Pediatric Chronobiology and Sleep Research Program

The Pediatric Chronobiology and Sleep Research Program at Rush University Medical Center focuses on understanding basic circadian physiology and sleep behavior across adolescence, as well as developing and testing strategies to correct circadian misalignment (the mismatch between sleep and the circadian system) that is often experienced by teens in middle and high school.


Rush tower skyline

We are located on Rush’s downtown campus at:

1645 W. Jackson Blvd. Suite 425
Chicago, IL 60612
Phone: (312) 942-9991

Click below to learn more about us and current studies!

Current Studies  

Light Timing Study

Young adults between the ages of 18-20 wanted for a research study of the effects of light on the body clock.

  • Study runs from August until May

  • 2 weeks, including staying in our lab for 7 days

  • No drugs or invasive procedures like blood draws

  • Participants will be paid $925 for successfully completing the entire study

  • Free parking in attached garage for all lab visits

Apply for this study HERE!


Teen Sleep and Light Study

Teens between 14 and 17 years old are wanted for a two-week summer research study on the effects of sleep duration and light on the body clock.

  • Participants stay at our lab for one week

  • No drugs or invasive procedures like blood draws

  • Participants will be paid $975 for successfully completing the entire study

  • Free parking in attached garage for all lab visits

Apply for this study HERE!


COVID-19 Precautions: 
Please note that our lab is taking the appropriate COVID-19 precautions for the safety of your child and our research staff. Some of these measures include: screening questions for COVID-19, temperature checks, social distancing, and personal protective equipment (masks and gloves) for all lab visits. Please email us at with any questions. Thank you and stay healthy!

Lab Tour

The Biological Rhythms Research Laboratory is a state of the art facility featuring:

  • Bedroom suite (with three bedrooms)
  • Private bathroom with shower
  • Kitchen and phase assessment room
  • Video monitors and intercom system
  • Staff offices and participant monitoring rooms

… Pictures coming soon!

Our Team
Steph Crowley-McWilliam, BRRL

Stephanie Crowley, PhD
Associate Professor, Director of the Pediatric Chronobiology and Sleep Research Program

Stephanie Crowley, PhD is an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences.  She directs the Pediatric Chronobiology and Sleep Research Program at Rush.  Her research focuses on understanding the circadian (~ 24-hour) timing system and sleep during adolescence.  Crowley is currently principal investigator or co-investigator on grants from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine Foundation.  She serves on the Sleep Research Society’s Board of Directors, and is an associate editor for SLEEP and Behavioral Sleep Medicine.  She also serves on the editorial board for Sleep Health

Charmane Eastman, PhD
Professor, Founding Director of the Biological Rhythms Research Laboratory

Dr. Eastman is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and the founding director of the Biological Rhythms Research Laboratory at RUMC in Chicago. Her research interests include human circadian rhythms and sleep, with an emphasis on the man-made circadian rhythm “disorders” due to shift work, jet travel, early work and school start times, being an extreme night owl, and the Monday morning blues. She was commissioned by NASA to develop sleep and bright light schedules that the astronauts used to reset their circadian clocks to prepare for the shift work of space shuttle missions. Under her direction her lab has studied bright light treatment of winter depression or seasonal affective disorder and how to reset or phase shift the circadian clock with light and melatonin to reduce jet lag and the circadian misalignment caused by night shift work. She has published more than 100 papers in these areas. Her work has been supported by several federal grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) over the last 30+ years.


Ieva Misiunaite, MS
Study Coordinator

Ieva started working at the Biological Rhythms Research Laboratory after earning her BS in Psychology from Loyola University Chicago in 2013.  During this time, Ieva worked with Dr. Crowley and Dr. Eastman on various research projects, including coordinating the Teen Weekend Sleep Study.  In 2016, Ieva left the lab to earn a MA in Developmental Psychology from Loyola University Chicago.  She is excited to return to the Biological Rhythms Research Laboratory to assist Dr. Crowley with new studies.  When she’s not working, Ieva enjoys reading, going for walks, and spending time with her friends and family.


Allison Monterastelli, BS
Study Coordinator

Allison graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a BS in Molecular Biology in 2021 and is now working towards her MS in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University. Before joining the Biological Rhythms Research Lab, Allison worked on several research projects, beginning with a position as an undergraduate research assistant in a cellular biology lab. Within this lab, she worked towards developing a photodynamic cancer therapy agent in zebrafish. Outside of this experience, Allison has worked on several other projects including serving as the principal investigator for a collaborative project with Loyola’s Writing Center which focused on the objective quantification of the benefits of writing tutoring in freshman students. Outside of research, Allison enjoys spending time with her family, walking her dog, and trying new restaurants in the city.


Danbi Kim, BA
Research Assistant

Danbi has recently graduated from Wheaton College with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a certificate in Neuroscience. During her senior year in college, Danbi participated in different research labs, including the Neuroscience Research, the Resilience Lab, and the Urban Community Health Lab. Through these past experiences, Danbi has developed her research interests in the causes and treatments of diverse mental health disorders. Danbi is excited to be part of the Biological Rhythms Research Lab in which she hopes to learn deeper about the research in sleep health. During her free time, Danbi likes to hang out with her friends, travel, and play the piano.



Connor Lafeber, BS
Research Assistant

Connor is a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2022) with a BS in Neurobiology and a minor in Computer Science. During his undergraduate, he spent his time in a visual processing laboratory using EM reconstruction to study information pathways in the primate retina. Connor has always been fascinated by sleep research, and he looks forward to helping Dr. Crowley with new studies in the field. In his free time, he enjoys reading, running, woodworking, and spending time with friends and family.



Karina Reyes, BS
Research Assistant

Karina graduated from the University of Illinois - Chicago in 2018 with a BS in Neuroscience and a minor in Sociology. Before joining the Biological Rhythms Research Laboratory, Karina formed part of DuPage County (Illinois) Health Department’s COVID-19 Outbreak Response Group for educational institutions. Currently, she is helping with Dr. Crowley’s Light Timing Study. Karina enjoys trying new restaurants and watching reality TV dating shows. Her personal goal for this year is to run a 5K.



Savannah Melan, BS
Research Assistant

Savannah is a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2022) with a BS in Neurobiology and Psychology. During her undergraduate, she briefly assisted in the Mcardle Cancer Research Laboratory where she helped analyze the life cycle of cancer cells as well as grow her passion for research and healthcare. Following graduation, Savannah spent some time working as an Ophthalmic Assistant at a Northwestern Pediatric Ophthalmology Practice before joining the Rush team. With her past experiences in research and healthcare, she is excited to contribute to and learn from the Biological Rhythms Research Lab. Savannah enjoys spending her free time with friends and family, exploring new places, watching movies and reading.



Elaine Poole, BS
Research Assistant

Elaine Poole

Elaine is a recent graduate from the University of Alabama (2022) with a BS in Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience. During her last two years at the University, Elaine was part of a research lab that studied sleep in the context of interpersonal relationships and SES. She eventually completed her own independent project on the roommate relationship and sleep in college students. She also dedicated three years teaching her fellow peers on campus about diverse health topics with the peer education group, Project Health. Elaine is excited to gain more experience in sleep research with the BRRL. She also hopes to one day go back to school to gain a graduate degree in Health Psychology. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her five pets, listening to music and podcasts, and is in a bowling league.