The Sleep Research Society (SRS) has selected three outstanding sleep and circadian scientists as recipients of the 2020 Sleep Research Society awards, which recognize excellence in sleep and circadian research.

SRS members were invited to nominate colleagues for the awards. The 2020 SRS award recipients, who were selected by the SRS board of directors, are:

2020 Distinguished Scientist Award
Phyllis C. Zee, MD, PhD

Dr. Zee has made numerous invaluable contributions to the growth of the sleep and circadian field. For example, in 2014 she established, and continues to lead, the first circadian medicine clinic in the USA. This clinic has the potential to help raise the profile and accessibility of circadian medicine, a long-neglected aspect of the field.  Dr. Zee was chair of the NIH National Sleep Disorders Research Advisory Board and served as a member of the NIH National Heart, Lung and Blood Advisory Council.  She is also a past president of the Sleep Research Society, past president of the Sleep Research Society Foundation, and is the current president elect of the World Sleep Society.  She has authored 266 publications that have been cited nearly 7,000 times.   She is a rare example of a physician scientist who can translate the latest ideas from basic research into something meaningful for her patients in the clinic.

2020 Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award
Richard P. Allen, PhD

Dr. Allen is a pioneering scientist whose work on revealing the biological underpinnings of restless legs syndrome (RLS) and developing effective treatments for the disease, is among the most significant achievements of our field. Dr. Allen has published over 300 peer-reviewed articles ranging from pivotal basic discoveries in mice, to effective clinical outcomes for patients with sleep disorders. His seminal contribution to the study of RLS was his discovery that brain iron insufficiency is the primary biological impairment that underlies RLS pathology. Since that discovery, he has published dozens of articles that reveal the neurobiological basis of RLS, and he has meticulously documented the role of dopaminergic signaling on RLS pathophysiology. His work with MRI, autopsy, clinical trials, and a variety of other clinical strategies, were instrumental in the development of diagnostic tools and effective treatment strategies. His work provides the consummate example of the promise of comprehensive scientific approaches to provide effective clinical outcomes for people suffering from disease and disability.

2020 Mary A. Carskadon Outstanding Educator Award
Allan I. Pack, MBChB, PhD

Dr. Pack has sustained, at an incredibly high level, his unwavering commitment to education for more than 40 years, and he has not only been a great mentor to many individuals but he has helped to build systems within institutions, and around the world, to sustain and support these training efforts. The international reach of his mentoring and education efforts are particularly impressive. He has also focused on education throughout a person’s career, not just in the early stages. In addition, some of Dr. Pack’s most impressive efforts include: 1) Director of three of the seven NIH supported sleep training grants [including one that includes Stanford, Michigan and John Hopkins]; 2) development and participation in several international training programs; 3) unwavering advocate for the importance of sustaining a pipeline of new sleep investigators; 4) development and teaching for curriculums and courses on sleep and circadian science; and 5) training across disciplines and career level. Dr. Pack exemplifies the spirit and action of the Sleep Research Societies Mary Carskadon Outstanding Educator Award.