Distinguished Scientist Award

The Distinguished Scientist Award is the Sleep Research Society’s highest award and recognizes significant, original and sustained scientific contributions of a basic, translational, clinical or theoretical nature to the sleep and circadian research field. This award honors a single individual of prominence in the research community over an entire career. Selection criteria generally include:

  • A substantial body of research that is considered inspired, meritorious, and significant, which has a major impact on the field, both nationally and internationally, and, secondarily,
  • Additional substantial or outstanding contributions that have advanced the field.

Nominations for 2020 are now closed.

2019 Recipient

Louis J. Ptáček, MD
Louis J. Ptáček, MD

“It is a great honor to receive this award. Early in my career, all of my work was focused on disease genetics. My interest in circadian/sleep genetics and biology began when my colleague, Chris Jones brought the first familial advanced sleep phase (FASP) subject to my attention. We set out to characterize this large Utah family. This was my entrée into behavioral genetics. Working with Chris and with Ying-Hui Fu, we set out to collect many FASP families and to clone a growing list of genes that when mutated, can cause FASP. More recently, after Ying-Hui and Chris identified and collected the first familial natural short sleep (FNSS) family, we’ve gone on to identify genes involved in the human sleep homeostat. Identification of these Mendelian traits of human sleep behavior is leading to changes in how we view sleep in the general population. With a growing cohort of sleep research colleagues at UCSF, we are beginning to challenge the notion of many who believe that everyone has the same requirements for sleep. Rather, growing understanding of the genetics of human sleep is demonstrating that we must consider an individual’s sleep behavior in the context of their underlying biology and genetics rather than the average patterns and requirements from the general population. While the field has learned so much about circadian and sleep genetics in model systems, it is gratifying that we are learning a lot of novel things about circadian rhythm and sleep genetics from human families. Through generation of fly and mouse models of human circadian and sleep genes/mutations, we are deeply probing the biology regulating human clock and sleep. It is our goal to use such insights to develop better treatments for human sleep disorders. It is very humbling to join the list of luminaries who are past recipients of this award!”

Past Recipients

2018 – David F. Dinges, MS, MA, PhD
2017 – Thomas S. Kilduff, PhD
2016 – Charles M. Morin, PhD
2015 – Derk-Jan Dijk, PhD, FSB
2014 – Sonia Ancoli-Israel, PhD
2013 – Eve Van Cauter, PhD
2012 – Clifford Saper, MD, PhD
2011 – Fred W. Turek, PhD
2010 – Ronald M. Harper, PhD
2009 – Barbara E. Jones, PhD
2008 – Charles Czeisler, PhD, MD
2007 – Mary A. Carskadon, PhD
2006 – James M. Krueger, PhD
2005 – Christian Guilleminault, MD, PhD and Jacques Montplaisir, MD, PhD, CRCPc
2004 – Rosalind D. Cartwright, PhD
2003 – Alexander A. Borbely, MD
2002 – Adrian Morrison, DVM, PhD and Jerome Siegel, PhD
2001 – J. Christian Gillin, MD
2000 – Gerald Vogel, MD
1999 – Michael H. Chase, PhD and Ottavio Pompeiano, MD
1998 – J. Allan Hobson, MD and Thomas Roth, PhD
1997 – Pier Luigi Parmeggiani, MD
1996 – Irwin Feinberg, MD
1995 – Robert W. McCarley, MD
1994 – Dennis J. McGinty, PhD
1993 – Laverne C. Johnson, PhD
1992 – Wilse B. Webb, PhD
1991 – David Foulkes, PhD and William C. Dement, MD, PhD
1990 – Michael Jouvet, MD
1989 – Allan Rechtschaffen, PhD and Mircea Steriade, MD, DSc