ESRS 2020 Friday Update: Sleep Science Award 2020 and ESRS election results


ESRS 2020 Friday Update: Sleep Science Award 2020 and ESRS election results

25 September 2020






Thank you to all #ESRS2020 speakers, presenters, and attendees, as well as our co-organizers Congrex and the Sociedad Española de Sueño, for your support in making our Virtual Edition of the 25th Congress of the ESRS so successful and engaging. Additionally, we’d also like to thank our sponsors—we hope you had a chance to meet with them in the Virtual Exhibition Hall.









Although we would have like to chat and sip drinks in Seville, we were amazed to see 1,726 in attendance from 66 countries worldwide! Shout-out to those outside of Europe who adjusted their sleep cycles to join us. Given the novel format, we would like to hear your feedback—a survey is available at the Help Desk in the Virtual Lobby (until the end of October)








During ESRS2020, we were very happy to award Dr. Tarja Porkka-Heiskanen the European Sleep Science Award 2020 for her contribution towards sleep research and the ESRS:

Dear Colleagues,

It was my pleasure to present Dr. Tarja Porkka-Heiskanen – a sleep scientist, teacher, debater, and influencer in sleep medicine – with the European Sleep Science Award 2020 during the Welcome and Opening of the Virtual Edition of our 25th Congress of the European Sleep Research Society (22 Sept 2020).

Dr. Porkka-Heiskanen received her medical degree in 1983 and her doctoral degree in 1990 from the University of Helsinki. She performed her postdoctoral studies during the 1990’s in the USA at Northwestern University and Harvard Medical school – spending two years at both.

A central revelation by Dr. Porkka-Heiskanen related to homeostatic regulation of sleep, where she identified adenosine as a key regulatory molecule during her postdoctoral research in the lab of Robert W. McCarley. This finding was published in Science in 1997 and since then, it has been one of the central reports in sleep medicine that paved the path for many other roads in modern sleep research.

Her interest in sleep research has been exceptionally wide; centered around the basic physiological mechanisms of sleep regulation, it has also extended to broader developmental dimensions –from early development to ageing, as well as to specific, gender-related aspects. She also pioneered studies on the consequences of sleep deprivation on the immune system. In 2018, Dr. Porkka-Heiskanen was awarded The Pisa Sleep Award.

She has also had central roles in many international activities, including membership in the ESRS Education and Research Committees and Board, chairing the EU Committee and establishing the ESRS Forum for Women. She has acted on the Editorial Boards of several respected international sleep journals, including the Journal of Sleep Research.

Regarding her contribution towards scientific collaboration, she has coordinated several sleep-centered international consortia and is particularly active in postgraduate education, both nationally and internationally. She established the notable Sleep School at the University of Helsinki, which recently turned into a combination of digital education and hands-on practice – all thanks to Tarja’s efforts. More recently, she pioneered future educational activity at ESRS by establishing the web-based education on basic sleep research, “eLessons”.

Tarja is still active at the University of Helsinki. She is one of our PIs for the SleepWell Research program – the first internationally evaluated research program oriented on sleep medicine at the faculty level in Finland.

As a colleague, she has been exceptionally supportive and innovative. At the same time, she is uncompromising in scientific integrity, logical thinking and scientific reasoning.

Beyond scientific activities, as some of you might know, she is an excellent dancer; she loves her garden; she is an excellent writer (and could have accomplished a career as a writer if she had wished to do so) – and, most importantly she has an unfailing sense of humor.

Again, it was my great honor – and pleasure – to introduce Dr. Tarja Porkka-Heiskanen as the recipient of the European Sleep Science Award 2020.

Thank you for your contributions towards the field of sleep science, the ESRS and your scientific collaboration and support of colleagues and young scientists.

Prof. Tiina Paunio

With the Hellenic Sleep Research Society, #ESRS2022 is planned for Athens. We hope that you will join us again.



At the Virtual Business Meeting (23 Sept 2020, 19:45-21:30), ESRS members elected new ESRS Board and Scientific Committee members.

We would like to thank Prof. Dr. Walter McNicholas (President), Prof. Tiina Paunio (Vice-President Clinical), and Dr. Raffaele Manni (Assistant Secretary) for their tenure on the ESRS Board and for helping making the Society a success. We hope to maintain this trend with your continued support and advice.

We welcome our new ESRS Board comprised of:

President: Dr. Pierre-Hervé Luppi (Lyon, France) (previously Secretary)
Vice President Basic: Dr. Tom de Boer (Leiden, The Netherlands) (re-elected)
Vice President Clinical:  Prof. Dr. Dirk Pevernagie (Gent, Belgium)
Secretary:  Dr. Erna Sif Arnardóttir (Reykjavik, Iceland)
Assistant Secretary:  Dr. Giuseppe Plazzi (Modena, Italy)
Treasurer: Dr. Hans-Peter Landolt (Zurich, Switzerland) (re-elected)

For our ESRS Scientific Committee, we say goodbye to Prof. Dr. Ludger Grote, Prof. Dr. Reto Huber, Prof. Dr. med. Christoph Nissen, Dr. Daniel Neu, and Dr. Giovanna Zoccoli. Thank you for your excellent scientific contribution towards the organization of our Congresses.

We welcome our new ESRS Scientific Committee, including re-elected members:

Dr. Kerstin Hödlmoser
Dr. Anita Lüthi
Dr. Christina Schmidt
Dr. Vladyslav Vyazovskiy

and newly elected members:

Prof. Dr. Christian Baumann
Dr. Maria R Bonsignore
Prof. Dr. Michele Ferrara
Dr. Nayanthara Santhi
Prof. Dr. Dr. Kai Spiegelhalder

Lastly, during the ESRS Early Career Researcher Network (ECRN) Day (22 September 2020, 13:00-15:00), new committee members were also elected. Thank you to Dr. Kate Porcheret (Coordinator), Dr. Madeleine F. Scriba (Vice-Coordinator), and Dr. Lyudmila Korostovtseva (Secretary) for your work towards promoting early career researchers in their scientific and academic journey.

Joining current committee members, Dr. Annemarie Luik and Dr. Corrado Garbazza, the ESRS ECRN welcomes its newest members:

Dr. Sebastien Baillieul
Dr. Christine Blume
Dr. Fran Pilkington-Cheney.

We look forward to working with you in advancing the future of our young researchers and scientists.

Check back next week for bios on new ESRS Board, Scientific Committee, and ECRN Committee members, as well as other ESRS updates and Sleep Science News. If you have time, please fill out this survey—we would love to hear your thoughts on what kind of content you would like to see on our website.







In other news, the Sleep and Breathing conference will take place next spring (15-17 April 2021) as a hybrid virtual and (hopefully) in-person Congress in Prague. Organized by the European Respiratory Society (ERS) and the ESRS, the Sleep and Breathing 2021 will give you an opportunity to update knowledge and skills, as well as network with other respiratory professionals specializing in sleep respiratory medicine and science. Abstract submissions are now open (Deadline: Friday 30 October 23:59).






With the Hellenic Sleep Research Society, #ESRS2022 is planned for Athens. We hope that you will join us again.

Not an ESRS member yet? Apply here and see our wide range of benefits, including a yearly online subscription to the Journal of Sleep Research, automatic membership to the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS), support for early career researchers via the ECRN, regular updates via the ESRS Newsletter, discounts on Congress fees, promotion of your research, and more.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay up to date on ESRS updates and the latest Sleep Science News.

Just published an article? Want your research to be featured? Saw something interesting? Contact: doris.wu [ at ] esrs.eu.