The Hypersomnia Foundation, a nonprofit patient advocacy group dedicated to improving the lives of people with idiopathic hypersomnia and other rare sleep disorders, has chosen the first recipient of its new Research Award program: Caroline Maness, MD, of Emory University.

Maness is a second-year neurology resident at Emory University’s School of Medicine, and a 2017 cum laude graduate of Emory’s School of Medicine. She is also a 2011 cum laude graduate of Emory University’s College of Arts of Sciences, where she received a bachelor’s of science degree in neuroscience and behavioral biology. Between college and medical school, she was a science teacher at Benjamin E. Mays High School in Atlanta, where she taught biology, microbiology, human anatomy, forensic science, and genetics.

Maness’ research proposal, which is entitled “Investigating Cytokine Profiles in the Central Disorders of Hypersomnolence,” received full funding from the Hypersomnia Foundation. “The more we understand about the causes of [idiopathic hypersomnia] and related disorders, the better equipped we will be to find more effective treatments,” says Lynn Marie Trotti, MD, MSc, the chairperson of the Hypersomnia Foundation’s Medical Advisory Board, in a release. “Dr Maness’ work will be an important step in understanding the potential role of inflammation as a cause or contributor to excessive daytime sleepiness and other symptoms of hypersomnia.”

The Hypersomnia Foundation’s Research Award program is designed to encourage research into idiopathic hypersomnia and other rare sleep disorders. The program is targeted towards persons who are in the early stages of their professional careers, such as medical students, graduate students, fellows, and post-doctoral students. Applications for the Research Award program are accepted on a rolling basis.