Graduate Training in Neuroscience
University of Washington
Professor, Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine
Dr. Opp directs a research program funded by the National Institutes of Health to answer questions related to sleep-immune interactions. One unanswered fundamental question is whether the changes in sleep during infection aid in the recovery process. Conversely, chronic insufficient sleep impairs immune function. Our research has demonstrated that interactions among cytokines (interleukin-1) and neurotransmitters (serotonergic, GABAergic, cholinergic, hypocretinergic systems), play a role in the regulation of natural sleep and in altered sleep during infection. Current projects focus on: 1) prior sleep history as a determinant of clinical outcome in response to systemic infections such as sepsis, and 2) the mechanisms by which insufficient sleep produces CNS inflammation. These studies aim to answer mechanistic questions of how it is that infection alters CNS processes and why chronic insufficient sleep is associated with cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity.