May 30, 2007

CONTACT: Kate Olderman
(215) 349-8369
kate.olderman@uphs.upenn.edu


David F. Dinges, PhD, Awarded NASA’s Distinguished Public Service Medal
Highest Agency Honor for Non-Governmental Personnel

(PHILADELPHIA) – David F. Dinges, PhD, has been awarded the 2007 Distinguished Public Service Medal from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). This is the highest award the agency bestows upon non-government personnel whose distinguished accomplishments contributed substantially to the NASA mission. Dr. Dinges is Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry, Chief of the Division of Sleep and Chronobiology, and Director of the Unit for Experimental Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

An internationally recognized expert in the biological limits of human performance relative to sleep need and circadian biology, Dr. Dinges currently serves as scientific Team Leader for the “Neurobehavioral and Psychosocial Factors Team” of the NASA-supported National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI), where he is concerned with developing preventing and countering behavioral problems that develop during prolonged human habitation in space.

The citation reads, in part, that the award is granted to those individuals whose   “…contribution must be so extraordinary that other forms of recognition would be inadequate."

Dr. Dinges is the author of more than 200 publications and during the past 30 years his research has been continuously supported by grants from Federal agencies including the NIH, NASA, DOD, DOT, and the Department of Homeland Security. His laboratory, located in the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, performs a wide range of experiments involving intensive physiological and behavioral monitoring of humans undergoing performance stressors and acute or prolonged perturbations sleep and circadian neurobiology.

His scientific focus is on identifying and validating behavioral, biological and technological countermeasures that improve performance, and then transitioning these to operational settings for NASA and other agencies. He is currently directing an experiment supported by NASA and the National Space Biomedical Institute (NSBRI) on NEEMO-12 astronauts living in the Aquarius facility on the ocean floor.

A corresponding member of the International Academy of Astronautics, Dr. Dinges also currently serves as President of the World Federation of Sleep Research and Sleep Medicine Societies, and Editor in Chief of SLEEP, the leading scientific journal on sleep research and sleep medicine in the world. He has been President of the Sleep Research Society and served on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the National Sleep Foundation. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2004 Decade of Behavior Research Award from the American Psychological Association.

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This release is available online at
http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/may07/dinges-NASA-medal.html