Dr. Heller's laboratory works in two areas. One is the neurobiology of sleep, circadian rhythms, and learning disabilities. The other is the regulation of body temperature in mammals and the relationship between temperature and human performance. Dr. Heller is co-director of the Stanford Down Syndrome Research Center. The Center fosters multidisciplinary approaches and collaborations that will help us understand the neural mechanisms underlying the cognitive dysfunction associated with Down Syndrome and other neurodevelopmental disorders.
Dr. Heller's current research is in neurobiology of sleep, circadian rhythms, regulation of body temperature, mammalian hibernation, and human exercise physiology. They study neural mechanisms controlling arousal states and arousal state transitions, the function of sleep, and the neural mechanisms of circadian rhythms. Research on human exercise physiology focuses on the effects of body temperature on physical conditioning and performance. The focus on Down syndrome is exploring the mechanism whereby reduction of GABA activity restores learning and memory in DS mice and also in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease.