of sleep-wake behavior
  • Light boxes and wearable light treatment devices
  • 24-hour ambient light measurement
  • Neurobehavioral performance testing

Funding

  • NIH/NINR R01 NR007677: Racial Differences in Human Circadian Rhythms. Principal investigator: Charmane I. Eastman, PhD; co-investigator: Stephanie J. Crowley, PhD
  • NIH/NHLBI R01 HL105395: Adolescent Sleep Delay: Circadian Regulation and Phase Shifting with Light. Principal investigator: Stephanie J. Crowley, PhD; co-investigator: Charmane I. Eastman, PhD
  • NIH/NHLBI R01 HL112756: Teen School-Night Sleep Extension: An Intervention Targeting the Circadian System. Principal investigator: Stephanie J. Crowley, PhD; co-investigator: Charmane I. Eastman, PhD

Our team

Namni Goel, PhD
Professor and Director for Adult Chronobiology Research, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Director of Adult Chronobiology and Sleep Medicine, Biological Rhythms Research Laboratory
Email: namni_goel@rush.edu
Phone: (312) 563-4726
Fax: (312) 563-4900

Stephanie J. Crowley, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Director of Pediatric Chronobiology and Sleep Research Program, Biological Rhythms Research Laboratory
Email: stephanie_j_crowley@rush.edu

Charmane I. Eastman, PhD
Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Email: ceastman@rush.edu

Lab Location

1645 W. Jackson Blvd. Suite 425
Chicago, IL 60612
Email: sleepclocklab@rush.edu
Phone: (312) 563-4784