Outstanding Early Investigator Award

This award recognizes an outstanding research effort by an early-stage investigator in the field of sleep research. The basis for evaluation of a candidate is a single, peer-reviewed publication reporting original research (not a review), supported by a senior investigator’s letter of recommendation that must address specific elements described below. The candidate must be the first author, and the article must be published or accepted for publication in 2020.

The award consists of a plaque and an honorarium to be applied toward registration to attend Virtual SLEEP 2021, the Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies. The plaque will be virtually presented to you at Virtual SLEEP 2021 during the SRS Club Hypnos Reception and mailed later.

To be eligible, the candidate must:

  • Be the first author of the original, peer-reviewed publication,
  • Which must have been published or accepted for publication in 2020,
  • Be a member, in good standing, with the SRS,
  • Hold a terminal degree (e.g., PhD, MD, DO) and be within 7 years of having obtained such degree, as of the January 26, 2021 deadline. If the applicant has taken time away from research and is thus beyond 7 years of having obtained a terminal degree, then the applicant must provide a description of extenuating circumstances (e.g. clinical training, maternity/paternity leave or care of dependents).

Candidates must submit the completed Application Form, as a single PDF or Word Document, which includes:

  1. Complete citation of the article being submitted
  2. Brief description (100-word maximum) of the significance of the article
  3. A copy of the published article. If an article is in press at the time of application, a copy of the written notification of the article’s acceptance for publication must also be included
  4. The name of a senior investigator providing the letter of recommendation. The senior investigator does not need to be an author on the article but should be familiar with the candidate’s role on the research described in the article
  5. Senior investigator letter of recommendation precisely describing the role of the applicant in the 1) design, 2) execution, 3) analysis and 4) writing of the article
  6. Brief description of extenuating circumstances, if applicant is not within 7 years of obtaining terminal degree (e.g., medical or family issues, clinical training period)

Multiple awards may be made, depending on the quality of the applications and availability of funds. Candidates are welcome to apply for the SRS Outstanding Early Investigator Award in addition to the Trainee Merit Awards, but in the event the candidate receives the SRS Outstanding Early Investigator Award, she/he will receive only this award.

2020 Recipients

Haoqi Sun, PhD
Haoqi Sun, PhD Massachusetts General Hospital
“Brain age from the electroencephalogram of sleep” published in the Journal of Neurobiology of Aging in February of 2019

Dr. Haoqi Sun obtained his PhD in computational neuroscience from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, in 2017. He is currently an instructor in Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, as a mentee of Drs. M. Brandon Westover and Robert Thomas. His research has been focused on using computational methods, including statistical causal inference and machine learning, to measure and understand brain health from sleep. His research works has been focusing on (1: measure) sleep-based biomarkers of brain health. For example, sleep EEG based brain age index (BAI) is a potential biomarker that integrates several aspects of overnight diagnostic sleep EEG and quantifies the deviation from the normal trajectory of aging. (2: understand) the interaction between sleep and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). For example, assessing the role of sleep in drug-treated AD animal models.

Li-Feng Jiang-Xie, PhD
Li-Feng Jiang-Xie, PhD Duke University
“A Common Neuroendocrine Substrate for Diverse General Anesthetics and Sleep” published in Neuron on June 5, 2019

Li-Feng obtained his BS and MS from National Taiwan University where he studied the synaptic pathology of autism spectrum disorders. After one-year mandatory military service, he arrived at the United States and started his Ph.D at the Department of Neurobiology in Duke University with Dr. Fan Wang in 2014. He initiated a new direction in Dr. Fan Wang’s laboratory, elucidating the neural circuitry underlying both diverse general anesthetics and sleep with a novel activity-dependent capturing strategy. Using Fos staining, ex vivo brain slice recording, and in vivo multichannel electrophysiology, he discovered a core ensemble of hypothalamic neurons in and near the supraoptic nucleus, consisting primary of neuroendocrine cells, that are surprisingly and persistently activated by multiple classes of general anesthetics. Chemogenetic or optogenetic stimulation of these anesthesia-activated neurons (AAN) strongly promoted slow-wave sleep as measured by polysomnography. On the other hand, inhibition of AAN led to diminished slow-wave oscillation, significant loss of sleep, and shortened duration of general anesthesia. His study reveals a surprising neural substrate underlying diverse general anesthetics and sleep, and illustrates a crucial role of neuroendocrine system in modulating brain and body states. He will work as a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Jonathan Kipnis’ laboratory at Washington University School of Medicine and continue to study the enigma of sleep from the immunology perspective.

Tetyana Kendzerska, MD, PhD
Tetyana Kendzerska, MD, PhD The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute/University of Ottawa
“Cardiovascular Consequences of Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Women: A Historical Cohort Study” accepted in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine on August 27, 2019

Dr. Tetyana Kendzerska is an associate scientist at the Clinical Epidemiology Program, the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, an adjunct scientist at ICES (formerly Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences), a sleep physician at the Civic Campus the Ottawa Hospital Sleep Center, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Respirology at the University of Ottawa with a cross-appointment at the School of Epidemiology and Public Health (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada). Dr. Kendzerska obtained her medical degree and training in Internal Medicine from Bukovinian State Medical University (Chernivtsi, Ukraine). She obtained her Ph.D. degree in Clinical Epidemiology and Health Care Research (2014) and clinical training in Sleep Medicine (2015) at the University of Toronto (Canada). This was followed by a clinical research postdoctoral fellowship at ICES and the University of Toronto (2017). Since March 2017, she has been appointed to the Department of Medicine in the Division of Respirology. Dr. Kendzerska’s research interests include the epidemiology of sleep apnea, particularly the relationship between sleep apnea and cardiovascular disease, mortality, diabetes, depression and cancer, adherence with continuous positive airway pressure treatment, survival analyses, predictive model development and measurement of patient-related outcomes. She is also interested in the epidemiology of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and the role of sleep-related disorders in modulating the health consequences of chronic disease.

Past Recipients

2019 – Jonathan Cedernaes, MD, PhD, Jacqueline Lane, PhD & Masahi Tabuchi, PhD
2018 – Thomas Andrillon, PhD, Daniel B. Kay, Ph, Daniel A. Lee, PhD & Andrey Zinchuk, MD
2017 – Ada Eban-Rothschild, PhD & Keith Hengen, PhD; Jason Gerstner, PhD, Jennifer C. Tudor, PhD & Shirley Xin Li, PhD, DClinPsy
2016 – Jonathan Lipton, MD, PhD, Divya Sitaraman, PhD & Andrea M. Spaeth, PhD
2015 – Christelle Anaclet, PhD & Sha Liu, PhD
2014 – Miranda Lim, MD, PhD, Rachel Markwald, PhD & Simon Warby, PhD
2013 – Josianne Broussard, PhD & John Lesku, PhD
2012 – Jeffrey Donlea, Maxine Bonjean & David Plante
2011 – Matthew Carter, PhD & Siobhan Banks, PhD
2010 – Eva Szentirmai, MD, Tracy Rupp, PhD & Mark R. Smith, PhD
2009 – Sara Aton, PhD, Georgina Cano, & Thien Thang Dang-Vu, MD, PhD