International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine (WPI-IIIS), University of Tsukuba
Solving the Mysteries of Sleep
We spend nearly one-third of our lives asleep. However, the regulation and function of sleep remain unclear.The importance of sleep is very clear because the loss of sound sleep lowers daytime performance and increases the risk of physical and mental disorders. Deficiencies of sleep cause a huge economic loss, burdening the Japanese society about 1.5 billion yen per year. IIIS approaches this social problem through interdisciplinary sleep science, consisting of neuroscience, pharmaceutical science, and experimental medicine.
IIIS is the world’s premier institute aiming to elucidate the fundamental principles of sleep/wake biology, develop new strategies to diagnose, prevent, and treat sleep disorders, and contribute to promote human health through research activities.
Masashi Yanagisawa, Director
Our discovery of the neuropeptide orexin and its prominent role in sleep/wake regulation has generated a highly active research field in neurobiology of sleep. However, the fundamental governing principle for the regulation of sleep pressure, e.g., the question of (1) what the neural substrate for “sleepiness” is, (2) why we have to sleep, remains a mystery. Indeed, this is one of the biggest mysteries in today’s neuroscience.
Based on my own 24-year experience as a PI in the US, and by learning from the merits of US academia while retaining the merits of Japanese traditions, IIIS provides a scientific culture and environment that strongly encourages all members, regardless of career stage, to initiate and continue truly groundbreaking studies.