As Director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research (NCSDR), Marishka K. Brown, Ph.D., leads the science of sleep and chronobiology into innovative discoveries that improve health. NCSDR, located within the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), is the nexus of NIH sleep and circadian research activities for a network that includes professional associations, public stakeholders, and federal agencies. Dr. Brown’s leadership and experience in partnership building helps sustain and expand this network, bringing the benefits of NIH’s scientific research into medicine and public health.
Dr. Brown has dedicated her career to biomedical research that positively impacts health and safety for everyone. In 2016, she joined NCSDR and directed a dynamic, diverse, and growing portfolio of research that focuses on sleep medicine and sleep disorders. She initiated and led new research programs, such as identifying abnormalities in circadian biology that are linked to heart, lung, and blood disorders. She has spearheaded workshops that showcase how sleep impacts the immune system, lung diseases, child development, cardiovascular disease, mechanisms of early neurocognitive decline, the microbiome, and health disparities. Dr. Brown has coordinated NCSDR’s research with other NIH institutes and centers to study how sleep problems impact social determinants of health and contribute to health disparities. In 2018, she led an interagency committee to organize Sleep and the Health of Women, a national public conference attended by 1,200 participants. She also chairs the working group for sleep health objectives in the Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2030 initiative.
Dr. Brown started her NIH career as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy fellow in the Office of Strategic Coordination, located within the NIH Office of the Director. Her doctorate is in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology where she successfully led research on the role of the unfolded protein response in age-related sleep changes.