Sleep Research Society &

American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Undergraduate, Graduate and Postgraduate Training Opportunities 

in Basic and Clinical Sleep Research and Sleep Medicine

2001 - V Edition


Home Page








University of Zurich


Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology

University of Zurich

Winterthurerstrasse 190

CH-8057 Zurich



Phone: +41-1 - 635 59 59

Fax: +41-1 - 635 57 07



Faculty (Name, Email address)

Achermann, Peter, Ph.D.

Borbély Alexander A., M.D.

Tobler Irene, Ph.D.

Types of Training Available


Types of Funding Available:

Graduate trainees and Post-doc are funded from research grants

Opportunities for funding will be discussed upon request

Current Trainees (Names and Email address):

Post Doctoral Scientists:

Julie Gottselig, Ph.D.

Oskar Jenni, M.D.

Caroline Kopp, Ph.D.

Esther Werth, Ph.D.

Doctoral Students:

Harald Baumann,

Luca Finelli, dipl.phys.ETH / homepage

Reto Huber, dipl.natw.ETH

Kathrin Jütz,

Daniel Matter,

Jan Schuller, dipl.biol.

Vladyslav Vyazovskiy,

Rebecca Wallimann,

Trainees who have completed training [in the past five years] and current status (Name, Title, Institution, Email):


Primary Research and/or Clinical Focus of Laboratory

Homeostatic and circadian regulation of sleep in humans, other mammals and non-mammalian species
Development of mathematical models of sleep regulation
Development and application of new methods of quantitative topographical EEG analysis
Natural hypometabolic states (daily torpor), sleep and photoperiodism in the Djungarian hamster
Genetic background of sleep and circadian parameters in knockout and transgenic mice
Pharmacological aspects of sleep regulation
Role of potential endogenous sleep substances e.g., melatonin & adenosine receptor agonists and antagonists in sleep regulation
Effects of electromagnetic fields similar to mobile phones on sleep and sleep EEG

Technical Capabilities of Lab

Four bedroom temporal isolation unit with kitchen and bathrooms
Long term digital, polygraphic recording facility, 24 channels (EEG, EMG, EOG, ECG, body and skin temperature, illuminance, breathing parameters, etc.)
32-channel polygraphic recording system for brain mapping during sleep and waking
portable polygraphic recording systems for use in clinical or home environments
12 isolated chambers for sleep recordings in animals 60-100 cages equipped with running wheels and infra red sensors connected to PCs for longterm recording of activity
Climatic chamber (13-23 oC) equipped with 4 animal sleep-recording chambers

Primary Training Focus

Human (Basic)

Other Training Opportunities


Representative Publications For the Last Five Years


www link for the Lab

Faculty Research Interests

Borbély Alexander A., M.D.

Vice-president ("Prorektor für Forschung") of the University of Zurich since 2000.

Main Goals, Keywords: Sleep regulation, circadian rhythm, EEG analysis, brain mapping, molecular genetic analysis of sleep, modeling of sleep and circadian rhythmicity. Sleep and regional cerebral blood flow assessed by PET (collaborative project with Clinic of Nuclear Medicine).

Previous and Current Research: Investigation of the physiological and neurochemical processes underlying the regulation of sleep in humans and animals. Effect of CNS-active substances on sleep, daytime vigilance and body or brain temperature (e.g. benzodiazepine hypnotics and analogs; alcohol, caffeine, melatonin and synthetic congeners; adenosine receptor agonists and antagonists; serotonin-2 antagonists). Comparative sleep physiology. Sleep and circadian rhythms in normal and genetically manipulated mice (collaborative project). Signal analysis of the sleep EEG and mathematical modeling of sleep processes. Changes of regional cerebral blood flow as assessed by PET after sleep deprivation and hypnotics (collaborative project). Sleep and immunology (collaborative projects).

Future Projects: Topographic analysis of the sleep EEG; search for use-dependent local features of sleep; clinical sleep studies

Tobler Irene, Ph.D.

President of the European Sleep Research Society (ESRS). President of the Swiss Society of Sleep Research, Sleep Medicine and Chronobiology.

Main Goals, Keywords: Sleep regulation. Comparative studies in different species. Evolution of sleep and sleep regulation. Molecular genetic aspects of sleep regulation, including the role of prion protein, GABAA and immunology. Circadian rhythms. Hypometabolic states and sleep.

Previous and Current Research: Investigation of the physiological and neurochemical processes underlying the regulation of sleep in animals. Comparative sleep physiology. Evolution of sleep and sleep regulation. Molecular genetic aspects of sleep regulation: Normal function of the prion protein. Role of the GABAA-benzodiazepine receptor in sleep regulation (collaborative project). Sleep and immunology (collaborative project). Natural hypometabolic states and sleep: Torpor in the Djungarian hamster. The role of glycogen in sleep (collaborative project). Sleep and circadian rhythms in transgenic mice (collaborative projects).

Future Projects: Sleep in mice devoid of prion protein. Investigation of global versus use dependent features of sleep in mice and rats.

Achermann, Peter, Ph.D.

Main Goals, Keywords: Sleep and sleep regulation, circadian rhythms: mathematical modeling and biosignal analysis (sleep regulation, circadian rhythms, EEG analysis, brain mapping, modeling).

Previous and Current Research: Signal analysis of the EEG. Mathematical modeling of sleep processes and circadian rhythms. Topographic analysis of the EEG. Effects of pulsed electromagnetic fields of type GSM on sleep and sleep EEG. Sleep and regional cerebral blood flow assessed by PET (collaborative project with Clinic of Nuclear Medicine). Sleep and EEG analysis in parkinsonian and pain patients before and after stereotactic neurosurgery (collaborative project with the Clinic of Neurosurgery), and in stroke patients (collaborative project with Clinic of Neurology, University of Bern). Effects of rapid transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) on EEG topography during waking and subsequent sleep (collaborative project with Psychiatric Neuroimaging Group, University of Bern).

Future Projects: Search for local and use-dependent features of sleep. More emphasis on clinical aspects.