The cortical regulation of sleep

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The conventional view is that the cerebral cortex generates state-dependent brain oscillations, while subcortical brain structures control global sleep-wake switching. Although most sleep studies in mammals use cortical activity as a readout of sleep-wake state, the possibility that the cerebral cortex actively contributes to sleep regulation has long been overlooked. My DPhil project demonstrated an essential role for the cortex in both vigilance state control and sleep homeostasis. The now rapidly growing evidence for a cortical regulation of sleep heralds unprecedented opportunities to dissect – and ultimately modulate – the still enigmatic molecular and cellular counterparts of the homeostatic process of sleep regulation.

Dr Krone is a Sir Hir Henry Wellcome Research Fellow working between three sleep research labs in the UK, USA, and Switzerland as well as a deputy consultant in psychiatry and sleep medicine in Bern, Switzerland. For the discovery of a novel sleep regulatory mechanism involving the cerebral cortex in 2021, Dr Krone was awarded early investigator awards by the German, European, and World Sleep Society as well as Research Fellowships by Merton College Oxford and the Wellcome Trust, which now allow him to lead an international research project investigating the cellular mechanisms and neural circuits of cortical sleep regulation