Candidate: The candidate’s training and fellowships have provided an excellent foundation in biobehavioral
nursing science. To date, the candidate’s training has focused primarily on the neurobiology of sleep, as well
as sleep assessment in the research setting. The primary purpose of this career development award is to
expedite the candidate’s development into an independent nurse scientist with expertise in interventional sleep
research. The K01 training goals include: 1) develop expertise in behavioral sleep interventions for adolescents
with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs); 2) obtain training in adaptive intervention research designs; and 3)
further develop skills in grantsmanship for interdisciplinary clinical translational research.
Environment: The University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) is a premier academic medical center with
an affiliated hospital and clinics across campus that encourages collaboration across disciplines for education
and research. The candidate has established a strong mentoring team at UNMC with highly qualified clinicians
and researchers in the fields of developmental medicine, nursing, and sleep.
Research: The objective of this K01 research proposal is to pilot a sequential, multiple assignment,
randomized trial (SMART) design to compare the impact of a sequence of sleep interventions, based on
participant treatment response, to optimize sleep health in adolescents 10-18 years of with NDDs. Sleep
interventions will include melatonin, a novel behavioral sleep intervention (The Bedtime Bank), and their
combination. This pilot study will inform implementation of a future full-scale SMART design. The proposed
study is a critical first step in developing decision guidelines regarding the use of melatonin and behavioral
sleep interventions to manage sleep disturbances in adolescents with NDDs. The proposed career
development award will provide the necessary training to expedite the candidate’s development into an
independent tenure-track investigator with expertise in sleep interventions for adolescents at risk for sleep
disturbances. Long-term research goals are to 1) contribute to evidence-based guidelines for sleep
interventions for children and adolescents with NDDs; 2) further explore the interaction between sleep-related
phenotypes, biology, and genetics in children and adolescents at-risk for sleep disturbances; and 3) translate
evidence-based sleep interventions from research to clinical practice and public health initiatives. Subsequent
studies include an R01 application to be submitted in Year 3 of the award to conduct a full-scale SMART
design, including examination of genetic variations potentially contributing to sleep disturbances in NDDs, and
potential adaptation of the sleep interventions to additional pediatric populations at-risk for sleep disturbances.
This application addresses NINR’s strategic plan, including innovative questions related to understanding the
biological and behavioral dynamics of symptoms (e.g., sleep disturbance), and using innovative research
methods (e.g., SMARTs) to improve symptom management and change the chronic illness trajectory.