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Cardiff Sleep Network

The network demonstrates Cardiff University's marked strength in sleep research, with independent research groups across the University examining sleep from the cellular to whole brain level in health and disease.

The network was created to provide a forum for discussion and communication about the various aspects of sleep research carried out within the University.

Our events allow sleep researchers to interact, such that new collaborations and joint interests can arise organically. We invite external speakers to present their work about different aspects of sleep, and organise an annual meeting at which our students can present their most recent results.


To provide:

  • information about sleep research in Cardiff
  • information about events and opportunities offered by the network
  • a platform to promote cross-school and NHS collaboration
  • a way to raise the profile of sleep research in Cardiff.


Group projects

Planned group projects include:

  • closed loop auditory stimulation of the sleeping rodent brain
  • closed loop auditory stimulation of the human brain with EEG-fMRI
  • home monitoring of sleep in health and disease.

Network members' projects

Seralynne Vann

My lab is generally interested in the role of the medial diencephalon in memory. As part of this, we want to identify the contributions of the wider Papez circuit to memory-related sleep mechanisms. We are investigating the effects of medial diencephalic damage on sleep architecture and replay in rodent models and patient groups.

Khalid Hamandi

My clinical and academic interests are focussed on epilepsy. I also see patients with neurological sleep disorders - parasomnias, and narcolepsy. I manage the video-EEG monitoring unit at University Hospital of Wales (scalp and intracranial stereo-EEG). I am interested in the impact of sleep on epileptic seizures (eg its role in drug resistance) and epilepsy on sleep and the links to plasticity, memory and cross frequency coupling.

Sharmila Khott

I'm interested in sleep mechanisms/physiology as an anaesthetist, also in plasticity, memory and changes following sedation/anaesthesia and alterations in metabolic connectivity. I also manage chronic pain due to various pathologies including MS, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and frequently all of these groups complain about fatigue but poor sleep. Possibly links in with plasticity, memory alterations questions. Harnessing ‘sleep engineering’ to clinical practice.

Penny Lewis

My lab is focussing on manipulating sleep to enhance health and cognitive benefits. We call this ‘sleep engineering’, and achieve it largely through applying auditory tones during sleep. These can be used either to enhance particular oscillation frequencies (closed-loop auditory stimulation), to enhance or suppress particular sleep stages (REM enhancement, SWS suppression), or to trigger memory replays (targeted memory reactivation).

Monica Busse

I am a chartered physiotherapist, trials methodologist and Director for Mind, Brain, Neuroscience Trials in the Centre for Trials Research (CTR) at Cardiff University. Over the last 10 years, my group has worked closely with service users and stakeholders to develop and evaluate complex non-pharmacological interventions.

I currently lead the JPND-funded DOMINO-HD consortium, which is investigating the ways in which physical activity, sleep and nutrition, as assessed using wearable technology, may impact on Huntington’s Disease progression so as to develop new ways to support people with HD to manage these fundamental aspects of their lives.

I am also chief investigator of PACE-HD, a trial within cohort study that utilises wearable devices for recording of sleep and physical activity patterns over 12 months. I am particularly interested in the interplay of sleep and physical activity and how sleep engineering may be applied in neurodegenerative disease.

Chen Song

Sleep research in our group focuses on the following three areas:

  • Functions of sleep: Sleep is essential to brain health and its loss greatly impairs cognition, yet the brain mechanisms underlying the cognitive benefits of sleep remain largely unclear. We use microstructural MRI and functional MRI to investigate how sleep influences the structure of neural connections (eg myelination, axon density, axon diameter) and the function of neural communications (eg processing speed, coding accuracy) that in turn underlie the cognitive benefits of sleep. The findings will shed light on a fundamental question: exactly how does sleep benefit the brain?
  • Mechanisms of sleep: Sleep is a unique biological state, during which the brain is 'disconnected' from the environment, yet it is highly active, and the spontaneous brain activity leads to the spontaneous switching in consciousness between OFF (dreamless sleep) and ON (dream). To understand the mechanisms of sleep, we use simultaneous fMRI-EEG to record sleeping brain activity and investigate how the cortical-subcortical interactions and cortico-cortical interactions underlie the generation and modulation of sleep and the switching in consciousness.
  • Individual differences in sleep: Different individuals differ substantially in their sleep need and their susceptibility to sleep loss. Moreover, the brain activity during sleep exhibits genetically-regulated, trait-like inter-individual variability. To understand the neural basis of individual differences in sleep, we study how the individual variability in sleeping brain activity results from individual differences in brain structure and predicts individual differences in cognitive functions.

Matthias Gruber

My lab focuses on how motivation and salience enhance hippocampus-dependent learning and memory consolidation. We thereby investigate the memory enhancements due to extrinsic reward motivation via monetary incentives and intrinsic motivation via curiosity.

We are particularly interested in how early consolidation (ie during brief post-learning rest periods) and later consolidation (ie during nap or overnight sleep) help to prioritise memory consolidation of salient over less salient information. We use a multi-modal imaging approach using fMRI, dMRI, M/EEG including polysomnography.

Meet the team

Academic staff

Postgraduate students

Associated staff


Upcoming seminars

Next steps


Research that matters

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Our research impact

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