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BA(Hons), MSc, PhD
Lecturer in Sleep Medicine
Nicola is involved in the development and delivery of the Oxford Online Programme in Sleep Medicine, and is based in the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute (SCNi) of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences.
Nicola is interested in investigating the factors accounting for the individual variation in sleep quality and insomnia.
Using quantitative genetic techniques, her research investigates i) the magnitude to which genetic and environmental factors influence sleep quality, insomnia and associated phenotypes (such as diurnal preference/ circadian rhythmicity); ii) specific social determinants of sleep quality and insomnia; and iii) the possibility of statistical gene-environment interaction (GxE). Using molecular genetic techniques, Nicola is interested in identifying specific genetic polymorphisms (such as serotonin, PER and CLOCK genes) associated with sleep disturbance and indices of circadian rhythmicity, and investigating measured GxE in the onset of sleep problems. Nicola is also currently interested in understanding cognitive biases associated with sleep disturbances in adolescence and young adulthood; as well as investigating the effects of sleep deprivation on attentional processing.
Preferential attention towards the eye-region amongst individuals with insomnia.
Akram U. et al, (2017), J Sleep Res, 26, 84 - 91
Misperception of tiredness in young adults with insomnia.
Akram U. et al, (2016), J Sleep Res, 25, 466 - 474
The heritability of insomnia progression during childhood/adolescence: results from a longitudinal twin study.
Barclay NL. et al, (2015), Sleep, 38, 109 - 118
Simple snoring: not quite so simple after all?
Deary V. et al, (2014), Sleep Med Rev, 18, 453 - 462
Polymorphisms in the circadian expressed genes PER3 and ARNTL2 are associated with diurnal preference and GNβ3 with sleep measures.
Parsons MJ. et al, (2014), J Sleep Res, 23, 595 - 604