Dr. Van Cauter is an internationally known investigator in circadian rhythms on endocrine system in normal and pathological conditions. She is also an expert in the mathematical and statistical analysis of the temporal patterns of hormonal secretion and the effects of sleep on endocrine function. Dr. Van Cauter is the Principal Investigator of a Program Project which is focused on the age related changes in circadian rhythms.
Particularly interesting from a physiologic and therapeutic standpoint are studies which aim to investigate whether replacement of growth hormone in early sleep or restoration of elevated nocturnal melatonin levels, two hormonal events which are thought to act as internal synchronizers in young adults, may correct circadian rhythm alterations in older subjects. Dr. Van Cauter has also determined the utility of the use of hormonal rhythms as markers of the human circadian clock in basic studies examining the mechanisms of entrainment of hormonal rhythms, and their implication for adaptation to jet lag and shift work.
In addition, Dr. Van Cauter is one of five preceptors in the Northwestern University-University of Chicago NIH training grant for Sleep Research. Dr. Van Cauter has collaborated closely with Dr. Polonsky to define the role of ultradian and diurnal hormonal rhythms in glucose regulation. In recent years, she has led a major research program evaluating the impact of sleep loss on endocrine and metabolic function and the possible endocrine benefits of improved sleep quality in older adults.