Mechanisms and Moderators of Sleep Health (MMoSH Pitt)

"Overall, I feel like the skill I am developing most is communication. Working with people of all different positions at the hospital along with participants outside of the lab has been very helpful for me. I am also developing specific skills with programs like Mindware HRV and Microsoft Office." 


Supervising Faculty:

Dr. Martica Hall



Marissa Bowman

WPIC E-1114


Area of Research:  Biological & Health Psychology, Sleep research


Description of Research:

We are currently seeking directed research students to assist on studies of sleep and health in older adults. We have three ongoing studies that assess: 1) the relation of sleep, circadian rhythms and cardiovascular health among retired shift workers and retired day workers; 2) verbal and nonverbal features of sleepiness and emotional reactivity across a period of sleep deprivation using computer science methods; and 3) sleep-wake cycles, the brain, and depression risk in older, informal dementia caregivers.


Duties of Students:

Students will assist with recruiting participants; acquiring behavioral and imaging data; conducting clinical interviews; managing data; processing and analyzing data; creating graphs and figures; and conducting literature searches. Students will acquire skills in the scoring and processing of actigraphy monitors, heart rate variability records, sleep diaries, and sleep apnea records. Students will also have the opportunity to interact with sleep technicians and other sleep research staff, and they will be able to observe how a sleep research laboratory functions. Students will attend research meetings, learn about the theoretical foundation for the studies, and be exposed to related research going on in the larger lab group.  Students will complete a paper or presentation by the end of the semester (spring) or present findings from an individualized project as a poster (fall).

Additional Requirements:

  • Overall GPA of 3.5 or higher and meet other departmental requirements
  • 2 term commitment; 10 hours/week
  • Interest in sleep research or health psychology and statistics experience are strongly preferred


Terms offered: fall, spring and summer


Number of Students: 6