Chiara Cirelli, MD, PhD, of the Wisconsin Institute for Sleep and Consciousness, has been awarded the Sleep Research Society’s “outstanding scientific achievement” award for her groundbreaking work showing the cellular changes caused by sleep deprivation.

Cirelli will be honored June 4, during the plenary session of SLEEP 2018, the 32nd annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Baltimore.

“The Sleep Research Society awards recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of sleep and circadian science,” said Dr. Sean P.A. Drummond, society president. PhD. “This year we had a number of high-quality nominees, so the decision was not easy. I congratulate each of the recipients of the 2018 awards and appreciate all that they have done to help the SRS achieve its mission to advance sleep and circadian science.”

Cirelli is a professor of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. Her research aims to understand the function of sleep and clarify the functional consequences of sleep loss. Her team recently published the results of a four-year research project in the journal Science, including electron microscope photos from inside the brains of mice that suggest what happens in our own brain every day: Our synapses grow fat during the stimulation of daytime, then shrink by nearly 20 percent while we sleep, creating room for more growth and learning the next day

Cirelli’s team is also being honored for discovering the first extreme short sleeper mutant animal model, which they found via large-scale mutagenesis screening in fruit flies.