Creating a viable research program



By Doug Dusik
Monday, June 4, 2012

In 2003, Dean Beebe was an assistant professor with a PhD in neuropsychology and an interest in sleep medicine, but his career path could have taken a couple of different directions. That changed after Dr. Beebe was granted a Young Investigator Award by the ASMF.

“The ASMF grant allowed me to take my interest in sleep medicine and start the process of creating a viable, productive research program,” he said. “I came in as a neuropsychologist, but I now consider myself a hybrid. I still have one foot planted in neuropsychology, but with the other foot in sleep medicine.”

The research that Dr. Beebe started under the Young Investigator Award led to additional funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through a Mentored Patient -Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23). He is now a fulltime, independent research investigator, currently studying the effects of sleep restriction on the cognitive functioning of adolescents. The research is being funded by an NIH Research Project Grant (RO1).

“Being able to use that ASMF grant as a stepping stone to a larger NIH grant was a pivotal point in my career,” said Dr. Beebe, an associate professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and director of the Neuropsychology Program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Beebe presented at his first SLEEP annual meeting in 2005 and has presented every year since. He will discuss his latest research at SLEEP 2012 in Boston, Mass., during a presentation titled, “Inadequate sleep and the brain and behavior of adolescents: The impact is real, causal and beyond falling asleep in class.”

Dr. Beebe said that an ASMF grant can be the tipping point for a research career when a scientist has interest, energy and intellect, but no funding.

“Looking toward the smaller grant mechanisms as stepping stones is absolutely essential, especially as the NIH has had to tighten its belt,” Dr. Beebe said. “You really can’t walk into an NIH grant cold. You have to have these smaller grants paving the way.”