PHILADELPHIA – David F. Dinges, PhD, professor and chief of the division of Sleep and Chronobiology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and director of the Unit for Experimental Psychiatry, has been selected for the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Sleep Research Society (SRS). The Distinguished Scientist Award is the highest honor the SRS bestows and recognizes significant, original and sustained basic, translational, clinical or theoretical scientific contributions to sleep and circadian research. This award honors a single individual of prominence for contributions over an entire career.

Dinges was selected by the SRS Board of Directors for his enduring service as a tenured professor teaching courses in sleep and chronobiology and conducting research for the past 25 years.

Dinges’ research through his sleep and chronobiology laboratory at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, as well as his extensive field studies, has considerably advanced the understanding of the acute, chronic and cumulative effects of sleep restriction and how sleep need and circadian biology interact to affect physiological and neurobehavioral functions in healthy adults. These broad-reaching seminal studies sponsored over the years by National Institutes of Health, NASA, Department of Defense and Department of Transportation, on the effects of sleep deprivation on human cognitive, neurobehavioral, and physiological functions, and on the consequences of sleep loss for health and safety, have informed public policies to identify and prevent the effects of inadequate sleep.

The honor will be presented to Dinges on June 4, during the plenary session of SLEEP 2018, the 32nd annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, LLC (APSS) in Baltimore. 

The SRS is a professional society of scientific investigators that advances sleep and circadian science research through forums for collaborating and exchange of ideas. The SRS also publishes the peer-reviewed, scientific journal SLEEP, of which Dinges is a former editor-in-chief. More information about the SRS awards is available at

Dinges has published more than 300 scholarly articles that have facilitated public health recommendations, public policies pertaining to prevention and detection of fatigue, and standards related to duty hours in safety-sensitive occupations, including astronauts, pilots, health care professionals, commercial drivers, and first responders. He created and validated the psychomotor vigilance test, one of the most widely used assessments for behavioral alertness pertaining to sleep need and circadian timing.

Dinges is also vice chair for faculty affairs and professional development in the department of Psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine. Beyond his Penn roles, Dinges has served as president of both the World Sleep Federation and of the U.S. Sleep Research Society; as well as on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and National Sleep Foundation. He is also a scientific Team Leader for the National Space Biomedical Research Institute, and an elected member of the International Academy of Astronautics.

Last year, Dinges received the Nathaniel Kleitman Distinguished Service Award from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine in recognition of his dedication to the sleep field. Among other honors, Dinges received the 2001 Mark O. Hatfield Public Policy or Advocacy Award from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine; the 2004 Decade of Behavior Research Award from the American Psychological Association; the 2007 NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest honor NASA awards to a non-Government employee; the 2009 Raymond F. Longacre Award for Outstanding Accomplishment in the Psychological and Psychiatric Aspects of Aerospace Medicine from the Aerospace Medical Association, and the 2016 Pioneer Award from the National Space Biomedical Research Institute.


Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $7.8 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top medical schools in the United States for more than 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report’s survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation’s top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $405 million awarded in the 2017 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center — which are recognized as one of the nation’s top “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report — Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Medicine Princeton Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital – the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, a leading provider of highly skilled and compassionate behavioral healthcare.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2017, Penn Medicine provided $500 million to benefit our community.

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