2012 Farrell Prize Recipient: Allan I. Pack, M.B.Ch.B., Ph.D.

Allan I. Pack, M.B.Ch.B., Ph.D.
John Miclot Professor
Perlman School of Medicine
University of Pennsylvania

On September 27, the 2012 Peter C. Farrell Prize in Sleep Medicine was awarded in celebration of the life and work of Allan Ian Pack, whose powerful sweep of insight and intelligence generated new areas of inquiry in sleep and its disorders.  His wide-ranging work inspired, illuminated, and advanced the study of the neurobiology of sleep apnea, the use of model systems to study sleep, the molecular consequences of sleep loss, and the functions of sleep. Equally accomplished in other areas, he pioneered the development of a medical school-wide, comprehensive sleep center at the University of Pennsylvania and has been an inspirational mentor to a generation of investigators who now themselves are independent contributors.

His notable areas of scientific contribution include:

  • Observing the role of various neurotransmitter systems controlling upper airway motoneuron activity and clarifying their influence in the first identified animal model of obstructive sleep apnea--the English Bulldog

  • Identifying, for the first time, sleep states in Drosophila and C. elegans, thereby dramatically widening the purview of sleep research and furnishing powerful tools of genetic manipulation

  • Elucidating sleep loss from a molecular perspective, including the unfolded protein response, and gleaning from sleep loss studies that a major function of sleep is macromolecular biosynthesis
  • Demonstrating that chronic intermittent hypoxia can lead to loss of neurons in arousal systems in the brain, accounting for chronic sleepiness even after treatment of sleep apnea

  • Illuminating the pathophysiology of sleep disorders and their dangers to the health of older adults
  • Educating the public about the dangers of sleep loss and its contributions to cognitive impairment, cardiovascular risk, and traffic fatalities.



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