Yo-El Ju, MD

Barbara Burton and Reuben Morriss III Professor, WashU Neurology

Sleep and neurological diseases

I am a neurologist and sleep medicine specialist interested in investigating the intersection of sleep and neurological diseases, through translational and clinical research. My current research focuses on two primary areas. First is the contribution of sleep and sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea to the pathophysiology of Alzheimer Disease. I am actively investigating how obstructive sleep apnea disrupts circadian patterns as assessed by actigraphy and the brain’s ability to achieve normal sleep architecture as measured by advanced electroencephalography analytic methods, and subsequent downstream effects on amyloid-beta dynamics, cognitive performance, and risk of dementia. My other area of active research is REM sleep behavior disorder, a parasomnia with a strong relationship with Parkinson Disease and other alpha-synucleinopathies. I have pursued neuroscience research since my undergraduate years, initially focusing on bench research, but transitioning to clinical-translational approaches during training. My career goal is to identify and treat sleep and circadian dysfunction with the purpose of reducing neurological disease burden, improving quality of life, and promoting healthy aging.

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