Sensor apparatus being applied to child research subjectAdministrative Research Center (ARC), Room A48
3100 Marine Street
Boulder, CO 80309-0554
phone: 303-492-4584
fax: 303-735-4125

Research Interests


  • Director: Monique K. LeBourgeois, PhD
  • Lab Manager: Madeline Thorud, BA
  • Postdoctoral Fellows: Lauren Hartstein, PhD
  • PhD Student: Sachi Wong, MS
  • MS Students: Leen Abbas, BA, Sophie Choubai, BA
  • Undergraduate Students: Brandon Hiraki, Jessie Bourgan, Kevin Carter, Wendy Acevedo
  • Collaborators: Peter Achermann, PhD, University of Zurich; Mary Carskadon, PhD, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University; John Harsh, PhD, University of Colorado Boulder; Ken Wright, PhD, University of Colorado Boulder; Reto Huber, PhD, University Children’s Hospital (Zurich); Oskar Jenni, MD, University Children’s Hospital (Zurich); Daphne Koinis-Mitchell, PhD, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University; Alison Miller, PhD, University of Michigan; Ronald Seifer, PhD, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University; Sarah Watamura, PhD, The University of Denver; Julia Dmitrieva, PhD, University of Denver; Cecilia Diniz Behn, PhD, Colorado School of Mines; Michelle Garrison, PhD, MPH, Purdue University; Ray Najar, PhD, Ophthalmology Department of NUS School of Medicine and the Singapore Eye Research; Courtney Blackwell, PhD, Northwestern University; Sally Staton, PhD, University of Queensland; Simon Smith, PhD, University of Queensland; Karen Thorpe, PhD, University of Queensland.

2023 team photo

Summer 2023 Research Fellows, Trainees, and Lab Staff

Top Row (Left to Right): Kendall Kessler, Julia Jupille, Brandon Hiraki, Donavan Wallace, Jack Sibrell, Dana Ritterbusch, Abby Inman
Middle Row (Left to Right): Jisoo Yang, Bianca Meurer-Zeman, Sarah Powell, Leen Abbas, Wendy Acevedo, Sureyya Sanchez, Lauren Hartstein, Sophie Choubai, Maddie Thorud
Bottom Row (Left to Right): Unmit Trivedi, Kevin Carter, Abby Asare, Sarah Johlfs, Olivia Gerber, Peyton Johnson, Simone Hersh

Current Research Projects

Persons interested in volunteering to participate in one of these studies should visit our Sleep and Development Laboratory Web site.

Opportunities for Undergraduates

Mary A. Carskadon [MAC] 2023 Sleep and Circadian Rhythms Summer Research Fellowship

Applications for the 2023 MAC Fellowship close December 31, 2022. See application details below.

Program of Research

Light is the strongest environmental signal to the internal circadian (biological) clock of humans. Although the biological response to light has been investigated in adults, very little is known about how light influences the circadian clock of young children. The primary goal of this summer's study is to understand how light can advance the timing of the circadian clock of preschool-age children.

What Research Apprentices Do

This summer study involves creating dim light conditions within a child's home for 3 days. On the first and third evening of the in-home assessment the child remains in dim light, and on the second morning the child is exposed to light during the hour before their usual waketime.

Apprentices will carry out multiple facets of data collection including saliva collection, setting up dim light conditions, training subjects, data entry, assisting with light exposure, and entertaining subjects. Data collection will be done in teams, and each team will be assigned to work certain days of the week - not always Monday through Friday, often Saturday and Sunday - in research protocols that involve working unusual schedules (early shifts may start at 5:00 AM and late shifts may end at 12:00 AM).


  • Bootcamp: There will be an all-day training on April 22 on main campus that apprentices are required to attend. There are no exceptions.
  • Summer: The apprenticeship runs from May 15 - August 25. Apprentices are expected to devote the summer entirely to this academic research experience and not have other jobs or take course work.
  • Retreat: Each apprentice will complete a presentation based upon library research, presented to the group at the end-of-summer retreat at YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch from August 22 - August 25. Additionally, invited scientists in the areas of sleep or circadian rhythms research will give presentations describing their career paths and their scientific research.

Stipend and Other Benefits

Every apprentice will receive $4000. The UROP Assistantship covers $2000, and those who receive the award will be paid an additional $2000 by the lab. Those who do not receive the UROP Assistantship will be paid $4000 directly by the lab. Stipends are subject to taxes and fees, and payments will occur every 2 weeks across the summer starting 2 weeks after the program begins.

  • Apprentices are required to submit a UROP Assistantship application by February 17, 2023. Any funds not covered by UROP will be covered by the lab.
  • Paid travel and lodging for YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch retreat.


Applications for the Summer 2023 Research Fellowship are now CLOSED.

We will be accepting applications until December 31, 2022. Interviews will be held on a rolling basis. The earlier you submit your application, the earlier it will be reviewed by our team.

This research opportunity is open to all CU Boulder undergraduate students. A preview of the application questions can be found here. Please fill out the MAC Fellowship Application. It will ask you to attach your current resume or CV, and unofficial transcript. Candidates will be interviewed in person. Upon acceptance into the program, apprentices will be required to pass a background check.

Recent / Key Publications

  • Hartstein, L.E., Wong, S.D., Abbas, L., Choubai, S., Wilson, J.N., Jablin, T., LeBourgeois, M.K. (2023). Creating the Cave: Conducting Circadian Science in Early Childhood. Clocks and Sleep. Feb 20 (5, 85-93). doi:10.3390.

  • Klerman, E.B., Brager, A., Carskadon, M.A., Depner, C.M., Foster, R., Goel, N., Harrington, M., Holloway, P.M., Knauert, M.P., LeBourgeois, M.K., Lipton, J., Merrow, M., Montagnese, S., Ning, M., Ray, D., Scheer, F., Shea, S.A., Skene, D.A., Spies, C., Staels, B., St-Onge, M., Tiedt, S., Zee, P.C., Burgess, H.J. (2022). Keeping an Eye on Circadian Time in Clinical Research and Medicine. Clinical and Translational Medicine. Dec;12(12):e1131. doi: 10.1002/ctm2.1131.

  • Hartstein, L.E., Diniz Behn, C., Wright, K.P., Akacem, L.D., Stowe, SR., LeBourgeois, M.K. (2022). Evening Light Intensity and Phase Delay of the Circadian Clock in Early Childhood. Journal Biol Rhythms, Nov 22:7487304221134330. doi:10.1177/07487304221134330

  • Hartstein, L.E., Diniz Behn, C., Akacem, L.D., Wright, K.P., LeBourgeois, M.K. (2022). Evening light intensity and melatonin suppression in preschool-aged children. Journal of Pineal Research, Jan 8:e12780.
  • Hartstein, L.E., Diniz Behn, C., Wright, K.P., Akacem, L.D., LeBourgeois, M.K. (2022). Impacts of the lunar cycle on young children’s biological rhythms. Journal of Sleep Research. May 14:e13635. doi: 10.1111/jsr.13635.
  • Wong, S.D., Wright, K.P., Spencer, R.L., Vetter, C., Hicks, L.M., Jenni, O.G., (2022). LeBourgeois, M.K. Development of the circadian clock in early life: Maternal and environmental factors. Journal of Physiological Anthropology. May 16;41(1):22. doi: 10.1186/s40101-022-00294-0.
  • LeBourgeois, M.K., Dean, D.C., Deoni, S.C.L., Kohler, M., Kurth, S. (2019). A simple sleep EEG marker in childhood predicts brain myelin several years later. Neuroimage, Oct; 199: 342-350.
  • Akacem, L.D., Wright Jr., K.P., LeBourgeois, M.K. (2018). Sensitivity of the circadian system to evening bright light in preschool-age children. Physiological Reports, March 6(5).
  • Kurth, S., Riedner, B.A., Dean, D.C., O’Muircheartaigh, J., Deoni, S.C., LeBourgeois, M.K. (2017). Traveling slow oscillations during sleep - a marker of brain connectivity in childhood. SLEEP, 40(9). doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsx121.
  • LeBourgeois, M.K., Hale, L., Akacem, L.D., Chang, A.M., Montgomery-Downs, H., Buxton, O.M. (2017). Digital media and sleep in childhood and adolescence. Pediatrics, 140(Suppl 2), S92-S96.
  • For all other publications please visit here

Active Research Grants

  • 2022-2023, Physiological Mechanisms Underlying Adolescent Nighttime Media Use and Vulnerability to Insufficient Sleep​; Children and Screens, Principal Investigator

  • 2021-2026, Impact of Sleep Duration on Immune Balance in Urban Children with Asthma Sub-award; Daphne Koinis-Mitchell, PI R01-HD057220; NIH/NHLBI, Co-Investigator

  • 2021-2024, Sensitivity of the Circadian Clock to the Spectrum of Evening Light in Early Childhood; Lauren Hartstein, PI, F32-HD103393; NIH/NHLBI, Primary Mentor

  • 2020-2025, Advancing Engagement and Efficacy of Interventions for Co-Morbid Sleep and Behavior Problems in Young Children; Amanda Tarullo, PI, R01-HD095916; NIH/NICHD, Co-Investigator

  • 2020-2024, Australian Research in Childcare and Sleep; Karen Thorpe, Simon Smith, Sally Staton, CO-PIs; National Health and Medical Research Council, Co-Investigaor
  • 2018-2023, The Developing Brain: Influences and Outcomes; Sean Deoni, PI; UH3-0D023313; NIH/NICHD, Principal Investigator
  • 2017-2023, Sensitivity of the Circadian Clock to Light in Early Childhood, R01-HD087707; NIH/NICHD, Principal Investigator