Zee, Phyllis, PhD, MD



Zee, Phyllis, PhD, MD





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Neurology; Director Sleep Disorders Center


Abbott Hall, Suite 500 Chicago

Areas of Research

Behavior Cognition Language, Biological Rhythms, Neurobiology of Disease, Systems Neuroscience

NU Scholar Profile


Recent Publications on PubMed


Current Research

Current Research

<strong>Age-related changes of the circadian system and sleep; genetics of sleep and circadian rhythm disorders</strong>

We are interested in how aging alters the circadian clock system of mammals and its relationship to circadian rhythm and sleep disorders in humans. Our laboratory performs basic research with animals, as well as clinical research with humans.

Our basic science studies involve examination of the neurochemical events which underlie aging of the circadian clock. A variety of pharmacological approaches are used to restore the responsiveness of the circadian system to light.

In the clinical setting, we are quantifying exposure to synchronizing agents for the circadian clock in residents of assisted living facilities and to determine whether exposure to scheduled bright light and structured activity cycles will correct some of the age-related changes of the human circadian system and result in the improvement of performance, mood, daytime alertness, and sleep.</p.

On the genetics research, we have identified several families with circadian rhythm disorders and restless legs syndrome. We are in the process of characterizing the phenotype of these patients and collecting DNA samples for genetic analysis.

It is hoped that the combined basic science and clinical approach will lead to important information which can be used to improve nocturnal sleep, daytime performance, and overall quality of life in older adults.