Sleep Disorders Research Advisory Board (SDRAB) Meeting – December 2, 2021



The Sleep Disorders Research Advisory Board (SDRAB) convened virtually on Thursday, December 2, 2021. SDRAB is a Federal Advisory Committee established by the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993. The meeting opened at 12 Noon ET and closed at 5PM ET. Dr. Gabriel Haddad, presided as Chair.



Dr. Gabriel Haddad, Chair
Dr. Si Baker-Goodwin
Dr. Mariana Figueiro
Dr. Judette Louis
Dr. Wendy Troxel


Dr. Marishka Brown, NHLBI, NIH, Executive Secretary
Dr. Janet He, NINDS, NIH
Dr. Karen Lee, NICHD, NIH
Dr. Mack Mackiewicz, NIA, NIH
Dr. Brian Palen, University of Washington
Dr. Donald Shell, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, DOD
Dr. Shahla Jilani, Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the US Dept. of HHS

Members of the Public Attending

The total number of public attendees watching online as reported by Zoom was thirty-six.

Federal Employees Attending

Forty Federal employees were in attendance via Zoom.


  • The meeting was called into session at 12:00 PM ET as announced in the Federal Register on October 20, 2021 [FR 2021-22828]. This meeting was fully open to the public according to provisions of US code and Federal Advisory Committee Act as amended. The Chair, Dr. Haddad introduced members of the Sleep Disorders Research Advisory Board (SDRAB), the Ex Officio members, and the Ad Hoc participants.

OPENING REMARKS, Dina Paltoo, Ph.D., M.P.H, Assistant Director, Scientific Strategy and Innovation in the Immediate Office of the Director at NHLBI

  • Dr. Paltoo emphasized that sleep and circadian science are primary pillars of research at NHLBI and that the Institute is committed in playing a role in NIH-wide coordination. Dr. Paltoo also focused on the significance of Board participation as means to exchange information, communicate priorities, and provide feedback to NIH.
  • Dr. Marishka Brown was congratulated as she begins her second year with full support of the institute on behalf of Gary Gibbons.


  • Vision for NCSDR; to ensure that sleep is a constant and enduring pillar of all optimal health and disease risk reduction programs as well as specific strategies to support this vision were described.
  • NCSDR regularly updates NHLBI Leadership on Center activities.
  • NCSDR Director invited to present to the NHLBI Advisory Council in Oct 2021.
  • Creation of the NHLBI Sleep and Circadian Interest Group to strengthen ongoing activities within NCSDR’s home base ICO.
  • New programmatic staff hired into NCSDR to support the scientific growth.
  • NCSDR is working closely with NHLBI Office of Science Policy, Engagement, Education, and Communications to promote sleep and circadian research across the NIH, the federal government, and the public.
  • SDRAB welcomed new Ex Officio members.
  • The director of the National Institute of Aging, Dr. Richard Hodes, is scheduled to present at the April 2022 SDRAB meeting.

National Sleep Research Resource (NSRR), Dr. Shaun Purcell & Dr. Susan Redline

  • The NSRR was founded in 2014 and provides data, tools, and signal analysis from data collected from various sleep studies and makes them widely available. The resource provides the large sample sizes of integrated and well-annotated data that makes newer research questions possible.
  • The NSRR system allows users to search across thousands of variables easily—with various endpoints ranging from cognitive decline, to breathing and sleep, and cardiovascular disease outcomes, medications, etc. Engages with the community through the NSRR forum about new data sets and new tools, collaborations, and highlighting research done using NSRR data.
  • The challenges were also discussed including the need of the communities to adopt best practices for data management.
  • SDRAB discussed plans for wearables data and matrices. The Board suggested that the NSRR consider the incorporation of circadian data and other data types relevant to sleep research.

Millennium Cohort Study: Rudolph Rull, Ph.D., M.P.H; Isabel Jacobson, M.P.H; Sheila Castaneda, Ph.D.

  • Millennium Cohort Study representatives described the history and genesis of the research program. The overall objective of the study is to determine long-term health impacts of military service on service members and veterans; and to transition findings to improve and inform policy, interventions, and future research.
  • Focused on sleep specific data collection – in over 260,000 persons.
  • The Millennium Cohort Study is also open to collaborations with external investigators.
  • SDRAB expressed enthusiasm of this valuable resource because of the richness of the data, and there was particular interest pertaining to sex/gender influences and racial/ethnic differences.


American Thoracic Society, Reena Mehra, M.D.

  • Objectives of ATS were summarized recognizing the shared interests between sleep and breathing.
  • Sleep Research Network (SRN) objectives were discussed: foster discussions, publications, as well as research advocacy.
  • ATS Scientific Innovation Center was highlighted, along with ATS PhD and Basic and Translational Working Group activities, SRN Early Career Working Group and its important work, Program Committee. Various research fellowships including, the ASPIRE Fellowship program were described.
  • ATS SRN advocacy efforts and current ATS SRN priorities were described and plans for the next ATS meeting were shared.

Project Sleep, Julie Flygare, J.D.

  • The main goals are research about sleep disorders, sleep education and awareness, addressing sleep health disparities, ensuring access to healthcare, and accelerating treatment options.
  • Congressional activities by the group were highlighted, and further work on advocacy with a newer aim of affecting policy was discussed.
  • Future directions include advancing screening for sleep disorders in the primary care environment, the Sleep Health Disparities Initiative and the groups work to bring the voices of the patient communities forward to all relevant groups.


Imelda S. Wong, Ph.D. Coordinator, Center for Work and Fatigue Research (NIOSH)

  • Described the work of the Center for Work and Fatigue Research (CWFR), launched in May of 2020 with a vision of safe and healthy workspaces free from the effects and consequences of fatigue.
  • Partnerships and projects of the Center cover many sectors including healthcare, agriculture, mining, public safety and transportation. Future needs and directions for research were described.
  • Ideas for aligning future activities between CWFR and NCSDR were described.

Shahla Jilani, M.D.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, HHS

  • Described in detail the role and priorities of the HHS Regional Offices.
    • SDRAB discussed whether there is an opportunity for sleep in the President’s Council on Sports Fitness and Nutrition and recommended that this should be explored.
    • The NCSDR director highlighted the importance of engagement across the federal government.

LEADERSHIP LENS: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Updates, Walter J. Koroshetz, M.D., Director of NINDS, NIH

  • The mission of NINDS is to seek fundamental knowledge about brain and nervous systems and reduce burden of illness—the strategies to execute this goal are multi-fold and include a variety of activities and new tools, and collaborations with relevant stakeholders.
  • Recent substantial science findings in sleep and circadian research by multiple groups were summarized and highlighted.
  • Details of the RECOVER initiative were shared including goal, key scientific aims, and guiding principles of understanding and predict, treat, and prevent PASC (long-COVID).
  • The BRAIN program was described, and it includes the study of relationships of brain circuitry to sleep.
  • The HEAL initiative was described, including work to address and treat pain with non-addictive therapies.
  • The comprehensive suite of NINDS extramural training and career development programs were described in detail, and current challenge of effectively attracting under-represented minorities and groups was discussed.

SCIENTIFIC PRESENTATION, David M. Holtzman, M.D., Professor of Neurology, Washington University School of Medicine.

  • Research describing the role of sleep and circadian rhythms in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia risk.
  • Discussion around the potential bi-directional relationship between sleep and dementia risk and the current thinking around this research area was discussed with the Board.

Trans-NIH Sleep Research Coordinating Committee Programmatic Focus:
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Staff
Shailesh Kumar, Ph.D., Ivana Grakalic, Ph.D.; Dominique Lorang-Leins, Ph.D.

  • Dr. Kumar presented on behalf of NIAAA and shared the overarching goals covering basic science, diagnostic and epidemiology, prevention, treatment, and public health. It was emphasized that the bidirectional relationship between alcohol and sleep needs to be understood more and that research opportunities exist in this space. NIAAA proposed 2022-2027 strategic plan includes a wide array of input towards sleep and alcohol disorders research across multiple sub-areas.
  • There has been steady growth at NIAAA in grants covering sleep and alcohol use, including PTSD, REM sleep, young adults, animal models, and other areas of focus.
  • The group discussed concrete opportunities for collaboration going forward.


12:00 p.m.

Marishka K. Brown, Ph.D.
Executive Secretary

  • Confidentiality/Conflict of Interest Procedures
  • Public Meeting, [22828], October 20, 2021
  • Introduction of the SDRAB Chairperson: Gabriel Haddad, M.D.
  • Introduction of the SDRAB Members and Ex Officio Members

12:10 p.m.
Welcoming Remarks

12:15 p.m.
Report from the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research (NCSDR)

12:25 p.m.
National Sleep Research Resource (NSRR)

National Sleep Research Resource (NSR)

Shaun Purcell, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychiatry
Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Susan Redline, M.D., M.P.H
Peter C. Farrell Professor of Sleep Medicine
Harvard Medical School Professor of Epidemiology
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Brigham and Women’s Hospital

12:50 p.m.
Millennium Cohort Study

Millennium Cohort Study

Rudolph Rull, Ph.D., M.P.H., Principal Investigator
Isabel Jacobson, Ph.D.
Sheila Castaneda, Ph.D.

1:15 p.m.
Updates from Stakeholder Groups

1:35 p.m.

1:45 p.m.
Public Comment (20 minutes total, 3-5 minutes each, including Q&A)

2:05 p.m.
Federal Stakeholder Updates

  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Center for Work and Fatigue Research
    Imelda S. Wong, Ph.D.

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health
    Shahla Jilani, M.D.
    Deputy Chief Medical Officer

2:45 p.m.
BREAK - 15 minutes

3:00 p.m.
Leadership Lens

Walter J. Koroshetz, M.D.
Director, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

4:00 p.m.
Scientific Presentation

David M. Holtzman, M.D.
Professor and Chair of Neurology, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
Scientific Director, Hope Center for Neurological Disorders

4:25 p.m.
Trans-NIH Sleep Research Coordinating Committee Programmatic Focus

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Ivana Grakalic, Ph.D.
Program Officer, Division of Neuroscience and Behavior

Dominique Lorang-Leins, Ph.D.
Program Officer, Division of Neuroscience and Behavior

Shailesh Kumar, Ph.D.
Program Officer, Division of Neuroscience and Behavior

4:45 p.m.
Upcoming Events/Closing remarks

5:00 p.m.
Meeting Adjourns