David Samson receives prestigious CFI Award for Sleep Lab at UTM

David SamsonSeptember 30, 2020

Congratulations to Prof. David Samson for being awarded the prestigious John R. Evans Leaders Fund – Funding for research infrastructure from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for the project “Sleep and Human Evolution Lab (SHEL): testing evolutionary hypotheses in a clinical, controlled space”.

The award provides funding towards the building of a new sleep research laboratory, which will be the first of its kind in Canada and will incorporate unique technology such as a virtual reality rig to create different stimulus environments in order to see the effects on sleep.

With the new lab build, Prof. Samson’s research will seek to address bigger questions within human evolution, such as:

  • what is the evolutionary function of dreaming? 
  • what is the role of sleep in social cognition?  
  • how is sleep affected by evolutionarily relevant environmental stimuli (e.g.: light from campfires and dehydration)?

This explicitly evolutionary approach to sleep research is innovative and unique in that it will allow for the interpretation of results gathered from both laboratory and field studies.  This is very exciting endeavour for UTM Anthropology and a unique new research laboratory space at UTM.