Greta Sokoloff Headshot
The University of Iowa

Humans sleep the most when they are young and yet very little is known about why. Importantly, during infancy we spend more time in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep than at any other time in our life. Dr. Sokoloff is interested in understanding the role of sleep, especially REM sleep, in early brain development. Her work has found that the movements that accompany REM sleep, myoclonic twitches, result in strong activation of sensorimotor systems – activation that is rarely observed when infant rodents are awake. Following decades of research investigating the role of twitching on the development of the sensorimotor system in infant rodents, we are now investigating twitching in human infants. With an understanding of the quantity and patterning of twitches in early postnatal development, in concert with neural activity, we hope to leverage REM sleep twitches as an early assessment of brain and spinal cord function in typically and atypically developing human populations.