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Dr. Mudasir Ahmad Khanday

Instructor in Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA

The overarching goal of Dr. Khanday's research is to understand the neural regulation of sleep-wakefulness states and mechanisms of sleep apnea. He is employing conditional genetic methods to identify the specific neurotransmitter(s), upstream/downstream connections to understand: 1) neural circuitry activated during sleep apnea and 2) neural mechanisms involved in consciousness. Dr. Khanday’s doctoral thesis was focused on investigating the neurochemistry of sleep, especially how noradrenergic signaling in the pons suppresses REM sleep and how REM sleep is modulated by the noradrenalin(NA)/dopamine/orexin neurons. He demonstrated that NA is released from the axon terminals of locus coeruleus (LC) neurons, and this then suppresses the activity of neurons in the pedunculopontine tegmental (PPT) nucleus that promotes REM sleep. He also demonstrated that orexin terminals on the locus coeruleus and PPT neuron are mediating arousal through orexin 1 receptor. Furthermore, activation of substantia nigra increased REM sleep and this increased REM sleep is through dopamine receptor 2.