Postdoctoral Trainees

Priya Borker, MD

Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Fellow
MD, Medicine, Case Western Reserve School of Medicine (2014); Residency, Internal Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (2017)
Mentors: Sanjay Patel, MD, Bernard Macatangay, MD

Dr. Borker received her medical degree at Case Western Reserve University in 2014 with Honors and Distinction in Research. She trained at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts for both her internal medicine residency and sleep medicine fellowship. She is currently completing her Pulmonary and Critical Care fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

She is currently investigating the biological mechanisms by which sleep dysregulation predisposes to inflammation and cardiovascular disease in persons with chronic HIV infection, specifically investigating monocyte activation. Her long-term goal is to understand how sleep contributes to adverse health outcomes, particularly cardiovascular and chronic lung diseases and implement interventions to mitigate this risk.

Postdoctoral Scholar, T32 Translational Research Training in Sleep and Circadian Science
BS, Neuroscience and Slavic Studies, University of Pittsburgh (2016); PhD, Neuroscience, THe University of Arizona (2022)
Mentor: Colleen McClung, PhD

My interests are in understanding the cellular, molecular, and genetic mechanisms behind circadian and seasonal phase shifting in mammals and humans. I am also interested in melatonin’s dualistic role as a both a circadian and seasonal timer and as a potent antioxidant, particularly with regards to its antioxidant and rhythmic properties and roles in mitochondria.

Hannah Dollish, PhD

Amy Hartman, PhD, OTR/L


Postdoctoral Scholar, T32 Translational Research Training in Sleep and Circadian Science
PhD, Rehabilitation Science, University of Pittsburgh
Mentor: Adriane Soehner, PhD

Amy is a postdoctoral scholar in the Translational Research Training in Sleep and Circadian Science T32 program. She has 10 years of clinical experience as an occupational therapist and received her PhD in Health and Rehabilitation Science from the University of Pittsburgh. Amy’s research centers on exploring sleep for children with sensory processing differences. She has a special interest in examining the underlying neurological components of sensory processing dysfunction that impact sleep health. Her long-term goal is to use her research to advocate for sleep intervention in special populations.

Postdoctoral Scholar, T32 Translational Research in Sleep Medicine (2021-2022)
PhD (Neurobiology), University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)
Mentors: Colleen McClung, phD

Madeline is a postdoctoral scholar in the T32 Translational Research Training in Sleep Medicine program. She received a PhD in Neurobiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), where she assessed how the cell’s degradation machinery was dysfunctional in the superior temporal gyrus of subjects with schizophrenia. She is continuing to study schizophrenia in Dr. McClung’s lab, where she now works on identifying differences in both 12 and 24 h transcript expression rhythms in the human prefrontal cortex associated with psychiatric illnesses.

Madeline Scott, PhD

Michelle Stepan

Michelle Stepan, PhD


Postdoctoral Scholar, T32 Translational Research Training in Sleep Medicine
PhD, Psychology, Michigan State University (2019)
Mentors: Kristine Wilckens, PhD, Peter Franzen,PhD

Michelle is a postdoctoral scholar in the Translational Research Training in Sleep Medicine T32 program. She received her doctorate in Psychology from the Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience program at Michigan State University. Michelle’s research broadly focuses on the role of sleep in cognitive and emotional processes. She uses experimental manipulations of sleep duration and sleep architecture to investigate how sleep affects processes such as cognitive control, attention, memory, and emotion regulation and how these processes relate to anxiety and mood disorders. She is also interested in behavioral and pharmacological interventions to improve dysfunction caused by poor sleep. 

Postdoctoral Scholar, T32
PhD, Human Development and Family Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison (2016)
Mentors: Daniel J. Buysse, MD, Martica Hall, PhD and Brant Hasler, PhD

Eunjin is a postdoctoral scholar within the T32 in Clinical and Translational Research Training in Geriatric Mental Health. She received her doctorate in Human Development and Family Studies from University of Wisconsin-Madison and postdoctoral training in Health Psychology from the University of Utah. Eunjin’s research broadly examines the role of sleep as central to the health behaviors in managing chronic illnesses and aging health issues in the context of couple and family relationships.

Eunjin Tracy, PhD


Amanda Tapia, DrPH

Postdoctoral Associate
DrPH (Biostatistics), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2021)
Mentor/s: Meredith Wallace

Amanda is a Biostatistics Postdoctoral Associate working with Dr. Meredith Wallace. She received her Doctor of Public Health degree in Biostatistics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she studied statistical genetics. Her previous work included prediction methods and analysis for multi-omic association studies to examine the effect of genome-, transcriptome-, and metabolome-wide data on blood cell production and function. Her current research focuses on the application of sophisticated statistical methods to understand the temporal relationships among sleep health, cognitive function, and depressive symptoms, with a particular emphasis on disentangling racial inequities that may be present among these relationships.

Graduate Trainees

Adrianna Acevedo-
Fontanez, MS

Adrianna I. Acevedo-Fontánez
PhD Student in Epidemiology
Mentor: Iva Miljkovic, MD, PhD

I received a Bachelor of Science in Natural Sciences and a Master of Science in Epidemiology from the University of Puerto Rico. I worked as a study coordinator and community health educator in several research groups and then I completed a pre-Doctoral Diversity Supplement from the NIH. The Diversity Supplement supported my efforts to peruse a Doctoral degree in Epidemiology which I started in August of 2019 at the University of Pittsburgh. My main research goals are focus on understanding the association between modifiable lifestyle risk factors with obesity and CVD and how we can use this new knowledge to implement sustainable and culturally appropriate prevention strategies to reduce the burden of these illnesses among minority populations.

Pre-Doctoral Student in the Health and Human Development Department
MS, Clinical Exercise Physiology, East Stroudsburg University (2017)
BS, Exercise Science, West Chester University (2016_
Mentor: Christopher E. Kline, PhD

Caitlin is a doctoral scholar studying exercise physiology in the Department of Health and Human Development. She holds her Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology from East Stroudsburg University and is certified through the American College of Sports Medicine as a Clinical Exercise Physiologist. She is an advocate for exercise is medicine. Her research interests include nocturnal cardiovascular physiology. She is interested in studying how vinyasa yoga, a moderate intensity form of yoga, can be used to treat sleep disorders and cardiovascular health.

Caitlin Cheruka, MS,

William Dion, MS


PhD Candidate, Integrative Systems Biology (ISB) Graduate Program, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Michigan State University;
MS in Biological Sciences, Michigan Technological University
Mentor: Bokai Zhu, Ph.D.

I research ultradian biological rhythms, specifically the 12-hour clock that regulates nuclear speckle liquid-liquid phase separation dynamics. I currently study how cellular senescence affects this cell-autonomous clock. My long-term goal is to understand how the 12-hour clock changes in humans as we age.

PhD student in the Department of Communication Science Disorders
Master’s in Speech Language Pathology, University of Pittsburgh
Mentor: Dr. Michael Walsh Dickey, PhD

Emily is a licensed speech language pathologist and is currently 2nd year Ph.D. student in CSD, within the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. She participates as a trainee in the T32 Translational Research Training in Sleep Medicine program. Emily’s research focuses on moderators of language treatment outcomes in individuals with aphasia, an acquired language disorder that can impact one’s ability to produce and understand language. She is interested in how learning ability, which is supported by memory and other non-language cognitive functions, can influence therapy outcomes. Specifically, she aims to examine if post-stroke sleep dysfunction may impact cognitive processes that support learning in people with aphasia, and how this relationship may influence response to language intervention.

Emily Goldberg, MS,


Rachel Sanders, MA,


Program: PhD in Exercise Physiology in the Department of Health and Human Development, School of Education, University of Pittsburgh
Degree (major), University (Year): Masters in Kinesiology, The University of Alabama (2018)
Mentor/s: Christopher Kline, PhD.

My current research interests focuses on examining the association between 24-hour movement behaviors such as sleep, physical activity, sedentary behavior and cardiometabolic health in adults. I’m also interested in intervention studies focusing on the bidirectional relationship between physical activity and sleep. Lastly, I hope to explore the racial/ethnic differences in sleep disorders.

PhD Student, Clinical and Biological & Health Psychology Program
B.Sc., Neuroscience, Dalhousie University (2018)
MS, Psychology, University of Pittsburgh (2020)
Mentor: Kathryn Roecklein, PhD

Delainey is a fourth year doctoral student in the joint Clinical and Bio-Health Psychology program at Pitt. Delainey’s work focused on sleep and circadian disruptions in mood disorders, particularly the role of retinal responsivity in circadian photoentrainment.

Delainey Wescott, MS


Bradley Wheeler, BS


Pre-doctoral student in the School of Computing and Information, University of Pittsburgh
BS, Computer Science
Mentors: Dr. Hassan Karimi, Dr. Meredith Wallace


Brad is a PhD student in the information science program at the University of Pittsburgh. Brad’s research interests are in machine learning and statistical methods for modeling and analyzing high-dimensional data. He has most recently applied his methods to mobile activity monitoring to interpret rest and activity patterns in adolescences.




Trainee Years Research Topic Mentor(s)
Jessica Hamilton, PhD* 2017-2020 Interplay between interpersonal, biological, and psychological processes in the development of depression and suicide among adolescents Peter Franzen, PhD
Chelsea Vadnie, PhD* 2018-2020 SCN manipulations and depression Colleen McClung, PhD; Brant Hasler, PhD
Jonna Morris, PhD* 2018-2019 Effects of sex and gender on sleep in acute and chronic health conditions. Martica Hall, PhD
Rachel Ogilvie, PhD* 2017-2019 Epidemiology of sleep and cardiometabolic disease Sanjay Patel, MD
Ashlee McKeon, PhD* 2016-2017 Identifying and demonstrating engagement of sleep-related neurophysiological targets influencing cognitive performance in military samples with posttraumatic stress disorder and mild traumatic brain injury Anne Germain, PhD
Lynn Baniak, PhD, RN* 2017-2018 The relationship between sleep and frailty status and the effect of CPAP on frailty and other clinical outcomes Eileen Chasens, PhD; Patrick Strollo, MD
Rachel Kolko-Conlon, PhD* 2017-2018 Intergenerational obesity risk and the mechanisms and interventions related to sleep and circadian rhythms in the context of obesity Daniel J Buysse, MD
Ryan Brindle, PhD* 2016-2018 Sleep and cerebrovascular disease Martica Hall, PhD
Adriane Soehner, PhD* 2016 Vulnerability to Bipolar Disorder in Adolescence: Interactions Among Sleep Variability, Familial Risk, and Reward-Control Processes Daniel J. Buysse, MD
Stephen Smagula, PhD* 2017 Depression in dementia caregivers: linking brain structure and sleep-wake risks Martica Hall, PhD
Matthew Cribbet, PhD* 2013-2016 Sleep, health and interpersonal function Martica Hall, PhD
Daniel Kay, PhD* 2013-2016 Sleep and circadian rhythms in humans and non-human primates Brant Hasler, PhD; Daniel J. Buysse, MD
Jessica Levenson, PhD* 2013-2016 Sleep and mood disorders Tina Goldstein, PhD; Peter Franzen, PhD
Heather Gunn, PhD* 2012-2015 Interpersonal functioning and sleep Daniel J. Buysse, MD
Kristine Wilckens, PhD 2012-2015 The role of sleep in brain health and cognition. Daniel J. Buysse, MD
Layla Banihashemi, PhD 2011-2014 Impact of early adversity on pre‐autonomic brain structures and functions Pete Gianaros, PhD; Anne Germain, PhD
Angela McDowell, PhD 2011-2014 Translational studies of sleep and trauma exposure Christopher P. O’Donnell, PhD;
Anne Germain, PhD
Eric M. Davis, MD* 2011-2013 Link between pulmonary arterial hypertension and obstructive sleep apnea Christopher P. O’Donnell, PhD
Salvatore P. Insana, PhD* 2010-2013 Impact of childhood adversity on sleep and mental health outcomes Anne Germain, PhD; David Kolko, PhD
Leah A. Irish, PhD 2011-2013 Sleep as a mechanism linking lifestyle factors with health and illness Martica H. Hall, PhD
Christopher E. Kline, PhD* 2010-2013 Interrelationships between physical activity, sleep, and cardiometabolic risk Martica H. Hall, PhD; Daniel J. Buysse, MD
Brant P. Hasler, PhD* 2009-2012 Complex interrelationships among sleep, circadian processes, and mood Anne Germain PhD; Daniel J. Buysse, MD
Faith S. Luyster, PhD* 2009-2010 Enhancing motivation for CPAP adherence in obstructive sleep apnea Patrick J. Strollo, MD
Benjamin C. Mullin, PhD* 2009-2010 Relationships between sleep disturbance and emotion regulation difficulties Mary Phillips, MD, PhD
Thomas B. Rice, MD* 2008-2010 Complex associations among sleep disordered breathing and cardiovascular disease Anne B. Newman, MD;
Patrick J. Strollo, MD
Alexander Balbir, PhD* 2007-2009 A mouse model of sleep disturbances in PTSD Christopher P. O’Donnell, PhD; Anne Germain, PhD
Michele L. Okun, PhD 2005-2009 Pregnancy-related sleep disturbances and adverse pregnancy outcomes Martica H. Hall, PhD; Daniel J. Buysse, MD
Wendy M. Troxel, PhD* 2006-2009 Dynamic association between relationships, sleep, and cardiovascular risk Daniel J. Buysse, MD;
Martica Hall, PhD
Adam Bramoweth      
*Appointed to T32 Translational Research Training in Sleep Medicine Training Grant
Graduate Students
Trainee Years Research Topic Mentor(s)
Briana Taylor (Milligan) 2012 – 2017 Emotion Regulation as a Potential Mechanism Explaining the Link between Chronotype & Alcohol Use Martica Hall, PhD
Laura Samuelsson 2011 – 2018 Self-reported sleep duration, sleep timing, and sleep disturbance and associations with incident breast cancer risk in a prospective, longitudinal cohort of women during the menopausal transition: The Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation Martica Hall, PhD
Shannon Edward, PsyD 2008-2011 Impact of sleep disturbances on executive function in veterans with and without PTSD Anne Germain, PhD
Carole Boudebesse, MD, MS 2009 Actigraphic measurement of sleep/wake patterns in clinical samples Anne Germain, PhD
Medical Students
Trainee Years Research Topic Mentor(s)
Oberlies, Nicholas 2018 Evaluation of pediatric time-induced sleep endoscopy in the diagnosis of airway obstruction and obstructive sleep apnea Sanjay Patel, MD
Oyefusi, Vivianne 2018 Sleep as a mediator of the association between race and hypertension Martica Hall, PhD
Cristine Oh 2017 The effects of gender and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on objective and subjective experiences of sleep Anne Germain, PhD
Sarah Hogan (Ford) 2017 Temporal spectral sleep relationships and executive function in older adults Kristine Wilckens, PhD
Mikisa Solomon 2017 The interrelationship of sleep, socioeconomic status and mental health disparities in cardiovascular disease risk. Martica Hal, PhD
Alexandra Fortunato, BS* 2016 Longitudinal examination of sleep in youth with bipolar disorder Brant Hasler, PhD
Christopher Mantick, BA* 2016 Sleep Pattern Effects on Short-Term Affect In Adolescents Brant Hasler, PhD
Julia Ngugen, BS* 2016 Effects of dose-dependent sleep disruption and gene-by-environment interactions on fear response Anne Germain, PhD
Gisela Delgado-Rosado, BS 2014 Mood response to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia in patients with insomnia Daniel J. Buysse, MD
Karla Kendrick, BS* 2014 The Impact of Transient Sleep on the Emotional Processing of Social Acceptance/Rejection Among Adolescents. Peter Franzen, PhD
Thomas Mike, BS* 2014 A Model Predicting Adult Substance Use Based on Sleep, Depression, and Anxiety in Pre-adolescents and Adolescents in the Pittsburgh Mother and Child Project Brant Hasler, PhD
Marshall Steele, BS* 2014 Factors Affecting Sleep and PTSD Symptoms in Active Duty Sailors and Marines Anne Germain, PhD
Timothy Ohlsen 2014 The Effect of Sleep Restriction on Risk-taking Behavior during Adolescence Peter Franzen, PhD
Amanda Brase, BS* 2013 Relationship between health status, inflammatory markers and cortisol, and sleep-related behaviors in elderly patients Martica Hall, PhD
Daniel Suter, BS* 2013 Affects of sleep disturbance treatment with Prazosin on PTSD symptoms during wakefulness, REM and NREM sleep in OIF/OEF veterans with PTSD Anne Germain, PhD
You Meme Wu 2010-2012 Predicting daytime symptoms from waking EEG in primary insomnia Daniel J. Buysse, MD
Kyle Duff, BA* 2012 Fatigue, sleep quality, and other disease-related factors in patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease David Benhayon, MD
Frank Fetterolf, MD 2012 Sleep and hippocampal structure in women Martica H. Hall, PhD
Samantha Leathers, BS* 2010-2012 Sleep-related medication use in midlife women Martica H. Hall, PhD
Olga Milgrom, BA* 2010-2012 Effects of cognitive-behavioral treatment for insomnia on functional neuroanatomy during NREM sleep and wake Anne Germain, PhD
Marissa K. Pfoff, BS* 2012 Social Rhythm Therapy for spousally bereaved older adults Timothy H. Monk, PhD
Kelly Middleton, MD 2009-2011 Race differences in autonomic tone during sleep Martica H. Hall, PhD
Mark R. Youngberg, BS* 2008-2010 Clinical and physiological correlates of caffeine and caffeine metabolites in primary insomnia Daniel J. Buysse, MD
Daniel J. Cohen, BA* 2009-2010 Sleep profiles in combat veterans with PTSD Anne Germain, PhD
Steven R. Graham, BA 2008-2010 Primary insomnia and MRI-measured hippocampal volume Daniel J. Buysse, MD
Benjamin Israel, MD* 2009-2010 Measurement of sleep in patients with insomnia and good sleeper controls Martica H. Hall, PhD
Nina M. Fatigati, BA* 2008 A mouse model of sleep disturbances in PTSD Anne Germain, PhD; Christopher, P. O’Donnell, PhD