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Emmanuel Mignot, MD, PhD


Dr. Emmanuel Mignot is the Craig Reynolds Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University and Director of the Stanford Center of Sleep Sciences and Medicine and the Center for Narcolepsy. Dr. Mignot is a former student of the Ecole Normale Superieure (Ulm, Paris, France). He received his M.D. and Ph.D. from Paris V and VI Universities in France. He practiced medicine in France for several years before serving as a visiting scholar at the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Center and later as a visiting assistant professor at Stanford University. He joined the Stanford faculty as acting assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and was named director of the Stanford Center for Narcolepsy in 1993.

In 2009, Dr. Mignot was named director of the Stanford Center of Sleep Sciences and Medicine. In his research, Dr. Mignot identified and cloned a mutation in the hypocretin (orexin) receptor-2 gene from dogs suffering from symptoms of narcolepsy. He went on to find that human narcolepsy is due to the specific loss of hypocretin-expressing neurons. This discovery is considered one of the most important in sleep research for the last 50 years. It has now led to the development of new hypnotics that block the hypocretin (orexin) receptor, and is likely to have other therapeutic applications as well.

Following this discovery, Dr. Mignot’s research lab went on to find that narcolepsy has a genetic architecture strongly suggesting involvement of HLA presentation to CD4 T cells. This research demonstrated that narcolepsy is a selective autoimmune disease of the hypocretin system, also showing for the first time the involvement of molecular mimicry in humans, with influenza A in this case. Dr. Mignot works on various other sleep disorders, and has a special interest in developing new biomarkers of disease and brain health using signal processing of nocturnal polysomnography.

Awards and Accolades:

  • National Sleep Foundation and National Institute of Health Research Awards
  • Narcolepsy Network Professional Service Award
  • Drs. C. and F. Demuth 11th Award for Young Investigators in the Neurosciences
  • WC Dement Academic Achievement Award in sleep disorders medicine
  • CINP and ACNP awards in neuropharmacology
  • McKnight Neuroscience Award,
  • Howard Hughes Medical Investigator Award
  • Jacobaeus Prize.
  • Member of the National Academy of Sciences and of the Institute of Medicine.
  • Co-author of more than 200 original scientific publications and serves on the editorial board of scientific journals in the field of psychiatry and sleep disorders research.
  • Former chair of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research Advisory board (NHLBI) and former chair of the board of Scientific Counselor (NIMH) of the National Institutes of Health.

Current Research

Most of Dr. Mignot’s current research focuses on the neurobiology, genetics and immunology of narcolepsy, a disorder caused by hypocretin (orexin) cell loss, with indirect interest in the neuroimmunology of other brain disorders. The Mignot Lab at Stanford uses state of the art human genetics techniques, such as genome wide association, exome or whole genome sequencing in the study of human sleep and sleep disorders, with parallel studies in animal models. Dr. Mignot’s lab is also interested in web-based assessments of sleep disorders, computer-based processing of polysomnography (PSG), and outcomes research.