Faculty Profile

Edward Franz Pace-Schott, M.S., M.A., Ph.D.

Edward E. Pace-Schott, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Associate Researcher, Psychiatric Neuroscience, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital

Administrative Title(s)

Director, Sleep and Anxiety Disorders Laboratory

Other Affiliation(s)

See publications

Phone 508-523-4288

Email epace-schott@mgh.harvard.edu

Society Memberships

American Counseling Association
Sleep Research Society

Research Unit(s)

Behavioral Neuroscience Program (MGH)
Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders (MGH)
PTSD Psychophysiology Lab (MGH)
Sleep and Chronobiology Center (University of Pittsburgh)

Research Interests

In the Sleep and Anxiety Disorders Laboratory, we use polysomnography, fMRI, psychophysiology, self-report and related techniques to investigate how sleep helps humans regulate their emotions. Specifically, we study the influence of sleep disturbance on the development of anxiety and traumatic-stress related disorders. Preexisting sleep disturbance increases the odds of incident anxiety disorders and of PTSD following a traumatic stressor. Sleep plays an important role in the consolidation of emotional memory. I am particularly interested in how sleep influences evolutionarily ancient learning and memory processes that contribute to human emotion regulation and are deficient in anxiety disorders and PTSD. Such processes include fear extinction--learning that a once feared object or event is no longer dangerous--and habituation whereby we become less reactive to frequently encountered stimuli. My research strives to identify the effects of sleep on these elemental forms of emotional memory at the levels of behavior, physiology and neural circuits. Extinction and habituation are key components of a first-line treatment for anxiety disorders and PTSD, exposure therapy, a process whereby therapeutically introduced extinction and habituation memories aid in overcoming debilitating fears. We examine sleep and brain activity using experimental models of extinction and habituation. Additionally, we examine sleep effects in clinical applications of extinction learning such those that occur during exposure therapy for anxiety disorders.


Jeehye Seo, Ph.D., 2017-
Per Davidson, Ph.D. 2018-


Mohammed R. Milad, Ph.D.
Roger K. Pitman, M.D.
Rebecca Spencer, Ph.D.
Robert Stickgold, Ph.D.
J. Allan Hobson, M.D.

Research Funding

NIH/NIMH 1R01MH109638
Edward F. Pace-Schott, Ph.D. (PI)
Fear extinction and sleep across the spectrum of severity in post-traumatic hyperarousal.

NIH/NIMH R21MH115279
Edward F. Pace-Schott, Ph.D. (PI)
Interaction of sleep disturbance and anxiety symptoms in the neural and psychophysiological responses to fear conditioning and extinction in Generalized Anxiety Disorder.


Sleep and Mental Health
Fall Semesters 2014-2017, Spring 2019
Harvard Extension School

Sleep and Mental Health
Spring Semester 2018
Mind Brain and Behavior Program Seminar
Harvard University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

The Neurobiology of Sleep and its Role in Mental Health- 2018-2019 academic year
Neuroscience Tutorial, Department of Neurobiology, Harvard University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Selected Publications

Pace-Schott EF, Bottary R, Kim SY, Rosencrans P, Vijayakumar S, Orr SP, Lasko N B, Goetter EM, Baker AM, Bianchi MT, Gannon K, Hofmann SG, Simon NM. Effects of post-exposure naps on exposure therapy for social anxiety. Psychiatry Res. 2018 (in press).

Seo J, Moore KN, Bottary RM, Gazecki S, Song H, Milad MR, Pace-Schott EF. Delayed fear extinction in individuals with insomnia disorder. SLEEP 2018;41(8).

Pace-Schott EF, Zimmerman JP, Bottary RM, Lee EG, Milad MR, Camprodon JA. Resting state functional connectivity in primary insomnia, generalized anxiety disorder and controls. Psychiatry Res. Neuroimaging 2017;265:26-34.

Spencer AE, Marin MF, Milad MR, Spencer TJ, Bogucki OE, Pope AL, Plasencia N, Hughes B, Pace-Schott EF, Fitzgerald M, Uchida M, Biederman J. Abnormal fear circuitry in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a controlled magnetic resonance imaging study. Psychiatry Res. 2017;262:55-62.

Tanev KA, Or SP, Pace-Schott EF, Griffin M, Pitman RK. Positive association between nightmares and heart rate response to loud tones: relationship to parasympathetic dysfunction in PTSD nightmares. J Nerv Ment Dis 2017;205(4):308-312

Pace-Schott EF, Rubin Z, Tracy LE, Spencer RMC, Orr SP, Verga PW. Emotional trait and memory associates of sleep timing and quality. Psychiatry Res. 2015;229(3):999-1010.

Hwang MJ, Zsido RG, Song H, Pace-Schott EF, Miller KK, Lebron-Milad K, Marin MF & Milad MR (in press). Contribution of estradiol levels and hormonal contraceptives to sex differences within the fear network during fear conditioning and extinction. BMC Psychiatry 2016; Nov 18;15:295. doi: 10.1186/s12888-015-0673-9.

Marin MF, Song H, VanElzakker MB, Staples-Bradley LK, Linnman C, Pace-Schott EF, Lasko NB, Shin LM, Milad MR (in press). Resting metabolism in the fear neural network predicts extinction recall activations and clinical measures in trauma-exposed individuals. Am J Psychiatry 2016;173(9):930-938.

Pace-Schott EF, Tracy LE, Rubin Z, Mollica AM, Ellenbogen JM, Bianchi MT, Milad MR, Pitman RK, Orr SP. Interactions of time of day and sleep with between-session habituation and extinction memory in young adult males. Exp Brain Res. 2014;232(5):1443-58.
PMID: 24481663

Pace-Schott EF, Spencer RMC. Age-related changes in consolidation of perceptual and muscle-based learning of motor skills. Front Aging Neurosci, 2013 Nov 29;5:83. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2013.00083.
PMID: 24348418

Pace-Schott EF, Spencer RMC, Vijayakumar S, Ahmed N, Verga PW, Orr SP, Pitman RK, Milad MR. Extinction of conditioned fear is better learned and recalled in the morning than in the evening J Psychiatric Res 2013; 47: 1776-1784.
PMID: 23992769

McKeon S, Pace-Schott E.F., Spencer RMC. Interaction of sleep and emotional content on the production of false memories.
PLoS ONE 2012; 7(11): e49353. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0049353. [PMID: 23145159]

Blagrove M, Fouquet NC, Baird AL, Pace-Schott EF, Davies AC, Neuschaffer JL, Henley-Einion JA, Weidemann CT, Thome J, McNamara P, Oliver H. Turnbull OH. Association of salivary assessed oxytocin and cortisol levels with time of night and sleep stage.
J Neural Transm. 2012; 119:1223-32. [PMID: 22911329]

Pace-Schott EF, Verga P, Bennett T, Spencer RMC. Sleep promotes consolidation and generalization of extinction learning in simulated exposure therapy for spider fear.
J Psychiatric Res 2012; 46:1036-1044. [PMID: 22578824]

Morgan PT, Pace-Schott EF, Mason GF, Forselius E, Fasula M, Valentine GW, Sanacora G. Cortical GABA levels in primary insomnia.
Sleep 2012; 35(6): 807-814. [PMID: 22654200]

Baran B, Pace-Schott EF, Ericson C Spencer, RMC. Processing of emotional reactivity and emotional memory over sleep.
J Neurosci 2012; 32(3):1035-1042. [PMID: 22262901]

Wilson JK, Baran B, Pace-Schott EF, Ivry RB, Spencer RMC. Sleep modulates word-pair learning but not motor sequence learning in healthy older adults.
Neurobiol Aging 2012; 33(5):991-1000. [PMID: 22244090]

Pace-Schott EF, Nave G, Morgan A, Spencer RMC. Sleep-dependent modulation of affectively guided decision-making.
J Sleep Res 2012; 21(1):30-39. [PMID: 21535281]

Blagrove M, Fouquet NC, Henley-Einion JA, Pace-Schott EF, Davies AC, Neuschaffer JL, Turnbull OH. Assessing the dream-lag effect for REM and NREM stage 2 dreams.
PLoS One 2012; 6(10):e26708. [PMID: 22046336]

Pace-Schott EF, Shepherd E, Spencer RMC, Marcello M, Tucker M, Propper RE, Stickgold R. Napping promotes inter-session habituation to emotional stimuli.
Neurobiol Learn Mem 2011; 95(1):24-36. [PMID: 20969968]

McNamara P, Pace-Schott EF, Johnson P, Harris E, Auerbach S. Sleep architecture and sleep-related mentation in securely and insecurely attached people.
Attach Hum Dev 2011; 13(2):141-154. [PMID: 21390907]

Neider M, Pace-Schott EF, Forselius E, Pittman B, Morgan PT. Lucid dreaming and ventromedial versus dorsolateral prefrontal task performance.
Conscious Cogn  2010; 20(2):234-244.[ PMID: 20829072]

Morgan PT, Pace-Schott EF, Pittman B, Stickgold R, Malison RT. Normalizing effects of modafinil on sleep architecture in chronic cocaine users.
Am J Psychiatry. 2010; 167(3):331-340. [PMID: 20080983]

Pace-Schott EF, Hutcherson CA, Bemporad B, Morgan A, Kumar A, Hobson JA, Stickgold R. Failure to find executive function deficits following one night's total sleep-deprivation in university students under naturalistic conditions.
Behav Sleep Med  2009; 7(3):136-163. [PMID: 19568965]

Pace-Schott EF, Milad MR, Orr SP, Rauch SL, Stickgold R, Pitman RK. Sleep promotes generalization of extinction of conditioned fear.
Sleep 2009; 32(1):19-26. [PMID: 19189775]

Pace-Schott EF, Morgan PT, Malison RT, Hart CL, Edgar C, Walker M, Stickgold R. Cocaine users differ from normals on cognitive tasks which show poorer performance during drug abstinence.
Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse 2008; 34(1):109-121. [PMID: 18161649]

Morgan PT, Pace-Schott EF, Sahul ZH, Coric V, Stickgold R, Malison RT. Sleep architecture, cocaine and visual learning.
Addiction  2008; 103(8):1344-1352. [PMID: 18855824]

Pace-Schott EF, Stickgold R, Muzur A, Wigren P, Ward AS, Hart C, Clarke D, Morgan A,
Hobson JA. Sleep quality deteriorates over a binge-abstinence cycle in chronic smoked cocaine users.
Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2005; 179(4):873-883. [PMID: 15672273]

Pace-Schott EF, Stickgold R, Muzur A, Wigren P, Ward AS, Hart C, Walker MP, Edgar C, Hobson JA. Cognitive performance by humans during a smoked cocaine binge-abstinence cycle.
Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse 2005; 31(4):571-591. [PMID: 16320435]

Morgan PT, Pace-Schott EF, Sahul ZH, Coric V, Stickgold R, Malison RT. Sleep, sleep-dependent procedural learning and vigilance in chronic cocaine users: Evidence for occult insomnia.
Drug Alcohol Depend 2006; 82(3):238-349. [PMID: 16260094]

Jacobs GD, Pace-Schott EF, Stickgold R, Otto MW. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and pharmacotherapy for insomnia.
Arch Intern Med 2004; 164(17):1888-1896. [PMID: 15451764]

Kahn D, Pace-Schott E, Hobson JA. Emotion as cognition: feeling and character identification in dreaming.
Conscious Cogn 2002; 11(1):34-50. [PMID: 11883987]

Pace-Schott EF, Gersh T, Silvestri-Hobson R, Stickgold R, Salzman C, Hobson JA. SSRI treatment suppresses dream recall frequency but increases subjective dream intensity in normal subjects.
J Sleep Res 2001; 10(2):129-142. [PMID: 11422727]

Silvestri R, Pace-Schott EF, Gersh T, Stickgold R, Salzman C, Hobson JA. Effects of fluvoxamine and paroxetine on sleep structure in normal subjects: a home based nightcap evaluation during drug administration and withdrawal.
J Clin Psychiatry 2001;62(8):642-652. [PMID: 11561938]

Kahn D, Stickgold R, Pace-Schott EF, Hobson JA. Dreaming and waking consciousness: a character recognition study.
J Sleep Res. 2000; 9(4):317-325. [PMID: 11386201]

Selected Reviews
Pace-Schott EF, Germain A, Milad MR. Sleep and REM sleep disturbance in the pathophysiology of PTSD: the role of extinction memory. Biol Mood Anxiety Disord. 2015; May 29;5:3. doi: 10.1186/s13587-015-0018-9.

Pace-Schott EF, Germain A, Milad MR (2015) Effects of sleep on memory for conditioned fear and fear extinction. Psychol. Bull. 2015; 141(4):835-57

Pace-Schott EF, Jones, BJ (2015) Sleep And Dreaming. Oxford Bibliographies.

Pace-Schott EF, Spencer RMC. Sleep-dependent memory consolidation in healthy aging and mild cognitive impairment. In: Sleep, neuronal plasticity and brain function. Curr Top Behav Neurosci 2014 25:307-330
PMID: 24652608

Pace-Schott EF. Dreaming as a story-telling instinct. Front Psychology 4:159. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00159
PMID: 23565105

Ellenbogen JM, Pace-Schott EF. Drug-induced sleep: theoretical and practical considerations
Pflugers Arch. 2012; 463(1):177-186. [PMID: 21953011]

Pace-Schott EF, Spencer RMC 2011. Age-related changes in the cognitive function of sleep.
Prog Brain Res 2011; 191:75-89.

Blagrove M, Pace-Schott EF. Trait and neurobiological correlates of individual differences in dream recall and dream content.
Int Rev Neurobiol 2010; 92:155-80. [PMID: 20870067]

Edgar CJ, Pace-Schott EF, Wesnes KA. Approaches to measuring the effects of wake-promoting drugs: a focus on cognitive function.
Hum Psychopharmacol 2009; 24(5):371-389. [PMID: 19565524]

Pace-Schott EF, Hobson JA. The neurobiology of sleep: genetic mechanisms, cellular neurophysiology and subcortical networks.
Nat Rev Neurosci 2002; 3(8):591-605. [PMID: 12154361]

Hobson JA, Pace-Schott EF. The cognitive neuroscience of sleep: neuronal systems, consciousness and learning.
Nat Rev Neurosci 2002; 3(9):679-693. [PMID: 12209117]

Muzur A, Pace-Schott EF, Hobson JA. The prefrontal cortex in sleep.
Trends Cogn Sci 2002; 6(11):475-481. [PMID: 12457899]

Hobson JA, Pace-Schott EF, Stickgold R. Dreaming and the brain: toward a cognitive neuroscience of conscious states.
Behav Brain Sci 2000; 23(6):793-842. [PMID: 11515143]

Selected Book Chapters
Pace-Schott EF and Bottary R. (2018) Characterization, Conceptualization, and Treatment of Sleep Disturbances in PTSD. Chapter In F. J. Stoddard, Jr. et al. (Eds.), Primer on Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders. Oxford University Press.

Pace-Schott EF. and Picchioni D. (in press) The neurobiology of dreaming. In: Kryger MH, Roth T, Dement WC (eds.), Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine, pp. 563-575. Sixth Edition. Philadelphia: Elsevier.2017
Pace-Schott EF (2015) Interrelationships between sleep and affect. Forward to: Babson KA and Feldner MT (eds.) Sleep and Affect: Assessment, Theory, and Clinical Implications. Chennai, India: Elsevier.

Pace-Schott EF, Hobson JA. The neurobiology of sleep and dreaming. In: Squire LR, Berg DK, Bloom FE, du Lac S, Ghosh A, Spitzer NC (eds.), Fundamental Neuroscience, Fourth Edition. New York: Academic Press, 2012.

Pace-Schott, E.F.. REM sleep and dreaming. In: Mallick, B.N., Pandi-Permual, S.R., McCarley, R.W., Morrison, A.R. (eds.) Rapid Eye Movement Sleep – Regulation and Function. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2011

Pace-Schott, E.F.. The neurobiology of dreaming. In: Kryger, M.H., Roth, T., Dement, W.C. (eds.), Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine, Fifth Edition. Philadelphia: Elsevier. 2011

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