Neurological Foundation Philip Wrightson Postdoctoral Fellowship


Susan Tyree
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Stanford University, USA

Investigation of neural circuits mediating negative outcomes of sleep dysregulation

Investigating the role of a hormone in sleep dysregulation

Sleeping, eating, and stress are all essential for humans to survive. These functions rely on each other, but exactly how they interact is poorly understood. Sleep deprivation is associated with disrupted eating behaviours, increased stress, and increased body mass index. The hormone hypocretin has emerged as a potential key to the interlinked function of these systems. Advanced techniques now allow researchers to view neuronal circuits directly while also controlling their activity. Miss Tyree will study hypocretin neurons and their targets involved with sleep, stress, and eating behaviours in a mouse model, to confirm or deny a role for hypocretin in mediating negative consequences of sleep dysregulation.

Miss Tyree will undertake her Neurological Foundation Philip Wrightson Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine in the United States. Her supervisor, Professor Luis de Lecea, is a global leader in the field of sleep research and his laboratory has pioneered several important discoveries in this field.

Following the completion of her Masters degree at the University of Otago, Miss Tyree was awarded a postgraduate bursary at the German Institute of Human Nutrition where she has studied for the past three years. Miss Tyree’s Stanford research will deepen and broaden her technical skill base and add cutting-edge techniques to her skill repertoire. After the completion of her Neurological Foundation Philip Wrightson Postdoctoral Fellowship, she hopes to return to New Zealand to build her own research lab where she can use her newly developed skills and international connections to further her work.