Harvard Catalyst Profiles

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Charles Andrew Czeisler, M.D., Ph.D.

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Harvard College, Cambridge, MAA.B. (magna cum laude)1974Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Stanford University, Stanford, CAPh.D.1978Neuro- and Biobehavioral Sciences (William C. Dement M.D., Ph.D.)
Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CAM.D.1981Medical Doctor
Center for Health Policy and Management, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA1983Senior Fellowship in Health Policy (David A. Hamburg, M.D.)
1970 - 1971
Honorary Freshman Scholarship, Harvard College
National top 40 Winner, Westinghouse Science Talent Search
1972 - 1974
Harvard College Scholarship
1974 - 1975
Research Fellowship, Stanford Medical Scientist Training Program
1975 - 1981
Pre-doctoral Fellowship, Stanford Medical Scientist Training Program
1981 - 1983
Josiah Macy Fellowship, Division of Health Policy, Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government
1983 - 1984
Christopher Walker Fellowship
Election as Fellow, American Society for Clinical Investigation
Robert R.J. Hilker, M.D. Award in Occupational Medicine
Election as Member, Association of American Physicians
Phi Beta Kappa, Harvard College
Aschoff's Rule International Award in Circadian Biology
E.H. Ahrens Jr., Award, Association for Patient Oriented Research
William C. Dement Academic Achievement Award, American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Gordon Wilson Award, American Clinical and Climatological Association
Healthy Sleep Community Award (Harvard Work Hours and Health and Safety Group)
NIOSH Director’s Award for Scientific Leadership in Occupational Safety And Health
Honorary Fellowship, Royal College of Physicians
Elected as Member, American Clinical and Climatological Association
Lifetime Achievement Award, National Sleep Foundation
Lord Adrian Gold Medal, Royal Society of Medicine
Distinguished Scientist Award, Sleep Research Society
Mark O. Hatfield Public Policy Award, American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Harriet Hardy Award, New England College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Election as Member, National Academy of Medicine
Election as Member, International Academy of Astronautics
Mary A. Carskadon Outstanding Educator Award, Sleep Research Society
NASA Johnson Space Center Director’s Innovation Award
Michael S. Aldrich Commemorative Award in Sleep Medicine, University of Michigan
National Safety Council Green Cross for Safety Innovation Award for Sleep Matters Initiative
Bernese Sleep Award, University of Bern, Switzerland
Peter C. Farrell Prize in Sleep Medicine, Harvard Medical School Division of Sleep Medicine
J.E. Wallace Sterling Lifetime Achievement Award in Medicine, Stanford Medicine Alumni Association

My laboratory research is focused on understanding the neurobiology of the human circadian pacemaker, located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus, and its interaction with the sleep homeostat, and on applying that knowledge to clinical medicine and occupational health. We are examining the role of the pineal hormone melatonin in the organization of sleep and circadian rhythms. We are investigating the physiological mechanism underlying photic resetting of the human circadian pacemaker, having shown that some blind people without sight can retain normal circadian responsiveness to light. We are now investigating how the timing, duration, intensity and wavelength of light affects its circadian resetting capacity, which is mediated through intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells containing the novel photopigment melanopsin. Current research is aimed at functional determination of the photoreceptor(s) responsible for circadian vision in humans, on adaptation of circadian photoreceptors and on the after-effects of entrainment on circadian period in humans. We are investigating how circadian and homeostatic processes interact to regulate sleep and neurobiological function during wakefulness. Other ongoing research in the lab includes examining novel wakefulness- and sleep-promoting countermeasures, the effect of exercise on the circadian pacemaker, fMRI of the sleep deprived brain, the influence of aging on sleep and circadian rhythms, the influence of chronic sleep restriction on human performance, the influence of space flight on sleep and circadian rhythms and the application of our research to night workers-including medical residents and police-through the work of the Sleep Matters Initiative at Brigham Health.


The research activities and funding listed below are automatically derived from NIH ExPORTER and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing items. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
  1. R01DK127254 (CZEISLER, CHARLES A) Jul 29, 2021 - Apr 30, 2025
    Influence of Nocturnal Light Exposure on the Impairment of Glucose Tolerance Induced by Chronic Sleep Restriction
    Role: Principal Investigator
  2. R01HL148704 (MIGNOT, EMMANUEL J) Sep 1, 2020 - May 31, 2025
    Proteomic and Transcriptomic Biomarkers of Circadian Timing
    Role: Co-Principal Investigator
  3. 1R01HL148704-01A1 (Mignot E, Czeisler CA, MPIs) Sep 1, 2020 - Mar 31, 2024
    Role Description: PROJECT NARRATIVE All fundamental aspects of human physiology, metabolism, and behavior display 24-hour rhythms, and at least 40% of protein-coding genes show daily rhythms in expression in a tissue-specific manner in humans. Our ability to incorporate circadian timing into clinical decision-making is impaired by our inability to measure circadian time quickly and easily, impacting not only treatment for patients with suspected circadian rhythm disorders and other sleep pathologies, but limiting our ability to pursue chronomedicine (delivering treatments at the optimal time of day so as to increase efficacy and/or reduce side effects) as factor in personalized medicine. We aim to fill this technological gap by establishing and refining methods that can estimate circadian time in an individual with a single blood sample take at any time during the day or night.
    Role: M-PI
  4. 5T32HL007901-23 (CZEISLER CA) Jul 1, 2020 - Jun 30, 2023
    Role Description: ABSTRACT In its most recent research plan, the NHLBI's National Center for Sleep Disorders Research identified the need to train investigators as its highest priority. The Harvard Medical School Division of Sleep Medicine Program for Training in Sleep, Circadian and Respiratory Neurobiology, based at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, has been addressing this need since 1998 and has been modified to address the new challenges in our field. This program provides structured, comprehensive research training to prepare outstanding individuals for academic positions in the broad field of sleep science and sleep and circadian medicine. For each trainee, the training program consists of core required courses and activities, elective courses and activities, and an intensive research experience. Cross-disciplinary and translational research is a highlight of this program, and formal mentoring and tracking components are integral features. Intensive research training experiences are available across the breadth of sleep, circadian and respiratory neurobiology areas, including basic as well as clinical and translational research opportunities, with two program projects that span multiple laboratories and institutions. There are 15 Full Preceptors with extensive experience and demonstrated success at training pre- doctoral and post-doctoral fellows, well-funded research programs (training faculty have current research support totaling nearly $30 million of direct costs per year), and outstanding resources that trainees will utilize for research. In addition, we have 17 Associate Preceptors who also oversee our trainees, and are actively being trained to be our next generation of mentors. Our program also has 3 Affiliate Preceptor mentors who provide direct research supervision and research career development related to his or her areas of expertise. Our training record over the past decade reveals the success of our efforts to train leaders in academic sleep science. Of our pre- and post-doctoral trainees funded by this training grant over the last 10 years, 90% of our pre-doctoral trainees remain in academic/research-intensive careers, and 94% of our post-doctoral trainees remain in academic/research-intensive careers, with a full 75% of our post-doctoral trainees remaining in academic medicine (still in academic training or now in faculty positions). Of those still in academic medicine, almost all have a faculty rank of Assistant Professor or higher, and more than 50% have already received external grant support as PI or Co-I, with the remainder well on their way to independence. These data indicate that this training program is very effective at selecting and training scientists who have productive careers in research. Funds are requested to support four pre-doctoral graduate students, three pre-doctoral short-term summer minority medical students and eight post-doctoral trainees. Based on our highly competitive application process, we are confident these slots will be filled by outstanding future leaders. This formal program has grown and been refined over the two decades since its inception, and meets a nationally recognized need to increase the number of highly qualified investigators in sleep and circadian science and sleep disorders medicine.
    Role: PI
  5. 5P01AG009975-20 (CZEISLER CA) Aug 15, 2018 - Jul 31, 2021
    National Institute on Aging
    Sleep, Aging and Circadian Rhythm Disorders
    Role Description: PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Sleep is regulated by circadian rhythmicity and sleep homeostasis, and both are disrupted with age. Sleep deficiency and circadian disruption are risk factors for obesity and Type 2 diabetes, which increase with age. This Program seeks to differentiate the distinct consequences of circadian disruption (while minimizing sleep loss) and sleep loss (while minimizing circadian disruption) on age-related impairments of glucose regulation, and to reveal the mechanisms by which glucose regulation is impaired.
    Role: PI

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Funded by the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through its Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program, grant number UL1TR002541.