Monique LeBourgeois, PhD, a researcher whose contributions were credited for helping advance the understanding of sleep and circadian physiology in early childhood, passed away on Nov 28, according to a tribute from the Sleep Research Society. 

According to the tribute, LeBourgeois developed creative techniques to conduct circadian and sleep research in the home, including performing salivary melatonin and high-density EEG/polysomnography assessments on toddlers.

LeBourgeois earned her bachelor of science in psychology in 1995 at the University of Southern Mississippi, where she was mentored by John Harsh, PhD, a researcher in childhood sleep disturbance. She continued her education at the same university, obtaining a master of science in counseling psychology, a master of arts in experimental psychology, and eventually her PhD in experimental psychology.

She pursued postdoctoral training at Brown Medical School, under the mentorship of Mary Carskadon, PhD, where her interest in the measurement of sleep homeostasis and circadian rhythms grew, according to the tribute, which notes she began to apply these concepts and measures to evaluate the developmental aspects of sleep behavior regulation in young children.

LeBourgeois worked as an associate professor of integrative physiology at the University of Colorado Boulder. While at the University of Colorado, per the tribute, she conducted longitudinal studies examining the development of Process C and Process S across early childhood, as well as researching the sensitivity of the developing circadian system to light exposure. 

“Her pioneering work has contributed to our fundamental understanding of how environment and physiology interact to influence sleep health in early childhood,” reads the tribute. “Dr LeBourgeois had an unwavering track record in securing external research funding and was the recipient of F31, T32, K01, and R01 awards and continuous NIH funding since 2001. She engaged in collaborative research where she created opportunities, generously lent her expertise, and shared her passion for developmental sleep and circadian science.”

The tribute was signed by Carskadon and Harsh, along with Lauren E. Hartstein, PhD; Sachi D. Wong, PhD; and Kenneth P. Wright Jr, PhD.

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