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Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

Dr. Julio Fernandez-Mendoza's research focuses on the relationship between disturbed, insufficient and misaligned sleep with cardiometabolic, neurocognitive and psychopathologic morbidity and mortality. He is examining these relationships in population-based cohorts of young children, adolescents and adults studied in the sleep lab and at home. His overarching goal is to better understand the maturational trajectories, natural course and associated health outcomes of normal and inadequate sleep and improve the phenotyping of its heterogeneous disorders, particularly insomnia and sleep apnea. His research relies on both subjective and objective methods and techniques such as standardized neurocognitive testing, polysomnography, spectral/FFT analysis, ambulatory actigraphy and inflammatory, stress, metabolic and sleep EEG biomarkers. His other research interests encompass testing the comparative effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral vs. pharmacological therapies for insomnia and its phenotypes.

Professional information

Associate Vice Chair for Faculty Research Development in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, Penn State College of Medicine

Diplomate in Behavioral Sleep Medicine, Board of Behavioral Sleep Medicine, July 2018

Certified in Behavioral Sleep Medicine, American Board of Sleep Medicine, October 2014

Somnologist - Expert in Behavioural Sleep Medicine, European Sleep Research Society, September 2014

Licensed Psychologist, Pennsylvania State Board of Psychology, April 2013


Clinical interests

Dr. Julio Fernandez-Mendoza's clinical practice includes a wide array of sleep-wake disorders, with a special emphasis on insomnia disorder, circadian rhythm sleep disorders, nightmare disorder and hypersomnia disorders. Clinically, he is a sleep psychologist applying behavioral sleep medicine (BSM) principles and therapies to assessing the onset, course and perpetuation of sleep and circadian disorders and intervening on the behavioral, cognitive and light-dependent factors contributing to the chronicity of these disorders. Specific BSM treatments he provides or supervises in his routine clinical practice include cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), chronotherapy and bright light therapy (BLT) exposure for circadian disorders, imagery rehearsal therapy (IRT) for nightmare disorder, exposure relaxation and rescripting therapy (ERRT) for post-traumatic nightmares, scheduled napping and behavioral activation for hypersomnia disorders and mood-related sleep inertia, cognitive-behavioral therapy for night eating syndrome (CBT-NES) or behavioral desensitization and tolerance (BDT) for PAP adherence and compliance. He trains clinical psychology interns, psychiatry residents and neurology residents. He provides care in English and Spanish.

Teaching and educational interests

Dr. Julio Fernandez-Mendoza's teaching and educational interests include formal lecturing, clinical training and research mentoring of master-level students, medical students (MSR) and doctoral-level students as well as postdoctoral fellows, residents and junior faculty. His areas of mentorship and teaching focus on sleep physiology and behavior, sleep nosology, behavioral sleep medicine (BSM), population-based science and cognitive neuroscience. He teaches and trains within the scope of the Anatomy, Neuroscience, Psychology Internship, and Psychiatry Residency training programs at Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health. He has served on several dissertation committees for the graduate programs just mentioned as well as for the Epidemiology, Biobehavioral Health and Nursing doctoral programs. As per clinical training, he serves as Director of the BSM Training Program, which is accredited by the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine to train the next generation of Diplomates in BSM (DBSM).

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Penn State College of Medicine

Jun 2010Dec 2013

Psychobiology, PhD, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Jun 2006May 2010

Sleep Physiology and Medicine, Master, Universidad Pablo de Olavide

Jan 2007Sep 2007

Psychobiology, Diploma de Estudios Avanzados , Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Nov 2003May 2006

Clinical and Health Psychology, Master, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Nov 2003Jul 2005

Licenciado in Psychology, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Oct 1998Jul 2003

External positions

Standing Member, Lifestyle and Health Behaviors (LHB) Study Section, National Institutes of Health


Past-President, Board of Behavioral Sleep Medicine


Standing Member, Cancer, Heart, and Sleep Epidemiology Panel A (CHSA) Study Section, National Institutes of Health


Associate Editor, Frontiers in Neuroscience

2021 → …

Ad hoc Member, Biobehavioral Mechanisms of Emotion, Stress and Health (MESH) Study Section, National Institutes of Health


Associate Editor, SLEEP

2021 → …

President, Board of Behavioral Sleep Medicine


Ad hoc Member, Behavioral Medicine Interventions and Outcomes (BMIO) Study Section, National Institutes of Health


Ad hoc Member, Emotions, Sleep, Stress, Health, and Psychopathology Special Emphasis Panel (SEP), National Institutes of Health


Ad hoc Member, Cancer, Heart, and Sleep Epidemiology Panel A (CHSA) Study Section, National Institutes of Health


President-elect, Board of Behavioral Sleep Medicine


Associate Editor, Sleep Health

2019 → …

Psychologist Reviewer, Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS) Program Committee


Director-at-Large, Board of Behavioral Sleep Medicine



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