Vsevolod Y. Polotsky, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Polotsky is a world-renowned expert in animal models of obstructive sleep apnea, and metabolic complications of sleep apnea. Dr. Polotsky was trained in biochemistry at the NIH, in molecular biology at Yale University, and in sleep physiology at the Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Polotsky’s career has been dedicated to extensive studies of the pathogenesis of sleep disordered breathing. During his pulmonary fellowship he extensively studied ventilatory control and sleep in mice. His laboratory developed a mouse model of intermittent hypoxia mimicking the oxyhemoglobin profile in human OSA. Dr. Polotsky pioneered studies of glucose and lipid metabolism in sleep apnea. Dr. Polotsky has a track record of studying metabolic pathways in vivo and in vitro, breeding transgenic mice and using pharmacological inhibitors. He had continuous NIH funding since his graduation from pulmonary fellowship in 2002. Dr. Polotsky’s seminal work uncovered (1) mechanisms by which sleep disordered breathing contribute to the development and progression of insulin resistance, glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes, including the role of the sympathetic nervous system and carotid bodies; (2) pathways by which obstructive sleep apnea perturbs lipid metabolism and leads to progression of atherosclerosis; and (3) relationships between obstructive sleep apnea and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
His current research interests are in chemo-genetic manipulation of the innervation of upper airway musculature with a goal toward developing gene therapy of obstructive sleep apnea, the role of leptin in respiratory and cardiovascular physiology and interactions of asthma and high fat diet. He has supported numerous fellows and students in his laboratory from around the world. Dr. Polotsky is also former chair of the American Thoracic Society (ATS) Sleep and Respiratory Neurobiology Assembly; Director of Sleep Basic Research at Johns Hopkins; and has served on the Editorial Board of several journals including Journal of Applied Physiology, Frontiers in Sleep Medicine, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, and the European Respiratory Journal. He directs the Johns Hopkins Genetics/Genomics of Sleep T32 training grant.