Circadian Rhythms & Sleep Biology Faculty

Jimo Borjigin

Jimo Borjigin

Associate Professor, Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Associate Professor, Neurology

The Borjigin laboratory is interested in both basic science as well translational research with the ultimate goal of stimulating scientific discovery and improving human health.  Within these efforts, two interrelated projects are appropriate for the SURP undergraduate students : (1) Improving detection of cardiac arrhythmias in patients with sleep apnea (sleep-heart project); and (2) improving detection of cardiac arrhythmias in patients using our newly invented ECM technology (ECM project).  See our lab website for more details. These projects bridge the state of art analytical tools (patent pending) with unmet clinical needs, and are conducted in collaboration with a number of UM physicians in Cardiology, Anesthesiology, Neurology, and Emergency medicine, which allows ample interactions of students with faculty members in both basic science departments as well as clinical departments. 

Christian Burgess

Assistant professor

The Burgess lab investigates the neural circuitry underlying fundamental behaviors, including feeding and sleep. We use neuroscience tools, including optogenetics, photometry, and two-photon calcium imaging, in mice to identify the role of specific neurons in sleep, learning, and motivation. We also use mouse models of sleep disorders to establish their neural underpinnings and to identify targets for future therapies.

Ada Eban-Rothschild

Assistant Professor, Psychology

The Eban-Rothschild lab investigates the neuronal underpinnings of sleep-wake states and sleep-preparatory behaviors, in health and disease. We probe the neuronal mechanisms linking motivational processes with sleep-wake regulation, and the neuronal substrates underlying the strong association between sleep-wake disturbances and psychiatric disorders. The lab takes a multidisciplinary approach combining ethologically-relevant behavioral manipulations with innovative techniques to record and manipulate neuronal circuits, including EEG/EMG recordings, in vivo calcium imaging, optogenetics, chemogenetics, and input/output circuit tracing.

Louise O'Brien

Research Associate Professor, Neurology
Research Associate Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Associate Research Scientist, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Dr. O'Brien's primary research interest is in the impact of maternal sleep practices in pregnancy and the association with adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, fetal growth restriction, and stillbirth. She also conducts research examining the role of sleep problems in couples seeking treatment for infertility. Another interest is in the neurobehavioral consequences of sleep-disordered breathing in children and sleep in children with medical problems such as cleft palate repair and craniofacial anomalies.  Dr. O'Brien participates in the training of sleep medicine fellows, maternal-fetal medicine fellows, and acts as a mentor for students, post-docs, fellows, and junior faculty interested in sleep research. 

Dinesh Pal

Associate Professor Department of Anesthesiology Molecular & Integrative Physiology Neuroscience Graduate program Michigan Neuroscience Institute Center for Consciousness Science Michigan Psychedelic Center

We study neural mechanisms of physiological (sleep, wakefulness) and pharmacological (anesthesia, psychedelic) states of consciousness in rodents. Our studies employ electroencephalographic recordings, in vivo neurotransmitter quantification, pharmacological interventions, and chemogenetic tools. We also use information-theoretic measures, complexity measures, and spectral analysis of electroencephalographic data to understand the neural changes accompanying different behavioral states.

Cristina Sáenz de Miera

Research Investigator, Molecular and Integrative Physiology

Dr. Sáenz de Miera's primary research interest is in the impact of early life factors on the development of the neural systems controlling reproduction and metabolism. Her current work focuses on studying effects of prenatal photoperiod exposure on offspring's brain development in different mouse strains, using techniques such as single cell RNA sequencing, studying cell proliferation and metabolic phenotype. Another interest is the study of the neural pathways used by the metabolic hormone Leptin to influence reproduction, using transgenic mouse models and genetic tools to manipulate brain circuits.

Giancarlo Vanini

Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesiology / Principal Investigator

Our research uses a systems neuroscience approach to understand how brain circuits regulate interacting states of sleep, wakefulness, anesthesia, and pain. To this end, we use a combination of behavioral assays, electroencephalographic and electromyographic (EEG and EMG) recordings, neurochemical monitoring, calcium imaging in freely behaving mice, neuroanatomical viral tracing, as well as chemogenetic/optogenetic tools to identify and probe neural networks controlling sleep, wakefulness, and nociception.


Lei Yin

Associate Professor, Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Associate Professor, Internal Medicine

The Yin laboratory largely focuses on understanding the molecular regulation of circadian rhythms in mammalian system.  The core clock proteins are the driving forces to generate and maintain the 24h circadian rhythms.  Post-translational modifications of those core clock proteins play important function in determining the basic features of a circadian cycle, including period length, amplitude and phase response.  Our lab is currently studying the role of ubiquitination in regulation of circadian oscillation of the core circadian clock proteins.  One of our long-term goals is to identify the unique E3 ligase and de-ubiquitin specific protease (USP) for individual clock protein and determine their circadian functions in vivo.