Eve Van Cauter

Interactions between sleep, circadian rhythms and body weight regulation

Eve Van Cauter, PhD
Professor, Department of Medicine – Section of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
University of Chicago (United States)

Keynote Summary: This lecture will review and discuss the epidemiologic evidence that has linked insufficient sleep duration, poor sleep quality and/or circadian misalignment to the risk of obesity, noting that sleep deficiency and circadian disruption strongly interact. Putative causal mechanisms identified in laboratory interventions involving several nights of experimental sleep restriction, fragmentation or extension with and without circadian disruption will be presented, with an emphasis on the role of endocrine mediators in the dysregulation of energy balance. The potential benefits of optimizing sleep and circadian alignment to reduce the risk of obesity, and promote weight maintenance or weight loss will be discussed.

Biosketch: Dr. Van Cauter founded and directed the Sleep, Metabolism and Health Center at the University of Chicago. During the past two decades, research in her laboratory has focused on the interactions between sleep disturbances, circadian dysregulation and the epidemics of obesity and diabetes. Her group identified sleep loss and poor sleep quality as novel risk factors for weight gain and abnormal glucose tolerance. Recent collaborative efforts have focused on the role of endocannabinoids in the mechanisms linking insufficient sleep and dysregulation of hunger and appetite and on the metabolic impact of meal timing. Her laboratory has also published groundbreaking research on the impact of obstructive sleep apnea on the risk and severity of type 2 diabetes and on the metabolic implications of circadian misalignment as occurs in jet lag and shift work.

Eve Van Cauter has received the 2007 Gerald D. Aurbach Award of the Endocrine Society, the 2007 Outstanding Research Award of the Sleep Research Society, the 2010 Peter C. Farrell Prize in Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, the 2013 Distinguished Scientist Award of the Sleep Research Society and the 2016 Priscilla White Lectureship on Metabolism of the Joslin Diabetes Center.