Here's a look at our friendly staff! Get to know us
....we're pretty awesome.
Professor, Director, Biological Rhythms Research Laboratory
Director, Center for Clinical Chronobiology
I grew up in Australia and Europe and attended the University of Melbourne in Australia for my undergraduate and graduate training. In 1998 I completed my PhD under the supervision of Professor John Trinder. My PhD examined sleep and circadian influences on cardiac autonomic nervous system activity in humans. I moved to Adelaide, Australia to complete my first postdoctoral fellowship with Professor Drew Dawson and learnt more about light, melatonin, thermoregulation, sleep, shift work and managing fatigue in people who work in a variety of occupational settings. In 2000, I moved to Chicago to begin my second postdoctoral fellowship with Professor Charmane Eastman, and learnt more about light and melatonin and promoting circadian adjustment to jet lag and shift work. In 2002 I was appointed to faculty in the Department of Behavioral Sciences here at Rush (see here), and began to explore the impact of short sleep episodes on the circadian system’s response to light. This work led to studies examining the impact of partial sleep deprivation and evening ambient light on circadian function in humans. We have also developed a kit for at-home saliva collection, to facilitate the accurate measurement of circadian timing in the home environment. Through important collaborations both with faculty here at Rush and elsewhere in the US and Australia, I am fortunate to be engaged in numerous studies examining sleep and circadian timing in a range of clinical disorders including alcoholism, autism, chronic low back pain, delayed sleep phase disorder, depression, diabetes, fibromyalgia, HIV, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, migraine and post-traumatic stress disorder. We are very grateful to NIH and private donors for their support of our research.
Professor, Department of Behavioral Sciences
I went to college at SUNY in Albany, N.Y. when I was very young and got a degree in Math. Then I was a lab tech (research assistant) for many years at M.I.T., Harvard and the University of California at Berkeley. I worked with monkeys, rabbits, cats and a few other animals in studies of vision, hearing and smell. I was “super tech” and never planned to go to graduate school. But things change. Finally, I went to the University of Chicago, worked in the sleep lab of Alan Rechtschaffen, PhD., and got a Ph.D. in Biological Psychology. My dissertation was on sleep and circadian rhythms in rats and included a computer model of human circadian rhythms. I stayed for a few years of post doc and studied rats with lesions of the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN, the master circadian clock in mammals).
After my post doc I got a job as Laboratory Director of the Sleep Disorders Service and Research Center and Assistant Professor in the Psychology Dept of our university. I started my research career with an “in house” grant. Then I got an NIH grant and started the Biological Rhythms Research Lab. It was just me and one research assistant and I would help bring light boxes to the homes of our subjects and put black plastic on their windows for my studies on the effects of light on the circadian clock. After several more years and several more NIH grants, they built a new lab for me. It was fun to help design this unique facility for efficiently and rigorously studying human circadian rhythms.
In my lab, we spent many years investigating circadian rhythms in winter depression (also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD)), and bright light treatment of SAD. Our current research focuses on how to reset (phase shift) the human circadian clock with light and melatonin. The aim of these studies is to develop practical solutions to alleviate the problems of shift work, jet lag, and the other “disorders” created by modern society such as the delayed sleep phase disorder and the sleep problems of extreme night owls and most adolescents due to their delayed circadian phases. One day, in 1990, the head flight surgeon at NASA called and asked me to make sleep and bright light schedules to reset the circadian clocks of the astronauts to prepare them for the shift work of space shuttle missions. So I hired a new faculty member, trained her how to make these schedules, and she continued to do them until the end of the space shuttle program.
Over the years, I have had a couple of graduate students from the Neuroscience Graduate Program, a few post docs and many, many research assistants. Many of them, even some research assistants, have become first or secondary authors on publications. Two of them have become faculty members in my lab and now have their own NIH grants and have started their own circadian rhythm research areas. You can read about them, and some other past trainees, elsewhere on this website.
So far, as Principal Investigator, I have received 15 NIH grants for the Biological Rhythms Research lab, adding up to 58 years of funding. I am an author on about 100 publications. You can read about these grants and papers elsewhere on this website.
Stephanie Crowley, PhD
Biological Rhythms Research Laboratory
I grew up on the south shore of Massachusetts in a small town with a beautiful beach! I was an undergraduate at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, which is where I became involved with sleep research in the laboratory of Dr. Amy Wolfson. In 2000, I graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and moved to Chicago, IL, where I was a research assistant here in the Biological Rhythms Research Laboratory under the direction of Dr. Charmane Eastman. After 3 years as a research assistant, I moved back to the east coast to go to graduate school. I earned a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology at Brown University in Providence, RI under the mentorship of Dr. Mary Carskadon and many other wonderful scientists. In 2009, I came full circle back to Chicago and back to the Biological Rhythms Research Laboratory. I am currently an Associate Professor at our affiliated University (see more information here).
My research focuses on changes to sleep and the circadian (~ 24-hour) clock during adolescence, specifically during puberty. I have been privileged to perform research supported by Apollo Health, Inc./Philips Respironics®, the Sleep Research Society Foundation, NIMH, and NHLBI.
Outside of the lab, I volunteer to speak to students in local school classrooms in hopes of educating young people about the importance of healthy sleep as it relates to academic performance, mood, health, and safety. I also like to spend time with my husband, cook, and explore the endless entertainment in Chicago!
Thomas Molina, MS
I first started working at the Biological Rhythms Research Laboratory as a Research Assistant after graduating from Western Illinois University in 2003. After working at the lab for about two years, I decided to re-locate to Michigan to enjoy the great outdoors. I was invited to return to help manage the lab in 2006 by Dr. Eastman and gladly accepted, having explored most of upper Michigan's rivers and lakes. Outside the lab, I am the proud parent of two boys. In my free time I enjoy making art, fishing, hunting, reading, cooking and watching documentaries on any topic.
I recently graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a B.S. in Speech and Hearing Science. Presently, I am pursuing my M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology at Rush University. My desire to become an SLP came from my assistance in a research lab that investigated factors influencing spoken word recognition in cochlear implant users under Dr. Karen Iler Kirk. Additionally, at UIUC I worked in Dr. Karen Rudolph’s psychopathology lab where I conducted interviews with adolescent girls to assess life stress and adversity within various environments, and this lead me to discover my passion for mental health advocacy. Therefore, I am thankful for the opportunity to join Dr. Burgess’ team in the Biological Rhythms Research Lab because it will allow me to continue my involvement in research, which is something I greatly enjoy! Otherwise, I like to spend my time with family and friends, traveling, watching movies, and swimming.
I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2016 with a B.S. in biology and a certificate in global cultures. As an undergraduate at Madison, I worked at the Research Animal Resources Center where I helped to document various pathological outcomes for a number of research projects. I also have experience conducting neuroscientific research. I investigated the link between mindfulness training and overall well-being as a clinical research assistant at the Center for Healthy Minds. In addition, at the Center for Sleep and Consciousness, I explored the mechanisms and functions of sleep by observing the molecular changes in the neuronal structure of sleep-deprived fruit flies. Having worked as an intern in the Department of Preventative Medicine at Rush in 2014, I am excited to return and assist Dr. Burgess with the Veteran Light Study. Outside of work I enjoy exercising, playing soccer, snowboarding, and watching movies.
I was born in Detroit, MI and graduated in 2017 with a B.A. in Chemistry from Michigan State University. While an undergrad, I assisted at the Archive for Research on Child Health, an ongoing project that studies factors that influence health outcomes at birth and early adolescence. I’m interested in medicine and public health, and look forward to helping out with Dr. Crowley’s study on sleep interventions for high-schoolers. Outside of lab, I’ve been having fun exploring the city, and also enjoy cooking, playing sports, and spending time in the sun.
I was born in Cambridge, England and raised in Edina, Minnesota. I just graduated from Northwestern University in 2016 with a BA in biology with a concentration in neurobiology. In the past, I have worked in heart and limb development labs at the University of Minnesota, as well as in emergency room clinical research studies at the Hennepin County Medical Center in downtown Minneapolis. In the future, I would like to pursue a career in medicine, while continuing to stay involved in some form of clinical research. I hope that my experience here at BRRL will enhance my understanding of how clinical research is planned out and conducted. I'm excited to work on Dr. Burgess' grant examining the relationships between circadian biomarkers and alcohol drinking. In my off time, I enjoy cross country skiing, running, tennis, cooking, and eating all kinds of food.
I graduated from Boston University in 2016 with a B.S. in Human Physiology and a Minor in Public Health. During my time at Boston University, I assisted in an immunology laboratory under Dr. Xuemei Zhong and worked as an Exercise Stress Test Lab Intern at Brigham and Women's Hospital. In addition to my research and clinical interests, I enjoy working with underserved populations to learn more about health inequities. I moved to Chicago to dedicate a service year with City Year Chicago to mentor and tutor at-risk youth in the Englewood community. I am excited to have the opportunity to work under Dr. Burgess in the Veteran Light Study -- something that combines my passion for research and serving underserved populations. Outside of work I enjoy yoga, exploring Chicago (and its amazing restaurants!), and cooking.
I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in December 2015 with my B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Molecular and Cellular Biology. At U of I, I assisted in different labs within the animal biology and psychology departments. My interests are in brain and behavior relationships, primarily neurodegenerative diseases and brain injuries. I have enjoyed learning so much about sleep at the BRRL, as well as contributing to the different studies. In September, I will be starting graduate school for rehabilitation psychology. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, biking, cooking, reading, and practicing photography.
I graduated from Oklahoma State University in 2016 with a B.S. in Physiology and a minor in Psychology. During my time as an undergraduate, I participated in research in the Pediatric Health Psychology lab under Dr. Larry Mullins, in which I assisted primarily in a study looking at how a recent pediatric cancer diagnosis affects the parents and family, in addition to the child. During this time, I gathered information about how such life-changing news can affect an individual’s emotions, physical health, and even sleep. I am eager to begin the next stage of my career learning more about sleep in Dr. Crowley’s Teen Sleep Study, and then plan on attending medical school in the next few years. During my free time, I enjoy traveling, hiking, cooking, and spending time with my family, friends, and dogs.
I graduated from Knox College with a B.A. in Neuroscience. My primary focus was substance abuse, drug addiction and investigating novel pharmacotherapies for existing drugs. For my senior thesis study, I looked at atomoxetine (a non-stimulant ADHD drug) and its potential to alleviate symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. I joined the Biological Rhythms Research Laboratory because it gives me the excellent opportunity to work on research with human participants (most drug research involves rats!). I want to attend graduate school and obtain my Ph.D. while continuing to conduct research that involves studying addiction and addictive substances. I spend most of my free time working on computers, practicing mixed martial arts and playing with my kittens Spike and Claymore.
I am a native of the great state of Oklahoma but moved to Chicago when I was 7 years old. I earned my BS in Biology in December 2016 from Loyola University Chicago. At Loyola, I participated in undergraduate research concerning the neurological pathways of fruit fly circadian rhythms based on their feeding behavior under Dr. Daniel Cavanaugh. My passion for chronobiology is what led me to the Biological Rhythms Lab and I am excited to embark on my research career as a member of this team. Having only worked with fruit flies up until this point, I am excited to gain experience working with humans. They are much better at holding conversation. Outside of the lab I like to play with my new puppy, hang out in my backyard, or catch up on whatever TV series currently has my attention.
I grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana and recently graduated in May of 2016 from Saint Mary’s College with a B.A in Communicative Science and Disorders.
I am currently a doctoral student at Rush University pursuing a degree in Audiology and am very excited to be involved with Dr. Burgess’s interesting research at the Biological Rhythms Research Lab. I love Chicago and am having so much fun experiencing city life. When I'm not studying, I like to spend my time with family, friends and Netflix.
I have worked at the Biological Rhythms Research Lab since graduating from college in 2013. I work with Dr. Eastman to create melatonin profiles and extract data like tau and phase shifts. Much of this data was used in a manuscript published by Dr. Eastman about racial differences in phase shift and the body clock during jet travel, for which I was a co-author. I have also work with Dr. Crowley on compiling light histories from subjects to be used in developing ways for people to use light to reset their body clock. I enjoy that the job brings something new and different every day, whether it is learning something new from a participant or seeing interesting results from the analysis.
I am originally from St. Louis, MO, but I have lived in Chicago for the past 10 years. Upon graduating from the University of Chicago in 2011, my first job in research was as an RA for the Biological Rhythms Research Lab (BRRL). After conducting clinical research for a few years, I returned to Rush University in 2016 as a medical student; and, I was elated when an opportunity presented itself for me to return to BRRL. Being in medical school, I have become increasingly aware of how important sleep is for optimal functioning, and I look forward to being a part of a team who is at the forefront of circadian rhythm research. In my spare time, I enjoy watching 90's Disney movies (best soundtracks ever!), reading, and learning to play the guitar.
I started working at the lab shortly after receiving my BA in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago in May of 2015. This past year, my focus has been on helping Dr. Crowley coordinate and run the second phase of her Teen Sleep Health Study. I’ve very much enjoyed interacting with the teen participants and collecting the endless amounts of data! I plan to attend graduate school and obtain my Master’s degree after my time here. Outside of the lab, I enjoy cooking, traveling, and live music.