Class of 2021

World Sleep Society
Allan O’Bryan, Executive Director
[email protected]




ROCHESTER, MN –July 31, 2019— The sleep research trainee applicants for the World Sleep Society International Sleep Research Training Program (ISRTP) class of 2021 have been selected. After receiving applications to join the mentor/mentee training program in sleep medicine and research from several countries, nine applicants were selected. Congratulations to Andrey Golovatyuk, MD (Russia), Wenjing Jiang, PhD (China), Soriul Kim, PhD, MPH (Republic of Korea), Arezu Najafi, MD (Iran), Hua Qin, PhD (China), Yun Shen, MD, PhD (China), Xi Zhang, MBBS, MM (China), Yuan Zhang, MD, PhD (China) and Bingqian Zhu, PhD (China).

The overarching goal of the program is to prepare sleep trainees from various countries throughout the world for future leadership in basic and/or clinical sleep research. The ISRTP will provide an opportunity for these trainees to train at major academic institutions so they can acquire sleep research skills and observe management of patients with sleep disorders from experienced scientists and clinicians.

“The ISRTP is a stimulating mentoring program that will contribute to the advancement of the field of sleep medicine and research,” states Birgit Högl, MD (Austria), President of World Sleep Society. “Through hands-on training, this program will ensure the field thrives and grows, actively fulfilling our society’s mission to advance sleep health worldwide.”

“Through ISRTP,” Clete Kushida, MD, PhD explains, “there is now a formalized process to select the best international trainees whom would optimally benefit from a one-year comprehensive training program in our field.”

One of the inaugural class members, Wenjing (Athena) Wang, MD (China), graduated from the program in 2020. She said of her experience, “I appreciate the opportunity of ISRTP to study at Stanford University during the past year. It is an informative and inspirational place where I have learned chunks of knowledge on sleep medicine systematically. The whole process helped me hone my skills in many fields, such as clinical medicine, research, management of a department, communication, organization of meetings, and more.”

ISRTP Mentor sites
The trainees were matched to sleep research mentors at the following host academic institutions:

Andrey Golovatyuk, MD (Russia)

Andrey Golovatyuk, MD (Russia) will be mentored by Fang Han, MD at PEKING UNIVERSITY PEOPLE’S HOSPITAL – PKUPH Sleep Center





Wenjing Jiang, PhD (China)

Wenjing Jiang, PhD (China) will be mentored by Clete Kushida, MD, PhD at STANFORD UNIVERSITY – Division of Sleep Medicine





Soriul Kim, PhD, MPH (Republic of Korea)

Soriul Kim, PhD, MPH (Republic of Korea) will be mentored by Allan Pack, MBChB, PhD at UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA – Center for Sleep & Circadian Neurobiology






Arezu Najafi, MD (Iran)

Arezu Najafi, MD (Iran) will be mentored by Fang Han, MD at PEKING UNIVERSITY PEOPLE’S HOSPITAL – PKUPH Sleep Center





Hua Qin, PhD (China)

Hua Qin, PhD (China) will be mentored by Thomas Penzel, PhD at CHARITÉ UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL BERLIN – Sleep Medicine Center





Yun Shen, MD, PhD (China)

Yun Shen, MD, PhD (China) will be mentored by Yanagisawa Masashi, MD, PhD at UNIVERSITY OF TSUKUBA- International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine (IIIS)





Xi Zhang, MBBS, MM (China)

Xi Zhang, MBBS, MM (China) will be mentored by Clete Kushida, MD, PhD at STANFORD UNIVERSITY – Division of Sleep Medicine





Yuan Zhang, MD, PhD (China)

Yuan Zhang, MD, PhD (China) will be mentored by Susan Redline, MD, MPH at HARVARD UNIVERSITY – Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School





Bingqian Zhu, PhD (China)

Bingqian Zhu, PhD (China) will be mentored by Simon Kyle, MA, PhD at UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD – Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute





From the Inaugural Class

Dr. Golovatyuk of the incoming ISRTP class of 2021 states, “I am working at the validation of the Swiss Narcolepsy Scale in Russia and, I hope, my colleagues and I will continue to develop sleep medicine not only in Russia, but in the world. This mentorship opens new possibilities as for me, and for somnology in my native country. I hope my professional growth will allow me to take part in the development of sleep science in Russia.”

Heading from Iran to China, Dr. Najafi says of the opportunity, “My current projects include the epidemiological assessment of OSA in Iran, and sleep-related issues of commercial drivers. This ISRTP mentorship provides the mentees—as future research leaders—the joy of “standing on the shoulders of giants” for achieving healthier sleep and life in our planet.”

Dr. Zhu is looking forward to the ISRTP program connecting her with international sleep research leaders. She says of being an incoming mentee, “Coming from a nursing background, I believe nurses will play a critical role in the field of sleep medicine. This training program will be a very important step towards reaching my goal of becoming a sleep scientist as a nurse.”

“Currently, I am pursuing PhD degree in Berlin,” states Dr. Qin, one of the incoming mentees of the program. “My doctoral work is predominantly focused on the clinical use of heart rate variability as a predictor of cardiovascular consequences in patients with sleep disorders. The training program of Charite University Hospital provides a unique combined application of clinical research, biomedical engineering and computing skills for investigations on mechanisms and outcomes of sleep disorders.”

Dr. Kim states, “I’m looking forward to learning about advanced genetic research skills and collaborating with various experts during the training period of ISRTP. After I finish the program, I’d like to contribute to infra constructions in the sleep genetic research fields in Korea.”

Dr. Jiang explains, “I have been a neurologist for twelve years. I have a keen interest in those sleep disorders happened in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. In the future, I hope to get involved with different research projects to improve my scientific thinking and the basic clinical knowledge on sleep disorders with neurological diseases.”

“I am a board-certified physician in China interested in sleep medicine,” Dr. Xi Zhang states. “I am very excited about this opportunity at Stanford University. I’d like to get familiar with the most current diagnostic and treatment tools for sleep disorders and improve my ability to diagnose and treat complicated sleep diseases. I believe this ISRTP mentorship offers me a great opportunity to do that.”

Dr. Yuan Zhang says, “I am so glad to be accepted by ISRTP and trained at Harvard Medical School. I am a physician from the department of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine in China. I am interested in research related to to sleep disordered breathing and neurodegeneration, especially how sleep phenotypes influence neurocognitive impairment.”

“ISRTP lets me see higher and farther,” Dr. Shen states. “This ISRTP mentorship, as a new platform for me, is an opportunity to learn more professional sleep knowledge and establish cooperative relationships. In the future, I will continue my sleep work, disseminate scientific sleep knowledge, and help the general population develop better sleep.”

How ISRTP Makes an Impact
This educational initiative is supported by Philips. The ISRTP program will foster a cohort of future sleep research leaders who will keep the field of sleep research and medicine vibrant with their ideas, plans and goals.

“Sleep is a key pillar of our core health technology and we are committed to helping people all over the world to sleep better,” says Dr. Teofilo Lee-Chiong, Chief Medical Liaison, Sleep and Respiratory Care at Philips. “We are excited to be given the opportunity to partner with the World Sleep Society in supporting the training and research of talented, young medical professionals in sleep medicine, which will, in turn, help to further promote sleep health across the globe.”


About World Sleep Society
ISRTP is organized by World Sleep Society, an international association whose mission is to advance sleep health worldwide. World Sleep Society hosts a biennial scientific congress on sleep medicine aiming to globally connect sleep professionals and researchers to advance current knowledge on sleep. A job board has also been created for sleep medicine professionals on Follow the excitement on Twitter @_WorldSleep and