The broad goal of this application is to create and nurture the early development of an interdisciplinary team that will broaden the research scope and accelerate the pace of discovery into the impact of sleep on alertness and cognitive/motor performance. A related goal will be to enable development of new analytical methods to deepen insight into the basic mechanisms linking sleep to alertness and cognitive/motor function. The potential impact of defining these poorly understood mechanisms is great. Less than one-quarter of the population routinely achieves an optimal amount of sleep. Insufficient or disordered sleep reduces quality of life and worker and student performance;impairs mood, judgment, alertness, and cognitive/motor performance;and increases the risk of accidents. Further, the prevalence and consequences of insufficient or poor sleep differ among men and women, different races/ethnicities, and across age groups. Defining how sleep influences alertness and cognitive/motor performance, and how this may differ among key subgroups or between individuals, is of great significance to the promotion of optimal health and well-being. At UIC, we have an ideal opportunity to address this unmet research need by building a cohesive research team representing: nursing and sleep sciences;psychological and physiological sciences;biological and social sciences;and mathematics and engineering. Specifically, we will accomplish the following:
AIM 1 is to institute the team and develop shared terminology around key research concepts and methods. The initial vehicle will be a dedicated research retreat. Two key focus areas illustrate the need for and benefits of interdisciplinary formation: 1) bridging basic animal science to human investigation and 2) developing new mathematical and imaging methods to understand group differences and to predict individual variations in the impact of sleep on daytime function.
AIM 2 is to develop a shared conceptual framework representing cutting edge thinking spanning the represented disciplines. A central activity to achieve this goal will be bi-weekly seminars structured to facilitate sharing key research findings and interpretive concepts in a highly interactive and supportive environment. Consultants also will support this team effort.
AIM 3 is to develop a specific and practical team research agenda. During a second research retreat the team will outline the shape and scope of a realistic research agenda. During year 2, working subgroups will draft and continue to refine sections of the research agenda, prior to team approval and final review by and endorsement by campus administration. Accomplishing these specific aims will strongly position the team to enter its developmental stage, during which multiple research project grants will be submitted. We anticipate the generation of multiple R21, R01 or P01 applications from the team. The team's innovative focus on bridging animal to human investigation, to exploring the basis for group and individual differences in the relationships between sleep, alertness and behavior, and to developing novel mathematical and imaging methods will serve as a model to other teams.
The proposed activities will create and nurture the early development of a new interdisciplinary team. The long- term aim of this team will be to elucidate the basic mechanisms linking sleep, alertness and cognitive/motor performance. Our team will encompass numerous traditional disciplines that do not historically collaborate actively, enabling us to bridge animal investigation to human behavior and to develop new mathematical models, analytical methods and imaging tools to understand how the impact of sleep on alertness and cognitive/motor performance may differ according developmental status, age, gender, race/ethnicity and health status, and even to predict differences between individuals.