Scientific Committee


Surrey Sleep Research Centre
School of Biosciences and Medicine
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
University of Surrey
Surrey GU2 7XH
United Kingdom

Raphaëlle Winsky-Sommerer (RWS) is Reader (Associate Professor) in Sleep and Circadian Rhythms at the Surrey Sleep Research Centre, University of Surrey (UK).

RWS’ research interests focus on cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the physiology and pharmacology of the 24-h sleep-wake cycle, with an emphasis on neurotransmitter and neuropeptide systems (e.g., GABA; adenosine; hypocretins/orexins). RWS also developed a particular interest in the relationship between sleep and circadian disturbances, neuropsychiatric symptoms and mental health (e.g., mood disorders, ageing and neurodegenerative disorders).

These research projects are primarily performed using preclinical animal models and combine in vivo assessments of sleep-wake rhythms using quantitative EEG and other long-term monitoring methods in integrative physiology, behavioural phenotyping, as well as molecular (-omics), biochemical and neuroanatomical techniques.

Her research is funded by the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Leverhulme Trust and the pharmaceutical industry.

RWS was appointed as a Lecturer at the University of Surrey in October 2009. Prior to joining Surrey, she enjoyed an international research training in France and Norway (MSc Biochemistry & Biology of Aging; PhD on Alzheimer’s disease), as well as the USA (post-doctoral fellow in Neuroscience, Scripps Research Institute, California) and Switzerland (Venia Legendi (Habilitation) in Sleep & Pharmacology; Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Zurich).

RWS is also the coordinator of the ESRS Forum for Women in Sleep Research since 2010.


Dr. Gilles Vandewalle
Liège, Belgium

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Gilles Vandewalle
Cyclotron Research Centre
University of Liège

Gilles Vandewalle, PhD, a FNRS Research Associate at the Cyclotron Research Centre of the University of Liege since 2013.

Dr. Vandewalle defended his PhD thesis in (Neuro)Sciences in 2007 at the University of Liège and was then a postdoc at the Center for Advanced Research in Sleep Medicine of the University of Montreal, before coming back to Liège in 2010.

Gilles has published over 50 peer reviewed papers, reviews, and book chapters on sleep and chronobiology research. His research group main focus lies within the regulation of sleep and wakefuness, and of its associated cognitive functions, through the interaction between sleep homeostasis and the circadian timing system and via exposure to light. His group mainly uses fMRI, EEG and EEG-TMS to investigate the brain mechanisms of these regulatory factors. The aim of the group is to increase the knowledge and awareness of how the temporal organization of our brain through sleep and biological clock affects our physiology, cognition and health.


Dr. Gianluca Ficca
Napoli, Italy

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Gianluca Ficca, MD, PhD

Sleep Laboratory
Department of Psychology
University of Naples II
Viale Ellittico 31, 81100 – Caserta
Tel.: +39.0823.274791
Fax: +39.0823.274792 

Dr. Gianluca Ficca is MD, Specialist in Psychiatry, European Specialist in Anxiety Disorders.
He started his career in the sleep field in the period 1994-1998, as Research Fellow at the Institute of Psychosocial Medicine and Stress Research, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm.
Therafter, he worked at the Department of Psychology of the University of Florence where he obtained his PhD in “Psychophysiology of sleep” in 2000.
In 2005, he got the position of Associate Professor at the Department of Psychology, University of Naples II, where he is now Head of the Sleep Unit.
Currently, he is member of the Italian Sleep Medicine Association (AIMS) Scientific Committee.
His main research interests are the relationships between sleep and memory processes and the changes of sleep across the life span, especially aging.
Dr. Ficca has published about 40 peer reviewed papers on sleep in international journals and books. Since 1996, he has also organized scientific symposia and held teaching courses in previous ESRS Congresses.

Dr. Ludger Grote
Gothenburg, Sweden

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Dr. Ludger Grote is the medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden. After medical training at the Zeitreihenlabor, University of Marburg, Germany, (headed by Herman Peter) he joined the research group of Jan Hedner as a post-doc in 1998. Today he is an Associate Professor at the Sahlgrenska Academy and supervisor for several PhD thesis in research areas related to sleep medicine. He published more than 100 papers on sleep research and sleep medicine with a focus on methodology, sleep apnea and cardiovascular disease, and restless legs. Ludger Grote is active in the European Sleep Apnea Database (ESADA) network and the Swedish Sleep Apnea Registry (SESAR). He is member of the ESRS since 1996 and serves the society currently as the chair of the Executive Committee of the Assembly of National Sleep Societies (EC-ANSS), and as member of the Sleep Medicine Committee and the ERS-ESRS task force. He was former president of the Swedish Sleep Society (2007-2011) where he is responsible today for educational activities.

Dr. Birgit Högl
Innsbruck, Austria

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Dr. Birgit Högl is a senior Neurologist and European Sleep Research Society certified Sleep Medicine Specialist at the department of Neurology, Innsbruck Medical University / Austria. She is associated professor of Neurology at Innsbruck Medical University and head of the sleep disorders clinic (sleep laboratories and outpatient sleep clinic) at the department of Neurology, Innsbruck Medical University.

Dr. Högl received her medical education at the Technical University Munich, Germany and underwent resident training in Munich, Germany. She was a clinical research fellow for movement disorders and sleep with Prof. Dr. O. Gershanik in Buenos Aires, Argentina from 1995 to 1997. Back to Munich, Germany she joined the sleep disorders research group directed by Prof. Dr. Claudia Trenkwalder at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry. In 1999 she moved to Innsbruck to join the department of Neurology (Director and Chairman Prof. Dr. Werner Poewe). The sleep laboratory and outpatient clinic at Innsbruck Medical University´s Department of Neurology has recently been designated Quality Care Center of the Willis-Ekbom Disease foundation (formerly Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation).

She is an author of more than 160 manuscripts published in peer reviewed journals, many of them with high impact, and more than 30 chapters in national and international books and encyclopedia. Birgit Högl is also associate editor of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine (official Journal of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine) and section editor of Somnology (official journal of the German, Austrian and Swiss Sleep Medicine Societies), editorial member of Sleep Medicine and co-editor of the book “Sleep Medicine” published by Cambridge University Press in 2008.

Dr. Högl has served on the executive committees of several national and international scientific societies, such as the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM, previous treasurer), International RLS Study Group (IRLSSG current secretary), European RLS Study Group (EURLSSG, past president), International RBD study group (current secretary), and Austrian Society of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research (ÖGSM/ASRA, past president. As a previous local organizer of the 2006 ESRS congress in Innsbruck, she is now proud and happy to serve in the scientific committee of the ESRS.

Dr. Reto Huber
Zurich, Switzerland

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Reto Huber leads a research group at the University Children’s Hospital and the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Psychiatric Hospital Zurich, Switzerland. He studied neurobiology at the ETH Zurich and received his PhD in 2001. He spent several years as a post-doctoral fellow in Prof. Tononi’s laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA before he was awarded in, 2007, a prestigious professorship fellowship of the Swiss National Science Foundation. In 2016 he was appointed professor for developmental neurobiology at the University of Zurich.

Dr. Poul Jennum
Glostrup, Denmark

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Poul Jennum
Professor, chief physician, Dr Med Sci
Danish Center of Sleep Medicine
Department of Clinical Neurophysiology
University of Copenhagen
Glostrup Hospital

Poul Jennum (PJ) obtained his medical education from University of Copenhagen. His early research included sleep in the elderly (gold medal from University of Copenhagen) and the doctoral thesis focused on epidemiology and cardiovascular consequences of sleep apnoea from University of Copenhagen. He obtained his clinical experience from University hospital in Copenhagen with focused clinical training at UCLA and Minnesota, USA and from Montreal, Canada. PJ specialized in neurology and clinical neurophysiology and obtained European specialization in sleep medicine.

PJ’s research includes epidemiology and consequences of sleep disorders, clinical aspects, neurophysiology and molecular research.

PJ has been board member or chairman of several national and international research societies, including the Danish Sleep Research Society, EC member of Association of National Sleep Societies, Sleep disorders committee of the European Federation of Neurology (EFNS), now European Association of Neurology (EAN). Furthermore he holds several national and international position for advisor for public health authorities.

PJ is professor in clinical neurophysiology focusing on sleep disorders at the Clinical Institute, University of Copenhagen.

Prof. Giovanna Zoccoli, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Physiology
PRISM lab, Department of Biomedical and NeuroMotor Sciences
Alma Mater Studiorum – Università of Bologna
Physiology Unit - Piazza di Porta S. Donato, 2    40126 Bologna, Italy
ph: +39 051 2091726; fax: +39 051 2091737
skype: gioz2907

Prof. Giovanna Zoccoli is MD, Specialist in Neurology.
Since 1991, she worked at the Department of Human and General Physiology, University of Bologna, where in 1995 she obtained her PhD in "Experimental and Clinical Pathophysiology".
She was a Research Fellow for cerebral circulation during sleep in newborns with Prof. Adrian Walker at Institute of Reproduction and Development, Monash University, Australia, in 1997, and in 2007 she returned in the same lab as a Visiting Professor.
In 2003, she got the position of Associate Professor at Department of Biomedical and NeuroMotor Sciences, University of Bologna, where she is now head of “PRISM lab” for the study of physiologic regulation during sleep in genetically engineered mice.
She is a member of ESRS since 1990, and held teaching courses at ESRS Congresses; currently she is member of the Italian Sleep Medicine Association (AIMS) Scientific Committee.
She published over 50 peer reviewed papers on cardiovascular regulation during sleep in physiologic and pathophysiologic conditions (hypertension, obesity, narcolepsy), and in different animal models (rabbit, lamb, rat, mice) and human subjects.