HCDM 22 | Child Sleep Expert

 

Whether you’re a parent who has trouble making the young ones sleep properly or someone who is just curious about the mechanics of sleep, this episode is going to open your eyes to sleep. World-leading child sleep expert Dr. Sofia Axelrod’s everyday job is to pull back the bed curtains on the fundamentals of why and how we sleep. Dr. Sofia works closely with Nobel Prize winner Dr. Michael Young at the Rockefeller University in New York. Inspired by her expertise in sleep and chronobiology, and her experience as a mother, Dr. Axelrod wrote a book on baby sleep called “How Babies Sleep.” She created Solaria Systems in 2019 with the intention of developing sleep, science-based, digital, and lighting technologies. She also has a baby sleep app called Kulala, which was launched in 2020. Listen in as she joins Dr. Richard Marn in this conversation that takes us back to the time when she was studying fruit flies and the interesting trajectory that catapulted her to her current niche.

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Pulling Back The Bed Curtains On Sleep With Child Sleep Expert & Genetics Research Associate, Sofia Axelrod, PhD

In this episode, you’re going to learn how a PhD degree and a career in research has opened up a whole bunch of opportunities for this particular guest, especially in health and wellness. Our wonderful guest is Dr. Sofia Axelrod. She is a world-leading sleep experts working at Rockefeller University in New York. She works closely with Nobel Prize winner Dr. Michael Young on the fundamentals of why and how we sleep. In terms of her background, she grew up in Germany where she got her undergraduate and Master’s Degree in Biology. She got a PhD in Developmental Genetics at the Rockefeller University in coordination with Humboldt University in Berlin.

She’s a Research Associate with her mentor, Dr. Michael Young, at the Rockefeller University. Inspired by her expertise in sleep and chronobiology, and her experience as a mother, Dr. Axelrod wrote a book on baby sleep called How Babies Sleep. It has been published and released in August of 2020. This book has already been translated in nine languages. It’s the first of its kind that uses hard science to describe baby sleep and what to do about it. If it sounds interesting to you, check it out on Amazon.

In terms of Dr. Axelrod’s quest for a broader societal impact, she started a company called Solaria Systems in 2019 with the intention of developing sleep, science-based, digital, and lighting technologies. She also has a baby sleep app called Kulala which means sleep in Swahili. This was launched in 2020 and doing well on Apple app store. She even developed a baby sleep lamp, which includes sleep science-based, high-tech features to help your little one sleep.

In this episode, we’re going to talk about how this all came about especially when she started as a basic science researcher studying fruit flies. This is a great episode. Dr. Sofia Axelrod is a wonderful guest and a great person to talk to. This episode will open your eyes, especially if you’re interested in sleep. If you have young ones that you’re even curious about how to get them to sleep better and if you’re considering a career as a researcher.

With me is Dr. Sofia Axelrod, welcome.

I’m excited to be here. What you’re doing is amazing and I’m honored to be part of it.

Thanks, Sofia. Your background is a little different than the typical health career person that I talk to. I want to talk about what your degree is in, what your career is like, and how you applied it to a health career in a non-traditional sense as we envision. Tell me, what do you do right now as a profession.

I am a research scientist. I’m a postdoc, although my title is now Research Associate at Rockefeller University on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City. I’ve been there since the end of 2012. I work as a research scientist, which means I work on trying to understand certain things about biology. In my case, I’m a sleep scientist and a chronobiologist. Chronobiology is the science of the rhythms that govern our day-to-day lives like when do we sleep, when do we wake up, or when do we have a bowel movement. That’s what chronobiology is doing. We try to understand the science behind it and how does it work in our bodies. Why do we sleep? We don’t know why we sleep. We try to answer these questions as experimental biologists in the lab.

You work in a lab, you’re a PhD, and you’re doing basic science research. In a general sense, there’s clinical research and basic science or bench research as some people call it. That’s what you mainly focus on. What type of subjects do you study in your research?

That’s a good question because a large portion of the lab studies little flies. They’re called fruit flies. You might ask, “Why is it a good idea to study fruit flies?” I had the same question when I first heard about it. When I was studying biology back in college, I heard about fruit flies as a so-called model organism. I thought, “Why would you do that? That has nothing to do with real humans?” It’s not true. The answer is evolution. Because of evolution, all life on Earth has very similar things going on. Flies also sleep like humans. They sleep in a very similar way like humans. We believe that sleep is a basic function of all animals. If that’s true then you might as well study something as simple as a fruit fly.

In fruit flies, it’s easy to get genes that govern certain processes in our body. You can knock them out or knock them in. You can create mutant flies much easier than humans. You can experiment on humans in that way. They’re much easier to get at the bottom of things. That’s why we use fruit flies. We also work with humans. Not me personally but another postdoc in the lab. She has been working with human subjects. That’s the beauty of what we do. Sleep is so universal that what you discover in one model organism like a fruit fly, you can apply to humans and vice versa. We go seamlessly across the evolutionary scale in our lab. I personally work with fruit flies. I’ve also started collaborating with a mouse lab. I do work with vertebrates a little bit.

Are there a lot of other animals and insects that have a similar sleep pattern as humans or fruit flies are the thing?

We think it’s universal. Even among mammals, there are huge differences in the total amount of sleep. For example, elephants don’t sleep a lot. They sleep three hours a day. Our cats sleep a lot but they sleep during the day. They take naps all the time. There are differences in how long animals sleep and when they sleep but all animals sleep. Insects sleep just the same. When they sleep is more a function of whether they’re diurnal or nocturnal. We have animals that are active during the day, during the night, or at dusk and dawn. Flies are so-called crepuscular animals that are active at dusk or dawn. All that is not that relevant to us. We think that it’s not related to the basic function of sleep. That’s more of a timing question. To answer your question, all insects sleep in some way or another.

HCDM 22 | Child Sleep Expert

Child Sleep Expert: Sleep is so universal that what you discover in one model organism like a fruit fly can be applied to humans and vice versa.

 

What is your typical day like as a researcher that’s working with this insect or sometimes animals at Rockefeller University?

A typical day looks like I get up. I take care of my little children because I have two little kids. They need food and entertainment. Pre-pandemic, we would bring them to school/daycare, then I would go to work. I should mention that I work right next to where I live because our university provides us with subsidized housing as scientist. We don’t have to commute to work, we can go to work across a little pedestrian bridge, and then I’m at work. I go to the lab and depending on what’s going on, my days are extremely varied. That’s a big difference between being a research scientist to a lot of other jobs.

Being a doctor, your days are structured. My days are totally different depending on what exactly I’m working on. It can be something like actual experiments where I have to look at my fruit flies and put them in little glass tubes so we can monitor their sleep. It can be something like I have to write a paper and then I’m reading literature to understand something about what other people have found out about fruit fly sleep or mouse sleep. I sit down and read or I have to go to seminars to learn about anything.

That’s the advantage of being a basic researcher. These types of seminars I go to and I’m expected to go to range from plant physiology. Plants don’t sleep but they have a circadian rhythm. That’s how it was discovered in the 18th century. For example, sunflowers orient their head towards the sun. In the morning, it’s East and then in the evening, it’s West. In the 18th century, a researcher put these sunflowers in a dark room. You realize that they keep doing this movement without the sun.

They have an idea of where East is and where West is. They have an idea where the sun is coming from.

They also have an idea of time because it was happening at the exact same time, every day and night. For the rest of the plant’s life which was not very long in complete darkness. That scientist realized that there must be something inside the body of the plant. It’s not just reacting to light. It must have an internal clock that keeps it running.

That’s part of genetics. It’s not necessary that you need a brain, spinal cord, cerebellum or cerebrum to say, “Here’s the sun and it’s no longer there.”

This is the type of stuff I have to understand not just about my fruit flies or humans but even plants. I might also go to talks that have nothing to do with what I study like virology, COVID research, or anything. Part of a basic scientist is to understand not just your little box that you are researching in but have a broad understanding of what’s happening in biology overall. I love that. That’s one of my favorite things about my job.

As a PhD doctor, to emphasize the difference between an MD doctor, you have an immense sense of curiosity. You must have if you’re going to be in this career. You have to be interested in what’s going on not just in your field but other people’s field and how it even relates. You have to be reading a lot.

I read a lot and it’s hard. That’s a hard skill to acquire to read papers. It’s the same for doctors. In the beginning, you get a research paper and it’s not the same like a book or a newspaper article. The information is so dense. There’s so much technical language and it’s hard to understand. As time goes by, you learn to get through these papers more easily and you absorb the information. We also have this thing called Journal Clubs. I do that with my undergraduate students because I believe it’s such a cool skill to understand science and absorb the information from these papers quickly. We have these journal clubs where we present papers to each other. We show each other what other researchers have found. That’s a great way to get to know the literature for all of us.

Is it a weekly process?

We do it every other week. It’s also a nice way for these undergrads to stay in touch. Because of the pandemic, they can’t come back to the lab yet. It’s a nice way for the three of us. I have two undergrads although one graduated college. It’s a college graduate and an undergrad, to get together, stay in touch, stay connected to our science, and share ideas. We try to understand what these other people did who worked on something different, and how that relates to what we work on. There are often connections that you never anticipated before you read such a paper or before you went to such a seminar or conference. Those are the things we do to stay in touch with the scientific community and understand the broader ideas that float around.

You can’t make people do things they don’t want to do. Click To Tweet

When I was a medical student and even a young resident, I would love to go to other lectures that wasn’t anesthesia-related. I go to surgery, internal medicine, or ICU because I thought it’d be interesting to what else is going on out there. I can relate to that even though it may not be totally applicable. Is there anything else about your day? How does your day usually end? When are you out of there? Since you’re working in the lab, you said it’s very variable. Are you out at different times? Do you go home at 9:00, sometimes 3:00?

Now that I’m quite senior, I don’t have to spend as much time doing actual benchwork which is a blessing for me because I don’t love benchwork. A lot of people love benchwork. They keep wanting to do experiments for the rest of their lives. That will determine what kind of career they end up doing. They want them to become staff scientists or run a core. A core is a facility at the university that specializes in a certain technique. Other people like me prefer to do more different stuff. They prefer to write grants, write papers, go to seminars, go to conferences, and supervise graduate students, undergraduates, and postdocs to help them do the benchwork while synthesizing everything. That’s what I want to do and what I’m already doing because I already have a team of people.

What is benchwork? How would you define that for some high school students or college students?

Benchwork means doing experimental research. It’s called benchwork because we have these lab benches. It’s like a kitchen counter with a lot of equipment like centrifuges, pipettes, little tubes. Why biology has become such a successful field is because of molecular biology. People have discovered how to cut DNA many years ago. That opened up a completely new way of doing biology. In previous times, people could only observe things like the plant I mentioned before or observe an elephant sleeping.

Now, we can extract animals, plants or any life forms’ DNA, manipulate it, and see how that affects physiology. That helps us to solve medical problems. If something is not working, then we can figure out why that is and we can help address it. The reason for that happening is molecular biology. That’s a lot of what all biological benchwork is. We work at a bench, we have pipettes, and we manipulate genes one way or another, even though that’s not what’s happening all the time but that’s a large part of biology. We try to understand how things work on a molecular and cellular level. I hope all the people who don’t do this type of research don’t think I’m insane for postulating that. In my opinion, that’s the strength of biology research in the 21st and 2nd half of the 20th century.

That’s how scientists get their hands dirty, doing that bench research.

I also do other things. It depends on what your exact area is. I do microscopy and that’s something that I love. I love looking at things that you can’t see with your normal eyes up close, magnifying them, see the inner structure of tissues, brain, and cells. That’s magic.

You’re passionate about what you’re doing, I can sense that. How does your day typically end then for you?

The pandemic and work from home have changed my attitude. I go home around 2:00 PM. I still might have meetings with graduate students, research assistants, my colleagues, or we have lab meetings also. I still have virtual meetings or seminars with them that used to be more in person and now we move them virtual. I also spend some time on my startup. I do that when I’m home. I might connect to my team and work on the applied side of all that sleep stuff. Those are totally different things that have nothing to do with my benchwork, although intellectually, it’s connected.

I want to get to that when we talk about your applied science aspect of your life.

A lot of scientists work very long hours because scientific experiments take a long time often. There’s nothing you can do about that. I would say graduate students are routinely 8 to 10 hours in the lab. That’s something you have to be prepared for. Whether or not you have to do that depends on your advisor. Research labs are quite hierarchical and a lot depends on your so-called principal investigator, head of the lab, or professor. The exact vibe of the lab and the work hours depend on what the PI or the principal investigator demands.

In some cases, they’re very demanding. You will have to work a lot and it can be quite stressful. My PhD was like that and sometimes, not a lot of respect for your personal life. You’re supposed to sacrifice a lot for your research. My mentor is not like that at all. He has a lot of respect for you as a person and he thinks that you do you. If good things happen then great. If not, that’s not great but he’s not going to attack you over that or force you to do anything you don’t want. That’s very much my philosophy. You can’t make people do things they don’t want to do. As a PhD student and a postdoc, you have to work a lot because experiments take a long time. Whether that’s on your own time or not, it depends on your principal investigator.

HCDM 22 | Child Sleep Expert

Child Sleep Expert: Even in a very supportive environment, there will be times where you have to put your head down and figure things out.

 

Are you often working on the weekends when you were a postdoc?

When I was a younger postdoc and when I was a grad student, I worked on the weekends. That’s often the case.

It’s not like someone can fill in for you necessarily.

When you become more senior, sometimes research assistants or students can help you. As a graduate student, you’re very much supposed to run your own show, which is a blessing and a curse because you become completely self-sufficient, smart, and you understand a lot of things in the process. It’s also very hard to do things like that. Science is also unique in the sense that we are not expected to work in teams very much. It’s very different than all of the rest of the world. We are lone wolves who are supposed to figure out everything on their own. In basic research and these types of institutions that I work at, that’s very much so.

There is collaboration though.

There is collaboration. If someone has a specific technique that could help you understand a specific problem, you might pull that person into your project to help you figure out that specific piece of your story. Most things, you’re expected to figure out on your own. This is a job for people who have or want to get the confidence to figure things out on their own. There will be times when you will have to pull through. Even in a very supportive environment, there will be times where you have to put your head down and figure things out. I don’t want to sugarcoat that.

Are there any misconceptions when you talk to people that are not in science about what your career is like or what you do as a doctor?

I wish there was almost a sitcom about lab work in the lab. It’s like Silicon Valley. I don’t know if you know that sitcom about Silicon Valley startups. I wish there was a sitcom like that about lab work because there are a lot of things that I didn’t know about lab work when I joined the lab. Something that is true is how lonely it is. It’s a job for people who are okay with being alone for large parts of their days and working with fruit flies, not with humans. You’re a doctor, you work with humans that could talk to you.

I work with fruit flies. It’s something for people who are okay with that. A lot of people are introverts. Introverts love not having to deal with small talk all day long in an office setting. It’s in some ways a job where you will be on your own, in your head, thinking and doing. It’s important for high school students and college students to know that that’s what’s going to happen. If you can’t deal with that and you know that this will be hard for you, then you shouldn’t pursue this job. The second thing is that most of the things you think about and most of the experiments you do, don’t work.

There are two parts to that. One is your theories about how things work are usually wrong, which means that the hypotheses you form about whatever like why the sunflower might move its head is going to be wrong 9 out of 10 times. To make things worse, the experiments you do to address these questions usually don’t work. Scientific discovery is a very long and hard process. You have to be psychologically ready for that. This is about psychology and nothing else. It has been very hard for me and still is this constant rejection by nature to say, “You’re wrong and this doesn’t work.”

It’s a constant process of troubleshooting and reformulating what you believe is happening. Now and then, you get rewarded with something that is new when you discover something, When you find out, “There was this one gene and then we call it a clock gene that is required for the plant to do that.” That’s a discovery and nobody in the world knew that. That a-ha moment hopefully, makes it all worth it. If it doesn’t, it’s a very hard job because this happens not very often.

If you’re lucky to even have two successes in your career, it’s even better. One thing you talked about before was how you apply your bench research or your basic science research to humans, applied sciences. I wanted to talk about that because we were introduced to each other because of my wife. I learned that you are coming out with a book. I want to talk about that. What is the book called? What is it about? What inspired you to do it?

Scientific discovery is a long and hard process. You have to be psychologically ready for that if you want to pursue a career in research. Click To Tweet

The book is called How Babies Sleep. You can get it everywhere where you can buy books. It’s a weird story how that book came about because I told you about the hardships of scientific discovery, and the long hours in the lab working with fruit flies and plants. It’s a little bit of a leap to go from that to babies. Before you or your audience say, “What is she talking about? This person is insane.” Here’s the thing about my field which are circadian rhythms, chronobiology, and sleep. The beauty of it is that the principles that govern fly sleep, some of them apply to humans too.

That’s also why my mentor won the Nobel Prize because it became clear after his and other people’s discoveries in fruit flies that the same exact principles are at play when humans go to sleep or don’t. The problems that humans can have in sleep are regulated by the same exact genes that he discovered many years ago in fruit flies. That is quite unique to my field. Many people who do basic benchwork and basic research do not necessarily have that direct connection from what they do in the lab to what applies to humans.

In my field, there is that. When I was pregnant and working in the lab, my biggest fear was that I will not sleep again because I’m an insomniac. I’ve always had problems sleeping. I had heard and seen in my sister when she had kids that sleep deprivation can take a huge toll on parents. I was worried about that. That was my biggest angst and anxiety about having children. One day when I was handling my fruit flies, we don’t use normal light when we don’t want the fruit flies to wake up because we know from our science that any light except red light is wake-promoting.

It wakes all animals up including humans. We have these special red flashlights in the lab that we use to not wake up our fruit flies. I was there, I was around seven months pregnant and I suddenly had this idea. The idea was I need to buy red light bulbs for our home for the nighttime so that when the baby is born, I would only use red light at night like I use it with the fruit fires. In other labs, I know they use it with their human subjects or whatever when they don’t want them to wake up at night. I did that so that I can help my baby’s sleep at night. I did that when she was born. It worked well. I thought, what else do I know? What else can I apply? There’s a bunch of things that we know from sleep research that are not publicly known which is weird because there are so many sleep books, baby sleep blogs, and articles but none of them has the right information.

They’re not addressing what you’re addressing.

I was shocked at that because there are a lot of things we don’t know about sleep but there are some things that are 100% the case. I decided to not worry about all these so-called experts and create my own thinking about this based on my own expertise. I wrote this stuff down so that I wouldn’t forget it with my mom brain. I always knew I wanted to have a second child. I wanted to write it all down while it was happening so that when I would have more kids, I could still remember. I would have a record of what worked and what didn’t like a scientist. I created this method that I’m a little bit self-conscious and I waited for my second child to be born.

You’re using your kids as your study subjects. We’re moving on from fruit flies to my own born children.

No shame and it worked again even though he was a very different sleeper. That was very reassuring. I started talking to other moms and parents. I started suggesting some of my things. I increase the sample size little-by-little. I ended up writing the thing as a book because I wanted it to be a booklet that I could distribute. I met a friend who happens to be an agent. He said, “We could try to pitch this to some publishers.” We did and it worked out. It got picked up by a major US publisher and the rest is history. They saw exactly in it what was my original idea which is that there’s nothing out there that is a science-based approach to this very important topic. They wanted that.

You not only wrote a book, but you also started a company to sell some products as well. What is that company about? How does it all fit together with the book?

I was approached as this was all happening. The book wasn’t a thing yet. I was approached by industry people to help them improve their sleep products. In brainstorming ideas to improve their sleep products, I thought, “Why don’t I think about this on my own a little bit?” I came up with the original idea for the whole baby sleep book which is light. Light has such a profound effect on our sleep-wake cycles and our energy in our sleep. It’s not known or respected in that sense in our world. People don’t realize how big the effect of light is and I see an opportunity there.

To help people sleep better at night and also feel more energized during the day and happier because there is a connection with depression as well. I had this grand plan, this vision of a lighting system that would be in your house, replacing light bulbs with other types of light bulbs that we would develop. That lighting system would automatically, naturally, and organically achieve these things. That was the idea. I started connecting with people in the startup sphere which was a completely different thing than my research. It was exciting. The US is the place to be and New York for that type of thing. There’s a lot of enthusiasm for ideas like that.

We started small. We’re starting with the baby sleep thing because that’s where I am right now. The first product we’re launching is the Baby Sleep Lamp which will not have all these features I described. It’s just a lamp, but it will emit a specific type of light that will help your baby sleep. It will have also other features that are scientifically proven to help the baby sleep. We want to figure out in making this product and bringing it to market how to ultimately achieve the big goal. We’re not just focused on light. We also want to integrate with other digital technology. That’s why we also launched an app that uses all this information in the book and my brain to help people with their baby’s sleep. This is all in the baby sleep realm. I can’t see the heart at the same exact thing happening for adult sleep, and also integrating with the lighting system to create the overall solution for everybody’s wellbeing.

HCDM 22 | Child Sleep Expert

How Babies Sleep: The Gentle, Science-Based Method to Help Your Baby Sleep through the Night

It is a big idea. What is the name of your company and the app?

The company is called Solaria Systems. The app and the lamp are called Kulala. Kulala mean sleep in Swahili because we wanted a word that has something to do with sleep and it also sounds like a lullaby.

The reason I want to interview you and I was very excited about it is how you, as a PhD, a basic science person was able to transition and utilize an idea, intelligence, intellect, and apply it to something that human beings can relate to, which is your sleep book, your sleep website, the sleep products, and the idea of how to get better sleep. That’s awesome because it’s not like someone that’s looking for an idea. They’re applying their knowledge and science to something that will work. I imagine you’re going to apply your science to make sure the product is effective and not just some random light That’s a great approach. When people hear about this, they will love it.

Thank you, I hope so. For the high school students and the college students, we tried to talk about what it means to be a PhD student, if you should go to grad school or not, and there’s some hardship there. If there’s one thing that is amazing about being a scientist is you’re trained in problem-solving. That’s not an empty phrase. PhD level people can solve problems in a variety of circumstances. That’s why people with these kinds of degrees go on to do all kinds of things. They start writing a book, starting a company, or going on Wall Street.

Hedge Funds are hiring PhD people even biologists because they can think, analyze data, can come up with solutions on a very deep level, and very few people are trained like that. I want to say, I wouldn’t do a PhD to go to Wall Street. There are better ways to do that. I would do a PhD if you have that curiosity and if you want to understand how something works on a deep level. That doesn’t have to be biology. If you’re interested in a medical career, you can do a PhD in something much more applied than what I’m doing.

It can be cancer research or Alzheimer’s research. I wouldn’t do it if you’re not passionate about science. I do also want to say that this arms you with a toolkit that will pave your future. You can go in so many directions. This was not the case when I was doing a PhD but in the last ten years, science has got much more open to alternative careers. When I was a PhD, everybody was expected to become a professor which is crazy because the math doesn’t work out like that. There are way more PhD students and postdocs than professor position.

It’s a pyramid approach. That doesn’t work. People have realized that and there is now a lot more programs on campus and at the universities to help people figure out their future career. You can go into consulting. That’s a standard path for many people because you can become an expert in healthcare, medicine, or biology. You can become a consultant to Big Pharma, for example, to help them figure out their next drug launch. This is all to say that it’s a fascinating thing to do science, but it’s not just science that you learn how to do. You become an expert at solving problems.

It seems like getting a PhD and going through that process opens up opportunities. You’re not pigeonholing yourself. You’re potentially opening up opportunities to your career. It’s not like, “I’m going to be doing bench research all day.”

There are many options. For example, people who like to write and people who like to be a little bit removed from science, they can become editors at scientific journals, even at popular journals, or something like The New York Times. The New York Times has science writers. Many of them used to be scientists because they can evaluate the science and then write articles about it. There are a lot of opportunities for PhD level people to make an impact, or policy is another very popular direction. If you want to change the way the US handles embryonic research or something like that, then you can go into science policy. That’s another field where PhD level people are required.

This is blowing my mind. I’m serious. I never thought about PhD in this perspective. Sofia, thank you. I do want to end with something different. I have these rapid-fire questions. These are quick questions. Sometimes it’s yes or no. Let’s see how you do. I’m going to ask it and you give me your quick answer. This is something different. Would you rather be able to speak every language in the world or be able to talk to animals?

Talk to animals.

How many hours of sleep do you need?

There are so many books, blogs and articles about sleep, but very few of them actually contain correct information based on sleep research. Click To Tweet

Eight hours.

If you could ask God one question, what would it be?

Is this all going to turn out okay for humankind?

What’s your favorite carnival food?

Halal food.

If you were really hungry, would you eat a bug?

Yes.

What’s your favorite clothing brand?

Lululemon.

If you were stranded on a tropical island, what two things would you want with you?

Generator to create electricity and an umbrella. Very low tech and very high tech.

Where can the audience go to reach out to you or learn more about you?

HCDM 22 | Child Sleep Expert

Child Sleep Expert: One thing that is amazing about being a scientist is that you’re trained in problem-solving. PhD-level people can solve problems in a variety of circumstances.

 

The website is Kulalaland.com. I’m also on social media. On Instagram, it’s @Kulalaland and Twitter, I’m @Baby__Sleep.

Sofia, this is great. Thank you so much for being part of this. I appreciate it. Thank you.

Thank you so much. This was fun.

Thank you for listening to this episode of Health Careers with Dr. Marn. I enjoyed talking with Dr. Sofia Axelrod about her career as a researcher and how that transitioned into a startup, write a book, and even an app. I especially liked when she said that as a PhD student, a PhD graduate, and as a research associate, you learn how to solve problems and learn to organize your thought process on how to take on challenges and deal with them. If you want to learn more about this guest and other past guests or you want to reach out to me, visit HealthCareersWithDrMarn.com or HCWithDrMarn.com. Catch you on the next episode.

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About Dr. Sofia Axelrod

HCDM 22 | Child Sleep ExpertSofia Axelrod, PhD, is a sleep researcher in the laboratory of Michael W. Young, the winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, at the Rockefeller University in New York. She studied in Germany at Eberhard-Karls-University in Tübingen and at Humboldt University in Berlin, where she earned her PhD in biology in 2012.

When she is not investigating the molecular basis of sleep, or spending time with her family, she performs classical vocal music on stages across the United States and Europe.

Her passion for the science of sleep and her personal experience using this method with her children and friends has inspired her to write HOW BABIES SLEEP, create an app and a lamp. Her ultimate goal is to give parents what they need the most: a good night’s sleep.