Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior


Mary A. Carskadon received a BA in psychology from Gettysburg College (1969), is a distinguished alumna of and holds an honorary doctor of sciences degree from that institution.  She holds a doctorate with distinction in neuro- and biobehavioral sciences from Stanford University (1979), earned under the mentorship of William C. Dement, MD, PhD.

Carskadon’s early research with her graduate mentor, Dr. Dement, culminated in the development and application of a standardized measure for daytime sleep tendency, the multiple sleep latency test (MSLT).  This measure remains in use in sleep disorders clinics as a test for excessive sleepiness and narcolepsy.

A major focus of Dr. Carskadon’s scientific activities has been research examining interrelations between the circadian timing system and sleep/wake patterns of children, adolescents, and young adults.  Her findings have raised public health issues regarding the consequences of insufficient sleep for adolescents as well as concerns about early starting times of schools. Her work has affected education policy, prompting the American Academy of Pediatrics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and others to promote later school timing for adolescents.  Many school districts have delayed school start times for middle and high school students, and the state of California passed legislation (Senate Bill 328).

Carskadon has written and published many scientific papers and is the editor of several books.  She has received a number of honors, including the Lifetime Achievement Award of the National Sleep Foundation, Distinguished Scientist and Outstanding Educator (which is now presented in her name) Awards of the Sleep Research Society, a 2023 Brown University Distinguished Research Achievement Award, the 2023 William C. Dement Academic Achievement Award for displaying “exceptional initiative and progress in the areas of academic research…pursuit of knowledge, a commitment to teaching, and an unceasing quest to disseminate truth, American Academy of Sleep Medicine," and the Psychiatric Foundation of North Carolina’s V. Sagar Sethi, M.D., Mental Health Research Award "in recognition of extensive research dedicated to the understanding of the importance of sufficient sleep and regular sleep timing for brain development during childhood and adolescence"  She is an elected Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  She is also the inaugural editor-in-chief of the Sleep Research Society's gold open access journal, SLEEP Advances.

Carskadon is the Director of the EP Bradley Hospital COBRE Center for Sleep and Circadian Rhythms in Child and Adolescent Mental Health funded by the NIH, NIGMS since April, 2021.  The primary goal of the Center is to establish and build a comprehensive and sustainable resource to support the growth of pediatric sleep, circadian rhythms, and mental health research while providing mentorship of junior Research Project Leaders for research and for transitioning to independent scientific careers with external funding.  Extending the reach and accelerating the growth of a cadre of clinical scientists with multidisciplinary training and with the infrastructure to support advancement to independent research careers shows great promise to improve the health and well-being of children and adolescents and their families.

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