The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) announced the 2021 recipient of its Lifetime Achievement Award: Phyllis C. Zee, MD, PhD.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is the organization’s highest award given to an individual who has demonstrated leadership in the field of sleep health. The award celebrates the recipient’s connection to NSF’s public health mission through their professional contributions to the field.

“The National Sleep Foundation is honored to present Dr Zee with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Her work to further the understanding of circadian physiology has been pivotal in the field. Beyond the importance of her research, she is a noted educator, mentor, and clinician who has made a significant impact on sleep health and our work at NSF,” says Rick Bogan, MD, board chair of the NSF, in a release.

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Zee is the director of the Center for Circadian and Sleep Medicine and chief of the Division of Sleep Medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Her research focuses on understanding the mechanisms that link alterations in sleep, circadian rhythms, and sleep disorders with neurological and cardio-metabolic disorders, as well as the development of treatments for sleep and circadian based disturbances in clinical populations. Basic and clinical studies from Zee’s laboratory paved the way to novel treatments for disorders associated with sleep and circadian clock dysfunction. In addition, her current National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored research includes studies that examine the relationship between sleep and sleep disorders with metabolic and cardiovascular risk in populations at risk, such as older adults, and the effects of sleep disturbance on adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Zee has served on numerous national and international committees, NIH scientific review panels, and advisory boards, including having served on the Board of the National Sleep Foundation (2004-2009). She is president-elect of the World Sleep Society, past president of the Sleep Research Society, and past chair of the NIH Sleep Disorders Research Advisory Board.