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Sleep and Beyond

How Basic Research is Leading a Revolution in Circadian Medicine


7:30 AM Coffee
8:00 – 9:00 AM Lecture

Carson Family Auditorium
The Rockefeller University
1230 York Avenue at East 66th Street
New York, NY 10065


Sofia Axelrod

Sofia Axelrod, Ph.D.

Research Associate
Laboratory of Genetics
The Rockefeller University


Jessica Hopfield

Jessica Hopfield, Ph.D. ’91

Healthcare Strategist and Investor
President, J Hopfield Consulting

Sleep, or lack thereof, has become a major health concern. As we understand more and more about the link between poor sleep and impaired learning and memory, weakened resistance to infection, and chronic diseases like diabetes to depression, scientists are attempting to address how to deal with sleep deprivation in an increasingly demanding world. If longer, sounder sleep is essential, what does this mean for jet-lagged travelers, sleep-deprived teens, overwhelmed shift workers, or those suffering from sleep disorders? What are strategies we can use and how can we better structure our lives around good sleep health?

Dr. Sofia Axelrod, a research associate in the Laboratory of Genetics headed by Nobel laureate Dr. Michael Young, will discuss her study of the basic function and regulation of circadian rhythms, sleep, as well as the mechanisms of aging. This intersection of biology and human behavior is connecting Nobel Prize-winning discoveries to everyday lived experiences, unlocking the secrets to a good night’s sleep, and revealing potential treatments for clinical disorders.

In addition to being a sleep scientist and molecular biologist, Dr. Axelrod is an author, inventor, and entrepreneur. She studied in Germany at Eberhard-Karls-University in Tübingen and at Humboldt University in Berlin, where she earned her Ph.D. in biology in 2012. Dr. Axelrod has been at Rockefeller since 2012 and is a recent recipient of a Kellen Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund grant.

This program will be hosted by Dr. Jessica Hopfield ’91, a scientist and business leader in the medical and healthcare fields. She is a former partner at McKinsey & Company in their Global Pharmaceutical and Medical Device practice. Dr. Hopfield is a graduate of Rockefeller University in the Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience headed by the late Dr. Paul Greengard where she was also a postdoc. She then earned an M.B.A. from Harvard Graduate School of Business as a Baker Scholar. Dr. Hopfield was the chair of Joslin Diabetes Center’s board of trustees from 2015 to 2019. She is a member of the Women & Science Committee and the Kellen Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund Steering Committee.