Thomas E. Scammell, M.D.
|Title||Professor of Neurology|
|Institution||Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center|
|Address||Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center|
330 Brookline Ave
Boston MA 02215
Available: 07/01/11, Expires: 07/01/15
The Scammell Lab focuses on understanding the neurobiology of sleep. We spend much of our lives asleep, and yet surprisingly little is known about why we sleep and how the brain controls sleep. These are important questions because sleep disorders affect about ¼ of the population, resulting in problematic sleepiness, troublesome behavior during sleep, and miserable sleepless nights. Much of the work in our lab focuses on Narcolepsy, a common cause of chronic sleepiness that is caused by the selective loss of hypothalamic neurons producing the orexin/hypocretin neuropeptides.
Possible student projects include:
1) Using anatomic and physiologic techniques to map out the neural circuits through which the orexin peptides control wakefulness and regulate REM sleep.
2) Determining how cholinergic neurons in the pons promote arousal.
3) Examining how pain disrupts sleep and why poor sleep worsens pain.
4) Mapping the circuits through which positive emotions trigger cataplexy (brief episodes of paralysis) in narcoleptic mice.
Many projects in the lab use mouse models to understand the function of circuits that control sleep and wakefulness. We use cutting edge physiologic and molecular biologic techniques such as optogenetics, Cre-loxP recombination, construction of new recombinant mice, and tracing of anatomic pathways using conditional expression of fluorescent proteins. We also work with post-mortem human brain tissue to better understand how loss of wake-promoting neurons with traumatic brain injury produces chronic sleepiness in humans.
Does REM Sleep Influence Cataplexy?
Summer, 05/20/10 - 08/31/10
Circadian Rhythms in Mice with Genetic Ablation of the Orexin Neurons
Summer, 07/01/05 - 09/01/05
Local representatives can answer questions about the Profiles website or help with editing a profile or issues with profile data. For assistance with this profile: HMS/HSDM faculty should contact Human Resources at faculty_serviceshms.harvard.edu.