About Dr. Leszek Kubin


Education/degrees

 1976  MS (Biomedical engineering)Warsaw Technical University
 1982 PhD (Control of posture and vestibular physiology)
 University of Pisa
 1983 PhD (Neural control of breathing and circulation) Warsaw Medical School
 1983-85 Postdoctoral training (Reflex control of breathing) University of Pennsylvania
 2000 Habilitation/docent degree (Upper airway control during sleep) Center for Experimental and Clinical Medicine, Polish Academy of Sciences

Dr. Leszek Kubin, Penn Vet
Leszek Kubin PhD

  • Research Professor of Physiology, Biomedical Sciences, Penn Vet
  • Pulmonary and Critical Care Division, Penn Medicine
  • Biomedical Sciences 209E/VET
    School of Veterinary Medicine
    University of Pennsylvania
    3800 Spruce Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19104-6046
  • Office: 214-898-1893
  • Lab: 214-898-6258
  • Fax: 215-573-6810
  • Email: lkubin@vet.upenn.edu

Dr. Kubin - research programs and interests

We are interested in neural mechanisms of cardiorespiratory disorders during sleep associated with a common disorder known as the Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) Syndrome. We also explore the basic mechanisms responsible for the generation of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep.

In certain individuals with anatomically predisposed upper airway, hypoventilations and obstructive sleep apneas may occur as often as 60 times per hour. They may occur in all sleep stages but are often most frequently and most severe during REM sleep. The direct cause of these disruptions is the sleep state-dependent loss of activity in upper airway muscles, including those lining up the walls of the pharynx and making up the tongue. Acutely, recurrent obstructive episodes cause profound sleepiness; chronically, they lead to a host of cardiovascular and metabolic problems, such as arterial hypertension, stroke, and metabolic derangements.

The sleep-related decrements in upper airway muscle activity are caused by state-dependent changes in activity of neurochemically distinct groups of cells in the brain. Such changes include a loss of excitation that, during wakefulness, is mediated by norepinephrine and serotonin acting on motor neurons that innervate upper airway muscles.

In our research, we use rodent models to study the following:

  • Neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and neurochemistry of state-dependent control of upper airway muscles
  • Neurochemistry and functions of central neurons and pathways responsible for the generation of REM sleep
  • The role of hypothalamic GABAergic mechanisms in mediation of the brain's "sleepiness signal"
  • Metabolic and other consequences of chronic exposure to recurrent (episodic) hypoxia which mechanistically is a major pathogenic factor in OSA

Our studies are supported by grants from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. Other laboratories at the University of Pennsylvania study related questions, such as the homeostatic regulation of sleep in mammalian and non-mammalian species, regulation of circadian rhythms, and clinical somatic and cognitive problems associated with the loss of sleep and sleep-disordered breathing. Collaborative efforts among these labs are facilitated through the Penn's Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology and Penn Chronobiology Program.

Academic Positions

 2003-Present  Research Professor of Physiology. Department of Biomedical Sciences (Animal Biology prior to 4/2015), University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; secondary appointment since 1992: Pulmonary and Critical Care Division, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.
 2013 (Spring)
 Honorary Visiting Professor in the School of Physiological Sciences, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
 2007 (Spring)
 Visiting Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Molecular Biology, University of Siena, Italy, and the Department of Neuro- and Sensory Physiology, Georg August University, Gottingen, Germany.
 1995-2003 Research Associate Professor of Physiology. Department of Animal Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
 1999 (Spring)
 Honorary Visiting Professor in the Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.
 1988-1995 Research Assistant Professor of Physiology. Department of Animal Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
 1986-1988 Assistant Professor. Department of Neurophysiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw.
 1985-1986 Assistant Professor. Department of Human Physiology, Warsaw School of Medicine.
 1983-1985 Research Associate. Department of Animal Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
 1978-1979 Scholar of the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa. Istituto di Fisiologia Umana, Universitá degli Studi di Pisa, Italy.
 1976-1983 Research Assistant. Department of Human Physiology, Warsaw School of Medicine.

Selected academic activities and services at national/international level

  2017 (June)   Ad-hoc grant reviewer for the Respiratory and Integrative Biology Study Section (RIBT) at the Center for Scientific Review, NIH.
  2012-17  Ad-hoc grant reviewer for VA Merit Review, Neurobiology (NURC/D/R) review panels.
 2015-present

Review Editor for Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, a sub-section of Frontiers in Neuroscience, Physiology and Psychiatry.

  2014 (Dec.) Ad-hoc member of the National Research Service Award (fellowships) ZRG1 F10A-S 20L review panel: Physiology and Pathobiology of Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems at the Center for Scientific Review, NIH.
  2012-2013   Guest Co-Editor of the Special Issue of Respiratory Physiology and Neurobiology titled “Sleep and Breathing.”
  2010-present   Review Editor of Frontiers in Psychiatry, a section on Sleep and Chronobiology; prior to 201, a section on Sleep Disorders.
  2010-2014   Member of the Sleep Disorders Research Advisory Board for the Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, NIH.
  2010-2011   Guest Editor of the Special Issue of Archives Italiennes de Biologie on "Mechanisms and networks of motoneuronal control during sleep.”
 2010-2011 Member of the Organizing Committee of the 12th International Symposium on Sleep and Breathing, Barcelona, Spain, April 7-9, 2011.
  2010   Co-organizer and faculty at a full-day course titled “Respiratory Neurobiology - What Is the Latest?” during the Annual Conference of the American Thoracic Society, New Orleans, LA, May 14-19, 2010.
  2007-2015   Member and chair (2010-13) of the Program Committee of The Data Blitz - an annual National Center on Sleep Disorders, NIH-sponsored symposium highlighting sleep and circadian rhythm research at the annual meetings of the Society for Neuroscience.
  2010   Committee member of the Operating Grants Study Section “Sleep and Circadian Rhythms” at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
  2008-2009   Member of the Program Committee of the 11th International Symposium on Sleep and Breathing, Pittsburgh, PA, September 10-12, 2009.
  2008   Organizer and co-chair of a symposium sponsored by the American Thoracic Society Assembly on Respiratory Neurobiology and Sleep titled: “Sleep Apnea Pathogenesis: Bench to Bedside” at the Annual International Conference of the American Thoracic Society, Toronto, Canada, May 16-21, 2008.
  2008   Organizer and co-chair of a session sponsored by the Respiratory Section of the American Physiological Society titled: “Recent Advances in the Neurobiology of State-dependent Control of Breathing” at the annual meeting Experimental Biology-2008, San Diego, CA, April 5-9, 2008.
  2007   Member of the International Working Group on Rodent Models of Narcolepsy; summary published in Sleep 32: 16, 2009.
  2006-2010   Regular member of the Biological Rhythms and Sleep (BRS) Study Section, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health.
  2006   Organizer and chair of the symposium titled: “Unraveling OSA Pathophysiology Using Rodent Models” at the Annual International Conference of the American Thoracic Society, San Diego, CA, May 19-24, 2006.
  2006-present   Member of the Editorial Board of Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis (Warsaw) (term expires 2018).
 2005-2008   Member of the Program Committee of the Assembly on Respiratory Neurobiology and Sleep of the American Thoracic Society.
  2005-2006   Member of the International Program Committee of the 8th World Congress on Sleep Apnea, Montreal, Canada, Sept. 27 - Oct. 1, 2006.
  2003-2006   Member and chair (2004-06) of the Membership Committee of the Sleep Research Society (USA).
  2004-2005   Guest Editor of the Special Issue of Respiratory Physiology and Neurobiology titled “Accessory Respiratory Muscles, their Control and Coordination.”
  2003-2010   Member of the Editorial Board of Respiratory Physiology and Neurobiology.
  2003   Organizer and chair of the symposium titled: “Hypothalamic GABAergic systems, the lateral hypothalamus and regulation of sleep” at the 17th Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, Chicago, IL, June 3-8, 2003.
  2002-2003   Guest Co-Editor of the Special Issue of Respiratory Physiology and Neurobiology titled “Sleep Disordered Breathing: from Molecules to Patient Populations.”
  2002-present   Member of the Editorial Board of Archives Italiennes de Biologie.
  2001-2002   Organizer of the 8th International Symposium on Sleep & Breathing, Reykjavik, Iceland, May 31 - June 2, 2002.
  2001   Organizer of a round table panel on: “Sleep and anesthesia: similarities and differences at cellular and systemic levels” at the International Congress of the World Federation of Sleep Research Societies, Punta del Este, Uruguay, October 21-26, 2001.
  1998-1999   Member of the Organizing Committee of the American Physiological Society Symposium “Determinants of Vigilance: Interaction between the Sleep and Circadian Systems”, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, October 19-22, 1999.
  1994   Member of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Planning Committee on "High Priority Research Problems in the Area of Cardiorespiratory Aspects of Sleep Research" for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, NIH.