Former AAAS Fellow
Brown Named Director of National Center on Sleep Disorders Research
Dr. Marishka Brown has been named director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research (NCSDR).
Congress established the center within the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in 1993 to coordinate sleep research throughout NIH and other federal agencies. NCSDR serves as a nexus of NIH sleep and circadian research activities for professional associations, public stakeholders and federal agencies.
“After a national search, Dr. Brown emerged as an outstanding choice who captures the key attributes of scientific expertise and program leadership needed to guide the science of sleep and chronobiology into innovative discoveries that improve health,” said Dr. James Kiley, director of the Division of Lung Diseases at NHLBI.
Brown joined NCSDR in 2016 and has directed a growing portfolio of sleep medicine and sleep disorder research, ranging from individual fellowship awards to multisite clinical trials.
Throughout this time, she has initiated and led new research programs, such as identifying abnormalities in circadian biology that are linked to heart, lung and blood disorders. She spearheaded workshops and forums that showcase how sleep impacts the immune system, lung diseases, child development, cardiovascular disease, mechanisms of early neurocognitive decline, the microbiome and health disparities. She also guided NCSDR’s coordination of research with other NIH institutes and centers to better understand how sleep problems affect social determinants of health and contribute to health disparities.
In 2018, Brown led an interagency committee to organize a national conference about advances in Sleep and the Health of Women. Hundreds of physicians, researchers and members of the public, including a virtual audience of 1,200, attended. She will continue to chair the working group responsible for national sleep health objectives in the HHS Healthy People 2030 initiative.
Brown started her NIH career as an American Association for the Advancement of Science science and technology policy fellow in the Office of Strategic Coordination, located within the Office of the Director. Her doctorate is in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology, where she led research on the role of the unfolded protein response in age-related sleep changes.
Brown succeeds Dr. Michael Twery, who served as NCSDR director since 2006, during which sleep and circadian research programs increased at NIH and new interagency coordination activities were initiated.