April 12, 2006
Colloquium Speaker: David F. Dinges
David F. Dinges, Ph.D., is Professor and Chief of the Division of Sleep and Chronobiology, and Director of the Unit for Experimental Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry, and Associate Director of the Center for Sleep and Respiratory Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. His research focuses on sleep and circadian neurobiology and his laboratory performs a wide range of experiments involving intensive physiological and behavioral monitoring of humans undergoing performance stressors and acute or prolonged perturbations. The focus is on the causes of human cognitive and neurobehavioral performance failure due to stress, sleep loss and disturbances of circadian rhythms, and the implications of these unmitigated effects on health and safety. He has over 175 publications and during the past 29 years his research has been supported by grants from the NIH, NASA and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI), AFOSR, DoD, DoT, and the Department of Homeland Security. His research has also been focused on developing technologies for unobtrusive monitoring of human behavioral capability validating behavioral, technological and pharmacological interventions for these effects. His research has been extensively used to manage sustained operations in various environments, and to advise Federal and private regulatory policies regarding duty hours and fatigue management. Dr. Dinges currently leads the Neurobehavioral and Psychosocial Factors research area for the NSBRI. He is a member of the NIH NINR Council. He has been President of the Sleep Research Society and served on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the National Sleep Foundation. He currently serves as President of the World Federation of Sleep Research and Sleep Medicine Societies. He has been the recipient of numerous awards for teaching and research, including the 2004 Decade of Behavior Research Award from the American Psychological Association.
Optimal human behavioral capability is now required 24-7 in a wide range of industries and safety-sensitive areas (e.g. energy generation, health care, military operations, security, space flight, transportation). However the ability of humans to perform effectively at all hours of the day and night, or over prolonged periods, or under stress is limited by endogenous biological forces. This talk will review the manner in which fatigue and stress erode human performance, and approaches to detecting and preventing this erosion using novel technological and biological techniques to track human operators and intervene when appropriate.