Pulmonary & Critical Care Fellowship Programs

Sleep Medicine Fellowship

Sleep Medicine Fellowship at the University of Chicago

The University of Chicago’s Department of Medicine, under the Section of Pulmonary and Critical Care, offers three ACGME-approved positions per year for its one-year clinical fellowship training program in Sleep Medicine. The Sleep Medicine Fellowship Program, under the direction of Dr. Alejandra Lastra, draws upon the enormous resources and diversity of our University. We take pride in our multidisciplinary approach to Sleep Medicine with faculty members with expertise in pulmonary, neurology, pediatrics, endocrinology, otolaryngology, cardiology, plastic surgery, psychology and dentistry.

The fellowship program offers unique clinical and research experiences to meet our goal of training the next generation of leaders in sleep medicine. The sleep training experience follows the guidelines established by ACGME.

The University of Chicago: Pioneers in Sleep Research

Brief History of Sleep Medicine at the University of Chicago

The University of Chicago has a most distinguished history in this field. Sleep research began at the University of Chicago when Professor Nathaniel Kleitman established the world’s first sleep laboratory in the late 1920s. He was the first scientist to concentrate entirely on sleep. In 1939, he published the first major textbook on sleep, Sleep and Wakefulness, which rapidly became the gold standard of sleep researchers everywhere. Dr. Kleitman and doctoral student Eugene Aserinsky revolutionized sleep research in 1953 when they announced the discovery of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and its association with dreaming. This finding is usually considered the birth of modern scientific interest in sleep. Later in the decade, Kleitman and one of his students, Dr. William Dement, developed the techniques of all-night sleep recording, using measurements of eye motion and EEGs of brain activity. They used these measurements to chart the sequence of sleep patterns over the course of a night. This changed the established notion that sleep was a single state. The further discovery in 1955 that Narcolepsy had a neurophysiologic abnormality demonstrated by unusual premature REM onset sleep as opposed to the 90 minute delay encountered in normal individuals was a major step in the characterization of this condition. University of Chicago researchers Dr. Allan Rechtschaffen and Gerry Vogel, working with colleagues (including Dr. William Dement), described narcolepsy–the first true sleep disorder–in a landmark paper in 1963. Over the years, Dr. Rechtshaffen went on to become one of the single most respected basic and animal sleep investigators of this field performing experiments in rats that demonstrated the lethal consequences of long-term (two weeks or more) sleep deprivation. In 1968 Rechtshaffen together with Dr. Anthony Kales of UCLA standardized the scoring system for human sleep stages which is currently used today. The cutting edge research in sleep continues today.

The University of Chicago has been nationally and internationally recognized as a leading institution for sleep research in adverse health consequences of insufficient sleep and sleep disorders. The leading researchers published seminal studies showing that sleep is not important just to the brain (cognitive function, memory), but for the rest of the body, and that sleep loss plays a role in the current epidemics of obesity and diabetes. In summary, the work by University of Chicago researchers has help to firmly establish sleep as one of the pillars of health.


The fellowship program values diversity and strongly encourages applicants from a wide variety of backgrounds. Our fellowship program participates in the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) and therefore applicants need to submit their application through the ERAS system. We will be participating in the National Residency Match Program (NRMP). After we receive your completed application including three supporting letters, your file will be reviewed and you will be notified regarding the availability of an interview. The requirements include:

  • M.D., D.O., or equivalent degree
  • Successful completion of an ACGME-certified internal medicine, family medicine, neurology, psychiatry, or pediatrics residency program sponsored by a major university in the United States or Canada
  • For graduates of medical schools outside the U.S. and Canada, appropriate certification by the USMLE/FLEX
  • Licensed by the State of Illinois at the beginning of the fellowship


We encourage early application through ERAS. We will interview applicants from mid-August till early October.

Virtual interviews: Depending on national and local institutional recommendations, virtual interviews will be held. Currently the AAMC recommends that residency and fellowship programs use a virtual interview format. Reducing the cost of interviewing is a critical step in widening access and improving equity.


Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about our training program. Inquiries concerning the fellowship program should be directed to Dr. Alejandra Lastra.

Director, Sleep Medicine Fellowship Program:

Alejandra C. Lastra, MD

Associate Director, Sleep Medicine Fellowship Program:

Gorav Sharma, MD

Sleep Medicine Fellowship Coordinator:

Carli Danaher
Sleep Medicine Fellowship Program
Section of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
The University of Chicago

5841 South Maryland Avenue
MC 6092, MC 6076
Chicago, IL 60637
Tel: 773-834-3500
Fax: 773-702-6500

Scroll to Top