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WKU biology faculty member receives NIH grant to research effects of sleep loss

Dr. Noah Ashley, an assistant professor in WKU’s Department of Biology, has received a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health to research the effects of inflammation due to sleep loss.

Dr. Noah Ashley

Dr. Noah Ashley

Dr. Ashley was awarded $400,803 for his project titled, “Sympathetic Regulation of Inflammation from Sleep Fragmentation” (NIH 1R15GM117534-01A1). Dr. Ashley said his project will investigate how the sympathetic nervous system reacts to sleep loss and inflammation because it may lead to a variety of health issues, including cardiovascular and metabolic disease.

“Poor sleep habits and sleep abnormalities caused by insomnia, shift work, and sleep-disordered breathing are becoming more prevalent in modern society,” Dr. Ashley said. “Understanding how the sympathetic response contributes to the development of inflammation during sleep loss could lead to novel therapeutic interventions for treating inflammation-dependent disorders, such as cardiovascular and metabolic disease.”

Dr. Ashley studies sleep loss broadly, having researched many facets of the topic. His laboratory also investigates the ecological implications of irregular sleep patterns in arctic songbirds. He hopes that the NIH grant will allow him to expand the scope of his research as well as improve the learning environment for his students.

“This grant will allow me to pursue a new line of research that involves mechanistic and biomedical approaches to studying costs of sleep loss,” Dr. Ashley said. “In addition, I will be able to involve more undergraduate students in my lab to participate in hypothesis-driven research in the fields of endocrinology, immunology and the neurosciences.”

Dr. Ashley’s new NIH grant is a three-year award extending from Sept. 21, 2016, to Aug. 31, 2019. While at WKU, his research program has also been supported by the Kentucky Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network (KBRIN), a statewide program that is supported by a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the NIH (NIH 5P20GM103436).

Contact: Office of Research, (270) 745-6733

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