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Dept. of Pediatrics > Pediatric Sleep Medicine

Pediatric Sleep Medicine

5841 S. Maryland Avenue, MC 2117
Chicago, IL 60637

773-702-1242   Phone (Clinical)
773-702-6878   Phone (Basic Research)
773-702-4819   Fax (Clinical)
773-702-6888   Fax (Basic Research)


David Gozal
, MD
Herbert T. Abelson Professor
Department of Pediatrics
Raoul Wolf
, MD
Professor and Interim Section Chief

Academic Personnel

Leila Kheirandish-Gozal
, MD, MSc
Research Associate (Professor), Director of Clinical Research
Abdelnaby Khalyfa
, PhD
Research Associate (Assistant Professor)
Lisa Medalie
, PsyD
CBSM Clinical Associate of Psychiatry

About the Section

The internationally known physicians/scientists in the Section of Pediatric Sleep Medicine are focused on understanding the fundamental questions of pediatric sleep disorders, advancing diagnostic methods and improving treatment approaches. Their scientific discoveries -- in both the clinical and basic research laboratories – are being applied to children with sleep problems in Chicago and around the world.

Members of our team in the Section of Pediatric Sleep Medicine are closely connected with their colleagues in the University of Chicago Sleep Disorders Center for adult sleep care.

Clinical Program

Our Pediatric Sleep Medicine team includes some of the world’s leading experts in the assessment, treatment, and research of pediatric sleep disorders. Our pediatric sleep medicine team comprises board-certified physicians, child psychologists, clinical and basic scientists, nurses, therapists, and technologists --- all focused on the unique needs of children with sleep problems.

Major clinical programs include:

  1. Non-invasive ventilation: Children who are receiving respiratory support during the night via Continuous Positive Airway support (CPAP) or Bi Level Positive Airway (BiPAP) support are unique and have special needs. A multidisciplinary team that includes the sleep physician, respiratory therapist, child psychologist, child life specialist, and technologist work closely with children and their caretakers to deliver individually-tailored interventions that improve the acceptance and adherence to therapy with existing devices.

  2. Complex Sleep Apnea:
    • A significant amount of children with OSA continue to have persistent symptoms after tonsillectomy.
    • There is an alarming increase in obesity in children and many obese children have higher incidences of obstructive sleep apnea.
    • Older children and obese children are at higher risk for residual OSA after tonsilloadenoidectomy.

    In close collaboration with ear, nose and throat specialists and pediatric orthodontists, we employ multimodality imaging studies, acoustic pharyngometry and rhinomanometry-based physiological measurements, and upper airway endoscopy to assess these children. We assign them the most appropriate therapy, which can be medical, surgical or orthodontic, as based on solidly established multidisciplinary protocols. Of note, our team was the first to develop non-surgical validated approaches to the treatment of sleep apnea in children. Our research efforts are now aimed at furthering innovation through discovery of novel methods for diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea in children.

  3. Insomnia Program: A uniquely trained child psychologist works closely with our sleep physicians to provide a thorough assessment of sleep-onset and sleep-maintenance insomnia in children using validated actigraphy methods and other tools developed through research. In addition, cognitive behavioral therapy, family-centered interventions, and individually-designed pharmacology are implemented to enable optimal outcomes.

  4. Our unique interests and extensive expertise in Restless Leg Syndrome and periodic leg movement disorder of sleep has enabled us to develop highly efficient strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of this frequent condition in children.

  5. In cooperation with our Pediatric Epilepsy Center, we are developing unique approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of seizure disorders during sleep. Collaborative efforts to develop improved software EEG analysis techniques are ongoing.

  6. Teeth grinding, sleepwalking and night terrors can be transient issues or may reflect more serious underlying conditions. We have extensive expertise in the recognition and management of such problems.

  7. Bedwetting is a frequent and recurring problem in children. We work closely with our pediatric urologists to identify the sources of this problem and provide the best treatment for this condition.

Pediatric Sleep Medicine Outpatient Clinics

Duchossis Center for Advanced Medicine
5758 S Maryland Avenue, 3A
Chicago, IL 60637

Merrillville Pediatric Specialists
8528 Broadway
Merrillville, IN 46410

Sleep Diagnostic Centers:

Sleep Disorders Center
University of Chicago Medical Center
5815 S Maryland Avenue, Mitchell W4
Chicago, IL 60637

University of Chicago Pediatric Sleep Medicine
at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital
120 N .Oak Street
Hinsdale, IL 60521

Visit the Comer Children's Hospital Web site for additional information about our pediatric sleep medicine clinical care services.


Pediatric Sleep Medicine Fellowship Program

With the establishment of the new Section of Pediatric Sleep Medicine at the University of Chicago, we are able to offer comprehensive Pediatric Sleep Medicine training to fellowship trainees. This training not only fulfills the ACGME requirements for clinic visits/polysomnographic interpretations, but also provides a strong foundation in pediatric sleep medicine, enabling the fellows to practice confidently after their graduation. This training can be tailored to specific objectives and goals for each trainee based on their residency background. We provide three training tracks:

  1. General fellowship track

    For fellows with non-pediatric residency training

    1. A four-month pediatric elective. Fellows are housed in the Department of Pediatrics. They will participate in pediatric sleep clinics, inpatient sleep consultations and interpretation of polysomnograms with designated pediatric sleep faculty. However, fellows will continue to participate in their adult continuity sleep clinics as required.

    2. (OR)

    3. Training is provided continually throughout the year with one full day or two half days designated for sleep clinics followed by one half day designated for Pediatric PSG interpretations.

  2. Fellowship track with pediatric emphasis:
  3. For fellows with pediatric residency (general pediatrics, pediatric pulmonology and pediatric neurology)

    These trainees spend approximately 75% of their time in pediatrics with 25% (to fulfill minimum ACGME requirements) in adult sleep medicine. It is anticipated that these trainees will be exclusively practicing pediatric sleep medicine after graduation, most likely in a children’s hospital setting.

    The general fellowship track and the fellowship track with pediatric emphasis are funded through the Section of Pulmonology in the Department of Medicine.

  4. Fellowship track with pediatric emphasis and intense research experience:
  5. For fellows with pediatric residency (general pediatrics, pediatric pulmonology and pediatric neurology)

    This track is designated to foster future academic pediatric sleep specialists with robust research credentials. This position is funded through the Section of Sleep Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics. The duration of training is three years – first year clinical training (similar to track 2) followed by two years of research. After completing three years of training, the physician will be able to compete successfully for the K award.


Basic Sleep Research Program

The Basic Sleep Research Program consists of seven research laboratories that actively investigate a diverse range of basic science issues in sleep medicine: neurocognitive and cardiovascular impairments in various models of sleep disorders; molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying these impairments; and genetic and epigenetic links to the morbidity and progression of sleep disorders, among others. Investigators in the program use state-of-the-art animal models to study sleep disorders in patients. They take a multidisciplinary approach integrating physiology, biochemistry, and cellular and molecular biology. The ultimate objective of the program is to contribute to the development of new diagnostic techniques and treatment methods that benefit patients suffering from sleep disorders.

Areas of Research Interest

  • Gene networks and biological pathways that are altered in children with obstructive sleep apnea and obesity and in animal models with intermittent hypoxia and sleep fragmentation.

  • Mechanisms involved in the activation and recruitment of adipocyte progenitor cells during intermittent hypoxia and sleep fragmentation.

  • Immune cell dysregulation in adipose tissues following intermittent hypoxia and sleep fragmentation.

  • Identification and validation of mechanisms underlying proliferative signaling in upper airway lymphoid tissues in children.

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)-associated cardiovascular consequences, such as atherosclerosis and endothelial dysfunction.

  • Neuroprotective effect of neuroglobin in cerebral ischemia and its underlying mechanism.

  • Mechanisms whereby sleep disruption and intermittent hypoxia accelerate neurodegenerative diseases and interrelationships between sleep, learning, memory, and temperature regulation.

  • Architecture of the postsynaptic-density in murine models of sleep loss using proteomic approaches.

  • Identification of biomarkers for obstructive sleep apnea.

  • Involvement of NADPH oxidase and oxidative stress in neurocognitive dysfunction in murine models of obstructive sleep apnea.

  • Participation of endothelium-derived microparticles in mediating inflammatory responses and endothelial dysfunction associated with obstructive sleep apnea.

  • Endothelial progenitor cells and other repairing mechanisms in endothelial dysfunction associated with obstructive sleep apnea.

  • Mitochondrial energy metabolism in sustained and intermittent hypoxia.

  • Mitochondrial respiration and reactive oxygen species (ROS) homeostasis in murine models of obstructive sleep apnea.

  • Mitochondrial inner membrane carriers and neuronal dysfunction in murine models of obstructive sleep apnea.

Spruyt-Gozal Classifier

Readers of the Sleep article, "Unbiased Categorical Classification of Pediatric Sleep Disordered Breathing," may download the Spruyt-Gozal classifier applet (EXE file) to generate the cluster assignment in the (non)hierarchical model for results of any NPSG.

Facilities and Equipment

  • OxiCycler environmental chambers

  • Mass flow controller-assisted hypoxia-hypercapnia chambers

  • Rodent behavioral facility

  • Rodent whole-body plethysmograph

  • DSI telemetry systems

  • Analette biochemical analyzer

  • Radiometer ABL700 blood gas analyzer

  • Leica CM1850 cryostat

  • OxiCycler cell culture chambers

  • Electric cell substrate impedance sensing systems

  • Stage-top incubator and fluorescent imaging system with autofocus

  • Canto II flow cytometer

  • PerkinElmer Victor3V microplate reader

  • Bio-Rad ChemiDoc gel imaging system

  • Cellometer Vision Trio cell profiler system

  • AB real-time PCR system

  • Clarke electrode system

Training and Education