sleep lab logoAdministrative Research Center (ARC), Room A29
3100 Marine Street
Boulder, CO 80309-0554
phone: 303-735-1923
fax: 303-735-2864

Research Interests

  • Health and safety consequences of sleep and circadian disruption.
  • Influence of sleep and circadian rhythms on human physiology (neuroendocrine, metabolic and immune function) and behavior (sleepiness, memory, learning, mood, cognitive and motor performance) with application to public health and safety.
  • Countermeasures to improve sleep, wakefulness, and health.


  • Director: Kenneth P. Wright Jr., Ph.D.
  • Postdoctoral Fellows:  Christopher M. Depner, Ph.D., and Kate Sprecher, Ph.D.
  • Graduate Students: Alivia Br. Blumenstein, Dasha Cogswell, Austin J. Schreiber, Dana Withrow  
  • Undergraduate Students: Brandon Abell, Minhaz Ali, Paul Bisesi, Alivia Blumenstein, Monaz Engineer, Noah Henry, Michael Kim, Brent Knud-Hansen, Shannon Lanza, Sabrina Linton, Jessa Marsh, Emilee Mickaliger, Claire Ramer, Bailey Reagan, Leah Rotenbakh, Stefanie Rowsell, Alex Smits, Dhipi Srinivasan, Emily Villaseñor, Lauren Walters, Ben Wharton, Jessica Wu.

Current Research Projects

  • Impact of sleep and circadian disruption on the human microbiome and related changes in human physiology and cognition.
  • Biomarkers for insufficient sleep and circadian rhythm disruption (metabolomics and proteomics).
  • Tissue specific alterations in response to insufficient sleep and circadian misalignment.
  • Influence of sleep loss, sleep inertia and circadian disruption on cognitive function.
  • Countermeasures to improve sleep and wakefulness.
  • Physiological and behavioral mechanisms by which insufficient sleep and circadian misalignment contributes to metabolic dysregulation.
  • Countermeasures to improve cardiometabolic health during insufficient sleep.
  • Student-athlete sleep, health and performance.

Persons interested in volunteering to participate in one of these studies should visit the sleep study participant page.

Colorado Sleep and Circadian Research Symposium

The Colorado Sleep and Circadian Research Symposium brings together speakers from diverse areas of circadian and sleep research for a one-day meeting each May or June on the University of Colorado Boulder campus.

Opportunities for Undergraduate Students

  • The requirements for undergraduate students who want a research experience in our Laboratory are:
    • A strong desire to obtain research experiences prior to graduate school, medical school, or advanced study in a health-related field
    • Minimum commitment: One year
    • Minimum hours/week when testing subjects: 8-10 hours (includes journal club)
    • Minimum experience: No prior experience required
    • Must be willing to work with a team
    • Must be able to work various hours during the day, at night, and on weekends.
  • UROP, independent study, honors thesis, and concurrent BA-MS opportunities are available.
  • For more information, contact

Opportunities for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows

  • Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Fellow training is available contingent upon research funding.
  • For more information, contact

Recent Publications

  • Akacem LD, Wright KP Jr, LeBourgeois MK. Sensitivity of the Circadian System to Evening Bright Light in Preschool-Age Children. Physiological Reports doi: 10.14814/phy2.13617, 2018.
  • Depner CM, Melanson EL, McHill AW, Wright KP Jr. Mistimed food intake and sleep alters 24 hour time-of-day patterns of the human plasma proteome. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115: E5390-E5399, 2018.
  • Mason IC, Boubekri M, Figueiro MG, Hasler BP, Hattar S, Hill SM, Nelson RJ, Sharkey KM, Wright KP, Boyd WA, Brown MK, Laposky AD, Twery MJ, Zee PC. Circadian Health and Light: A Report on the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Workshop. Journal of Biological Rhythms doi: 10.1177/0748730418789506, 2018.
  • Melanson EL, Ritchie HK, Dear TB, Catenacci V, Shea K, Connick E, Moehlman TM, Stothard ER, Higgins J, McHill AW, Wright KP Jr. Daytime Bright Light Exposure, Metabolism, and Individual Differences in Wake and Sleep Energy Expenditure During Circadian Entrainment and Misalignment. Neurobiology of Sleep and Circadian Rhythms 4: 49-56, 2018.
  • Swanson CM, Kohrt WM, Buxton OM, Everson CA, Wright KP Jr, Orwoll ES, Shea SA. The Importance of the Circadian System & Sleep for Bone Health. Metabolism 84: 28-43, 2018. 
  • Broussard JL, Reynolds AC, Depner CM, Ferguson SA, Dawson D, Wright KP Jr. Circadian Rhythms versus Daily Patterns in Human Physiology and Behavior; pp 279-295. In V. Kumar Ed. Biological Timekeeping: Clocks, Rhythms and Behaviour, 2017.
  • Drake CL, Wright KP Jr. Shift Work, Shift-Work Disorder, and Jet Lag Disorder. In Kryger MH, Roth T, Dement WC (Eds). Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine. Sixth Edition. 714-725, 2017.
  • McHill AW, Wright KP Jr. Role of sleep and circadian disruption on energy expenditure and in metabolic predisposition to human obesity and metabolic disease. Obesity Reviews 218: 15-24, 2017.
  • Mullins EN, Miller AL, Cherian SS, Lumeng JC, Wright KP Jr, Kurth S, LeBourgeois MK. Acute Sleep Restriction Increases Dietary Intake in Preschool-Age Children. Journal of Sleep Research 26: 48-54, 2017.
  • Reynolds AC, Broussard JL, Paterson JL, Wright KP Jr, Ferguson SA. Sleepy, circadian disrupted and sick: Could intestinal microbiota play an important role in shift worker health? Molecular Metabolism 6: 12-13, 2017.
  • Ritchie HK, Burke TM, Dear TB, Mchill AW, Axelsson J, Wright KP Jr. Impact of sleep inertia on visual selective attention for rare targets and the influence of chronotype. Journal of Sleep Research Apr 4, 2017.
  • Stothard ER, McHill AW, Depner CM, Birks BR, Moehlman TM, Ritchie HK, Guzzetti JR, Chinoy ED, LeBourgeois MK, Axelsson J, Wright KP Jr. Circadian Entrainment to the Natural Light-Dark Cycle Across Seasons and the Weekend. Current Biology 27: 1-6, 2017.


  • 2016-2018, NIH R01 HL132150 NIH/NHLBI, "Biomarkers of Insufficient Sleep and Sleepiness" (PI: Wright, Reisdorph).
  • 2015-2020, N00014-15-1-2809, Office of Naval Research (ONR), "The microbiome and responsiveness to stress: Countermeasure strategies for improving resilience to sleep and circadian disruption" (PI and Team Lead: Wright).
  • 2016-2020, NIH R01 HL135598, NIH/NHLBI, "Sleep and Blood Pressure-Related Endothelial Abnormalities" (PI: Wright, Desouza, Stauffer).
  • 2016-2019, NIH R01 HL131458, NIH/NHLBI, "HIV-1, Insufficient Sleep and Vascular Endothelial Dysfunction" (PI: Desouza, Connick; Wright Co-Investigator).
  • 2012-2018, NIH U01 HL111478, NIH/NHLBI, "Multi-Center Trial of Limiting PGY2&3 Resident Work Hours on Patient Safety" (PI (Colorado): Wright).
  • 2016-2018, Pac-12 Grant , "Health and Performance: Pac-12 Center for Student-Athlete Health and Performance” (PI: McQueen; Wright Co-Investigator).
  • 2016-2019, Mentored Research Scientist Development Award NIH K01 DK110138, NIH/NIDDK, "Effects of physical activity on cardiometabolic impairments associated with insufficient sleep" (PI: Broussard).
  • 2016-2018, University of Colorado, Vice Chancellor of Research Innovative Seed Grant Program (PI: Broussard).
  • 2017-2019, Postdoctoral Individual National Research Service Award, F32 DK111161, NIH/NIDDK, "Mechanisms of Insufficient Sleep Contributing to Metabolic Disease Risk and Impact from ‘Weekend Recovery’ Sleep" (PI: Depner).
  • 2017-2018, Center for Women's Health Research Faculty Research Development Award, "Examining sex differences in the metabolic response to insufficient sleep" (PI: Broussard).
  • 2017-2018, University of Colorado Clinical and Translational Research Center Microgrant Award, "Tissue-specific effects of insufficient sleep" (PI: Broussard).
  • 2017-2018 Colorado Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC, P30DK048520), "Impact of insufficient sleep on peripheral metabolic tissues" (PI: Broussard).