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HomeMembersAssemblies and SectionsAssembliesSleep and Respiratory NeurobiologyNews ▶ 2019 James B Skatrud New Investigator Award Winner - Andrew Varga, MD, PhD
2019 James B Skatrud New Investigator Award Winner - Andrew Varga, MD, PhD

Andrew Varga, MD, PhD

Andrew Varga, MD, PhD

Dr. Varga completed a PhD in neuroscience in 2003 from Baylor College of Medicine, where he studied the molecular mechanisms of synaptic plasticity and memory formation, focusing on protein kinase regulation of the voltage gated potassium channel Kv4.2. He then completed medical school at New York Medical College in 2007, a residency in neurology at Harvard Medical School’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in 2011, and a clinical fellowship in sleep medicine at NYU in 2012. During a subsequent postdoctoral fellowship under the mentorship of Drs. David Rapoport, Indu Ayappa, and Eric Klann, Dr. Varga focused on understanding the role of sleep in memory processing and the impact of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) on such processing. Using a novel sleep stage-specific CPAP withdrawal paradigm, he demonstrated that OSA limited to REM sleep negatively impacts spatial navigational memory. He also demonstrated that frontal slow wave activity declines with aging and is a significant correlate of both spatial navigational memory and medial prefrontal cortical volume. Building on these interests in memory, Dr. Varga established a collaboration with Dr. Ricardo Osorio in 2013 wherein they studied the impact of sleep architecture changes with aging, including the increased prevalence of OSA, on risk for Alzheimer’s disease by studying cerebrospinal fluid and PET imaging biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease in cognitively normal older individuals. This line of inquiry led to several papers demonstrating inverse relationships between both slow wave sleep and beta amyloid and between sleep spindle density and tau, and established increasing OSA severity as a longitudinal risk factor for increasing brain amyloid load. Between 2012 and 2016, Dr. Varga received funding from the American Sleep Medicine Foundation Physician Scientist Award, Junior Faculty Award, and Bridge to Success Award and from the ATS Foundation unrestricted grant on sleep research. Dr. Varga received the World Congress on Sleep Medicine Young Investigator Award in 2015, was named a Leon Levy Neuroscience Scholar in 2015, and received the Friedman Brain Institute’s Saint-Amand Research Scholar Award in 2017. In 2016, Dr. Varga joined the faculty at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai along with his mentors Dr. Rapoport and Dr. Ayappa. Since joining Mount Sinai, he has served as the principal investigator on awards from the NIH R01 and R21 mechanisms, from the Alzheimer’s Association, and from the Merck Investigator Studies Program. He is truly honored and humbled to receive the 2019 James B. Skatrud New Investigator Award and hopes to honor Dr. Skatrud’s legacy by mentoring and advocating for the next generation of sleep scientists .