Sleep For Science Apprenticeship


Program of Research
Research projects in the lab focus on examining sleep patterns, circadian rhythms, and related processes in adolescents and young adults. Sleep patterns in humans depend upon the complex interplay of distinct extrinsic and intrinsic factors. Research in our laboratory reflects a longstanding interest in the fundamental organization of sleeping and waking patterns in humans. Our group currently has a broad program of research that focuses on the development and regulation of sleep and circadian rhythms in children, adolescents, and young adults. The program’s major projects enable us to examine these issues with experimental paradigms involving manipulating sleep and with studies that evaluate sleep/wake and circadian processes at fundamental mechanistic levels.Summer studies bring adolescents and young adults into the laboratory for extended periods to undertake careful and lengthy assessments of sleep and circadian rhythm control mechanisms. Using such paradigms as forced desynchrony, we measure phase, period, and amplitude of circadian rhythms as well as the strength of the sleep/wake homeostatic process. All these parameters are assessed in relation to developmental stage. Research participants are recruited to “Sleep for Science,” and the participants become collaborators in the research endeavor.

Sleep and Chronobiology Research Lab
The E.P. Bradley Hospital Sleep and Chronobiology Research Lab was established in 1985 and remains part of Bradley Hospital, a Lifespan Partner affiliated with Brown University. The laboratory building, located at 300 Duncan Drive on the campus of Butler Hospital on Providence’s East Side, is a free-standing facility containing a 4-bedroom laboratory, offices, testing areas, storage space, and kitchen facilities and an annex with an assay lab, graduate student offices, a classroom, and additional research space. The laboratory director is Mary A. Carskadon, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Other academic leaders in the laboratory are Katherine Sharkey, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor; Eliza Van Reen, Ph.D., lecturer. Other affiliated faculty and fellows include John McGeary, Ph.D., Valerie Knopik, Ph.D., Rachel Herz, Ph.D., Ron Seifer, Ph.D., Dave Barker, Ph.D., and Chantelle Hart, Ph.D., of Brown University and/or Alpert Medical School of Brown University; Kathleen Perri, M.A., of Valencia College; Leila Tarokh, Ph.D., Zurich University. Core members of the research team at the lab include data coordinator Caroline Gredvig-Ardito; research assistants Dave Bushnell, Erin Campopiano, and Sharon Driscoll; research technologists Ellyn Ferriter and Katie Esterline; administrative secretary Marian Elliott; programmer Michelle Loxley.
Commitment [May 21-August 21, 2013]
  • Summer 2013 Training: FULL time May 21 through June 22, 2013.
  • APSS Meeting: Students are expected to join the Sleep Research Society (cost =$45), and we attend scientific meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS), this year in Baltimore, MD, as part of the training experience. Travel, registration, and accommodations for the meeting are provided through the apprenticeship program.
  • Research Projects: June 23 through August 18, FULL-time involvement on in-lab research project. Apprentices are expected to devote the summer entirely to this academic research experience and not have other jobs or take other course work.
  • Academic Exercise: Each student completes an in-class presentation based upon library research, presented to the group at the end-of-summer colloquium to be held at a retreat from 08/19-21/13. The commitment extends through this retreat. Scientists early in a research career in the areas of sleep or circadian rhythms research give presentations describing their career paths and their scientific research as part of the retreat. [Accommodations at the retreat are provided through the apprenticeship.]
Complete the application form  and submit it by 18 February 2013. Have 2 letters of recommendation (from professors) sent or emailed directly to Dr. Carskadon by the same deadline. Candidates are subsequently interviewed by telephone or in person (if from a local university or college). The application form can be downloaded by clicking on “application form” at the top of this page.Students who are admitted to the apprenticeship through this process are also eligible to enroll in CLPS1194 through the Brown University Office of Continuing Education. Tuition and fees are NOT covered by the Sleep Lab. You will not receive a Brown transcript credit for the experience unless you opt to enroll in this course and pay the university fees.

Undergraduate students with strong interest in behavioral sciences research and who demonstrate enthusiasm for, commitment to, and availability for the full program are encouraged to apply. Previous courses or lab work in sleep or circadian rhythms are helpful but not required. Students from local institutions, especially Brown University, are encouraged to maintain participation in sleep lab activities beyond the summer by working on sleep studies during the school year. Apprentices must reside in or near Providence for the summer. [Graduate students may be accepted under special circumstances. Students may apply for a repeat summer experience as a Senior Research Apprentice (usually no more than 3), with a slightly higher stipend.] Successful applicants are required to apply for student membership in the Sleep Research Society.

What Research Apprentices Learn: Formal Training Program
  • Introduction to normal human sleep and circadian rhythms; role of sleep and circadian rhythms in human behavior and mental health
  • Central nervous system and neurophysiological basis of electroencephalography (EEG)
  • Polysomnographic recording techniques, including EEG, EMG, EOG, EKG, nasal pressure, pulse oximetry, and respiratory plethysmography electrode hookup
  • Operation of monitoring equipment
  • Performance testing procedures, identification of sleep stages
  • Basic lab procedures, including working with human study participants and how to work well with youthful participants
  • Responsible conduct of research
  • Experimental hypotheses, rationale, and methods for laboratory’s summer research projects
  • Preparation for attending a scientific meeting and skills for getting the most out of the meeting
  • Presentation skills, including effective creation and delivery of PowerPoint slide presentation and facets of effective scientific presentations
What Research Apprentices Do
The major research project during the summer assesses the circadian rhythms and sleep homeostatic process in children and adolescents. This project includes lengthy in-lab sessions that involve assessments on non-24-hour days, thus necessitating staff involvement at times that circle the clock.Research Apprentices carry out multiple facets of data collection (electrode application, one–to-one work with research participants, forms and tests administration), data reduction, and data entry. During the research phases of the program, apprentices are assigned to teams and work 5 or 6 days each week—not always Monday through Friday, often Saturday and Sunday—in research protocols that involve working unusual schedules. Although we attempt to assign teams to hours that correspond to team members’ circadian phase preferences, applicants must be able and willing to work on any of the following types of schedules for all or part of the program: “Owl” shifts may begin as early as 2 pm or as late as 9:45 pm and end as early as 10:30 pm or as late as 5:45 am; “lark” shifts may begin as early as 3:00 am or as late as noon and may end as early as 8:45 am or as late as 5:15 pm; “neither” shifts may begin as early as 6:45 am or as late a 3:45 pm and end as early as 11:00 am or as late as 10:15 pm. [Sleep planning assistance is provided to help your adaptation to work schedules; sample schedules are available on request.]

Stipend and Other Benefits
  • $3600* for the summer, housing is not included. (Assistance in locating housing is provided.)
  • Paid registration for the annual scientific meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).
  • Paid travel to and lodgings at the APSS meeting (Baltimore, MD).
  • Paid meals and lodgings at the Research Apprenticeship Summer Retreat (August 19-21).

*Stipends are subject to taxes and fees; they are not tax deductible; SSI fees are charged.


The 2013 summer research project is funded by a grant from the Periodic Breathing Foundation. Academic activities of the summer apprenticeship program are sponsored by a gift from Brown University alumnus, Robert Daly.