Steven A. Shea Laboratory

Steve Shea Lab Jan 2016
L-R: Matthew P. Butler, Steven A. Shea, Alec Berman, Noal Clemons, Sally Roberts, Saurabh Thosar, Maya Herzig

Research Interests

The severity of many diseases varies across the 24-hour period. For example, heart attacks occur most frequently in the morning, epileptic seizures of the brain's temporal lobe usually occur in the late afternoon or early evening, and asthma is generally worst at night. The focus of Dr. Shea's research is to understand the biological basis behind these changes in disease severity across the day and night. Currently, his lab investigates whether cardiovascular changes across the day and night are caused by the body clock (the endogenous circadian pacemaker) or are attributable to behaviors that occur on a regular daily basis, such as the sleep/wake cycle. Understanding the biological basis of these physiological and pathophysiological changes may provide insight into the underlying causes of disease and could lead to better therapy (e.g. appropriate timing of medication), and countermeasures to reduce the adverse health effects of shift work.

Catecholamine bike figure

The Shea lab's recent data (unpublished) illustrates the body's stress response to a standardized bicycle exercise bout at different times of day. Norepenephrine (red) and epinephrine (black) both show variation across the 24-hour day indicating potential circadian control of the hormones' secretion.

Go to Dr. Shea's Faculty page

Current Studies

Circadian Rhythms and Cardiovascular risk:

This study aims to investigate how behaviors and the body's internal clock affect the control of the heart and blood pressure. After 2-4 screening visits, eligible study volunteers will maintain a set sleep schedule at home for up to 3 weeks and then spend 5 consecutive days and nights at our facility while sleep, blood pressure, and other tests and measurements are performed.

Eligible study volunteers will be between the age of 30 and 80 years old with a BMI less than 40 who have no current or previous history of pharmacological hypertension treatment. Eligible participants may have a diagnosis of sleep apnea. Further eligibility is determined during a medical evaluation at no cost to you. Receive up to $1,800 for study completion as well as reasonable parking and transportation cost coverage.

If you are interested in participating, please access our pre-screening survey here:

Cannabis Use Habits and Sleep:

We are seeking subjects to take part in a ~15 minute online research survey about cannabis (i.e. marijuana/hash) use habits including method of ingestion, strain, concentration of cannabis components, and sleep quality.

Eligible participants will be 18+ years old and currently using cannabis products for sleep. You will be adding to research in the field of cannabis, which aims to reduce associated harms while increasing benefits. By completing the survey, you will also be added to a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card.

If you have used marijuana in the past 24 hours, access the survey here: