ESRS ANSS EU Committee


Roberto Amici is Associate Professor of Physiology at the Department of Biomedical and NeuroMotor Sciences (DIBINEM) of the University of Bologna, Italy and is member of the “Collegio Superiore” of the University of Bologna. He received the Degree in Medicine (1983) and the Specialization in Neurology (1987) at the University of Bologna. Since early 80’s he is active in the field of physiological regulation in the wake-sleep cycle, with a particular interest in the neurophysiological and neurochemical aspects underlying the relationship between sleep and thermoregulation and the central nervous control of autonomic functions. At present, he is responsible of the Laboratory "Wake-Sleep Behavior" in the “Physiological Regulations in the Wake-Sleep Cycle” research group at DIBINEM.
He has been Secretary (2002-2006), Vice President (2008-2012) and President (2012-2013) of the Italian Society of Sleep Research (SIRS) and member of the Scientific Committee (2002-2004), Assistant Secretary (2004-2006), and Vice-President (2006-2010) of the ESRS, where he also coordinated the Research Committee in 2009. At present he is “Coordinator for Basic Research” of the “Italian Association of Sleep Medicine” (AIMS) and Coordinator of the EU Committee of the ESRS.
From 2007 -2010, he was "Coordinator" of the Project "Training in Sleep Research and Sleep Medicine” (MSCF-CT-2006-046036) of the ESRS, that was financed within the Marie Curie Program by the European Union.

Vice-Coordinator / Representative SMC

Prof. Dr. Diego García-Borreguero
Madrid, Spain

Show biosketch

Diego García-Borreguero, MD, PhD, is currently Director of the Sleep Research Institute, in Madrid and was until 2005, the Director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the Dept of Neurology of the Fundación Jiménez Díaz (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), Spain. He received his medical degree from the University of Navarra. Prior to his present position, Dr. García-Borreguero completed fellowships in Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and underwent residency training at the Max Planck Institute in Munich, Germany.  He completed his PhD at the University of Munich.

His main area of research is Restless Legs Syndrome, where he is one of the leading international experts. Within that field, his main focus of research is circadian rhythms, dopaminergic augmentation and treatment outcomes.

Dr. Garcia-Borreguero served between 2004 and 2008 as Secretary of the ESRS Board, and is currently a member of the ESRS-Sleep Medicine Committee and vice-chair of the ESRS-EU Committee. He is currently president of the Spanish Sleep Society.
Since 2011 he also chairs the International Restless Legs Study Group (


Liborio Parrino is Associate Professor at Parma University.
Medical Doctor with Ph.D. in Neurological and Neurosensorial Disciplines and Montpellier University Diplome in Veille et Sommeil.
He is President of the Italian Association of Sleep Medicine (AIMS), Assistant Treasurer of the Executive Committee of the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM) and Co-Chiar of the WASM World Sleep Day Committee.
Member of the Editorial Board of the journals SLEEP MEDICINE and SLEEP DISORDERS.
Member of the European Sleep Research Society.
Member of the Ethical Committee of the Parma University Hospital.
Co-author of over 180 articles (ISI Web of Science), on sleep medicine with H-Index: 36.
Reviewer of over 200 manuscripts submittted to SLEEP MEDICINE and other specialized journas in the field of sleep and clinical neurophysiology.

ESRS President / Road Safety ESRS Task Force

PROFESSOR WALTER MCNICHOLAS is Newman Clinical Research Professor at University College Dublin (UCD), Director of the Pulmonary and Sleep Disorders Unit and Consultant Respiratory Physician at St. Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland. He is a medical graduate of UCD (1974) and has a long established track record in high-level research and leadership. He has wide experience in translational research on the mechanisms and consequences of sleep-related breathing disorders particularly sleep apnoea, and has held competitive grants from agencies such as the Health Research Board (Ireland) on a continuous basis for close to 30 years. His research interests include the pathophysiology, treatment and outcomes of sleep apnoea syndrome, the cardiovascular and metabolic consequences of the disorder, basic cell and molecular mechanisms and consequences of intermittent hypoxia, in addition to sleep disturbances in COPD and other chronic respiratory disorders. He is also closely involved in the evaluation of novel ambulatory monitoring devices for sleep disorders. He is a past Associate Editor of the European Respiratory Journal and is an editorial board member of several international sleep and respiratory journals.
Prof. McNicholas has held many Leadership positions in National and International organisations, particularly President of the European Respiratory Society (2003-2004), and is current Vice President (Clinical) of the ESRS and President of the European Board of Accreditation in Pneumology. He chaired a COST Action (B26) on Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (2005-2010), and recently chaired a Working Group established by the European Commission on Sleep Apnoea and Driving (2012-2013), which is expected to lead to an official European Union (EU) Directive establishing specific criteria for the provision and retention of driving licenses to patients with sleep apnoea.

ESRS Past President

Philippe Peigneux is PhD in Psychological Sciences (2000; University of Liège [ULg], Belgium). He is currently Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Belgium, where he is also the director of the Neuropsychology and Functional Neuroimaging Research Unit (UR2NF) affiliated at the ULB Neurosciences Institute (UNI). Professor Peigneux is active in sleep research since 1996 and published more than 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals. His research is mainly but not exclusively focused on investigating the relationships between sleep and memory consolidation processes, and in a wider perspective the interrelationships between cognitive processes and vigilance states, including sleep and biological rhythms, both in healthy and pathological conditions (sleep and circadian disorders, disorders of consciousness, developmental disorders [dysphasia, ADHD], epileptic disorders, degenerative diseases [Parkinson, Alzheimer], …), in adulthood and across children development. A specific focus is made on the processes by which novel representations are created and novel information consolidated in long-term memory. Studies are primarily conducted using behavioural and cognitive approaches and advanced functional magnetic resonance (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG) and magneto-encephalography (MEG) techniques. Philippe Peigneux is an ESRS member since 2001 and was part of the ESRS Scientific Committee (2006-2008) then Secretary in the ESRS Board (2008-2012). At present he is President of the ESRS.

Representative EC ANSS

Prof. Dr. Johan Verbraecken
Edegem (Antwerp), Belgium

Show biosketch

Prof. Dr. Johan Verbraecken is medical coordinator of the Multidisciplinary Sleep Disorders Centre  of the Antwerp University Hospital (UZA), and expert in the field of respiratory sleep medicine for more than 20 years. At the same time he is visiting professor at the University of Antwerp (Belgium). Currently he is president of the Belgian Association for Sleep research and  Sleep medicine, past chair of the Sleep and Control of Breathing Group of the European Respiratory Society (ERS) and past ERS E-Learning Director. He is chair or member of different ERS Task Forces in the field of respiratory sleep medicine, and is also engaged as chair of the ERS Training Centre Accreditation Review Committee. He is author or coauthor of more than 100 scientific papers and book chapters related to sleep and breathing.

Representative RNC

Pierre-Hervé LUPPI (51 years old) is a First class Research Director at the CNRS and the Leader of the SLEEP team (with a staff of 32 persons) belonging to the Lyon Neuroscience Research Center (CRNL, UMR 5292 CNRS/U1028 INSERM). He obtained his master degree at Lyon 1 University where he worked with Prof. M. Jouvet on the neuroanatomy of the paradoxical sleep generators in the cat. He received his PhD in 1989 and entered the CNRS the same year. In 2002, he created and directed for nine years a sleep research CNRS laboratory (UMR 5167) hosted by the Laennec School of Medicine and member of the “Institut Fédératif des Neurosciences de Lyon, IFR 19“. He received in 1996 the European Sleep Research Society-SynthéLabo fellowship. Dr. Luppi is deputy editor of "Journal of Sleep Research" and has been elected in 2012 secretary of the European sleep Research Society. He is also a fellow of the Société de Neuroscience, Society For Neuroscience, IBRO, Société Française de Recherche et de Médecine du Sommeil (SFRS), and the Sleep Research Society. He has published one book, 12 book chapters, 85 research papers (Factor H: 34), and 178 abstracts. He has given 62 talks in symposiums and two plenary conferences in national and international meetings. He organized two meetings in Lyon on paradoxical sleep. He is internationally recognized for his current work on the mechanisms responsible for the genesis of the sleep-waking cycle, the cognitive role of sleep and the studies of sleep pathologies like narcolepsy and REM sleep behaviour disorder.

Representative EduCom

Tiina Paunio, MD, PhD, is Vice Dean of Education and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Helsinki (UH) and Research Professor  at National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

Dr Paunio obtained her doctor’s degree in Medicine in 1993 and PhD degree in 1995 from UH and did her post-doctoral studies during 1996-1998 in Paris at LGN/CNRS. She worked as a project coordinator for an international collaboration on schizophrenia (SZ) during 1998-2002, after which she established her own research group Sleep&Mood at THL in 2002. She got her specialist degree in Psychiatry in 2007.

The research interest of the Sleep&Mood group is focused on etiology and epidemiology of mood disorders and sleep disturbance, and their therapeutic interventions.  The group studies  relationship  of  disturbed  sleep  and  mood  at  epidemiological  level,  the  effect  of  genetic  and environmental  factors  on  regulation  of  sleep  and  emotions,  and  their  interplay  at  molecular  level  via epigenetic mechanisms. In addition to the genetic and epidemiological research, Dr Paunio is involved in clinical research on sleep and stress related disorders at the Finnish Institute of Occupational health. At UH, she has the responsibility in education of medical doctors as a Vice Dean of Education and Chair of the MD program, as well as of those specializing in psychiatry and basic medical students in psychiatry. She is also Vice Chair of the Steering committee for education of Psychotherapists at UH and representative of UH in the national committee for education of psychotherapists.

Dr Paunio has supervised and examined a number of doctoral theses in Finland and other European countries. She was the member of the ESRS Scientific Committee in 2012-2014 and, in addition to ESRS, she is an active member of the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics, as well as of national organizations related to sleep research and psychiatry. She belongs to a number of national and international research consortia and funding organizations.

ESRS Secretary

Lino Nobili received his M.D. in 1991 from the University of Genoa (Italy ) where he also obtained the specialization in Clinical Neurophysiology (1995), in Child Neuropsychiatry (2000) and a PhD in “Neuroscience: Physiopathology of Sleep”. Dr. Lino Nobili works in the “C. Munari” Epilepsy Surgery Centre and he is chief of the Centre of Sleep Medicine of the Department of Neuroscience of the Niguarda Hospital in Milan, Italy. He has been involved in sleep research and clinical care both in adults and children for over 20 years, and has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers. Lino Nobili is an ESRS member since 1995 and was part of the Scientific Committee (2008-2010). At present he is the Assistant Secretary of the ESRS. His areas of major research interest include human sleep neurophysiology, sleep and epilepsy interactions, sleep-related epilepsies, sleep disorders. In the last years, by analyzing data obtained from intracerebral sleep EEG investigations in drug-resistant epileptic patients, he focused his research on the local aspects of sleep regulation and on the activity of different cortical and subcortical structures during sleep.


Damien Léger, M.D, Ph.D. is the Head of the University Hospital Hôtel Dieu Sleep Center in Paris, France (Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Paris, Université Paris Descartes, Sorbonne Paris Cité). He is Professor of Medicine at the University Paris Descartes. His primary research interests focus on the impact of sleep disorders on public health, and he serves as a consultant to the World Health Organization, the European Council, the European Department of Mobility, French National Health Agency and the French Ministry of Labor, Health, transportation, education and environment, advising these institutions on the influence of environmental factors such as light, noise, shift and night work and work conditions on sleep and alertness.

Damien Léger is since 2010 General Secretary of the French Sleep Research and Medicine Society (Société Française de Recherche et de Médecine du Sommeil) and  President of the French Institute of Sleep and Vigilance (Institut National du Sommeil et de la Vigilance), member of the European Board of the Insomnia European network, Associate Editor of the Journal of Sleep Research and of Sleep Medicine Review.
Dr Léger is the author of five books (The latest; Sleep disorders their impact on public health) and over 100 scientific publications.

Dieter Riemann has a Ph. D. in Psychology and is a full Professor of Clinical Psychophysio-logy at the Dept. of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy of Freiburg University Medical Center/ Germany since 1993. In 2000 he was appointed Section Head for Clinical Psychology and Psychophysiology at the Department. He is also Head of the Sleep Laboratory of the Department (with five bedrooms equipped with up to date sleep monitoring technology) and was a member of the board of the German Sleep Society, head of the work group Insomnia and has been involved in editing the first and second edition of guidelines for Non-restorative sleep in Germany. From 2006 - 2008 he held an appointment as Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical School/NY. In 2007 he was appointed a member of the APA´s work group sleep disorders for the completion of DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association). Since 2008 he is the treasurer of the European Sleep Research Societies. In 2009 he founded the European Insomnia Network (EIN).

He has been active in psychiatric sleep research for more than two decades and has published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles and given numerous presentations at national and international meetings. He pioneered the introduction of cognitive behavioral treatment for insomnia (CBT-I) in Germany and has served as a primary investigator in many studies on epidemiological, diagnostic and neurobiological aspects of insomnia. Presently his work focuses, besides other interests, mainly on different aspects of insomnia including diagnostics, epidemiology, therapeutics and neurobiology. His latest activities include a federally funded study on the effects of nicotine and nicotine withdrawal on sleep, a study on sleep perception and several EU funded projects. 


Prof. Dr. Debra J. Skene 
Guildford, United Kingdom

Show biosketch

Debra J. Skene, PhD is Professor of Neuroendocrinology (2001- ) in the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, U.K. Educated in South Africa (B.Pharm, MSc, PhD), she joined the University of Surrey in 1984. She is currently Leader of the Faculty Research Group: Sleep, Chronobiology and Addiction. She has over 25 years of research experience studying the human circadian timing system and has authored over 100 refereed research publications. Her recent research has been funded by the EU FP6 and FP7 programmes, UK Cross Research Council New Dynamics of Ageing (NDA) Programme, the BBSRC (UK) and Philips Lighting. She is currently a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award Holder.

Professor Skene and her team's research is directed towards characterisation and treatment of circadian rhythm sleep disorders as experienced by blind people, shift workers and the elderly. Her team’s findings have led to the optimisation of melatonin (dose, time of administration) and light (wavelength, time of administration) to affect the human circadian clock. Prof Skene has pioneered studies on the spectral sensitivity of the human circadian axis, being one of the first to show the importance of short wavelength blue light. These results have important implications for the design and use of lighting in situations such as the treatment of circadian rhythm sleep disorders, adaptation to shift work as well as in work and living environments.
Currently Professor Skene’s research programme (BBSRC, EU and Royal Society funded) is studying the links between human circadian clocks, sleep and metabolism in health, circadian disorders and metabolic diseases (shift workers, Type 2 diabetes, liver disease). Investigating the effect of time of day, circadian clock, sleep and food influences on the human metabolome using LC-MS metabolomics is currently a major focus.

Professor Skene is a past Vice-President (Basic) of the European Sleep Research Society (ESRS) [2010-2014] (ESRS member since 2001; Assistant-Secretary 2006-2010). She is currently Vice-President of the European Biological Rhythms Society (EBRS) [2012- ] (EBRS member since 1983; Secretary-Treasurer 2002-2009). In 2009 Prof Skene established the Joint ESRS-EBRS Symposia that take place each year at the biennial ESRS and EBRS Congresses. She is a past Chair of a Gordon Research Conference (Pineal Cell Biology, 2012), currently an Associate Editor of the Journal of Sleep Research and on the Editorial Board of Chronobiology International. She is a Co-Director of Stockgrand Ltd, a University-based company specialising in the measurement of melatonin and other circadian rhythm markers.