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Merrill Mitler, PHD

  • PHD
  • Consultant
  • Neuropharmacology and Forensic Examination
  • 91PublicationsNumber of items in Merrill's My Publications folder on Mendeley.
  • 1Followers


Dr. Mitler is a leading authority and consultant on sleep, fatigue and sleep disorders research. He has lectured throughout the world on topics related to sleep, circadian rhythms and fatigue as well as their interactions with prescription drugs and alcohol. Dr. Mitler earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin in 1967. He then earned an M.A. in Child Psychology from Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan in 1968 and a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan in 1970. Subsequently, he trained for 3 years in The Developmental Psychobiology of Sleep at Stanford University Medical School in Palo Alto, California and earned a postdoctoral certificate in 1973. He served on the teaching and research faculties of Stanford University from 1973 to 1978 and The State University of New York Stony Brook from 1978 to 1983. From 1983 to 2003, he was Professor in The Department of Neuropharmacology at The Scripps Research Institute and as a Psychologist at The Scripps Clinic in San Diego, CA. He also was Clinical Professor in The Department of Psychiatry at The University of California, San Diego. In his academic positions, he was awarded continuous funding in the form of fellowships and research grants awarded through competitive, peer-reviewed mechanisms by the National Institutes of Health from 1968 to 2002. These awards allowed him to study various aspects of sleep physiology, sleep disorders, circadian rhythms, the effects of sleep loss and the effects of various drugs on sleep and wakefulness. He has published over 200 articles in scientific journals or books. From 2002 to 2013, he was Program Director for extramural research on homeostatic mechanisms at The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, within The National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. The research supported by Dr. Mitler's program centered on cellular and neurochemical mechanisms of sleep regulation, circadian rhythms and neurologically based sleep disorders. From 1983 to the present, Dr. Mitler maintained a private practice in forensic examination specialized in sleep, fatigue and neuropharmacology as they pertain to transportation and industrial mishaps and associated litigation. He has been a frequent consultant to the U.S. Department of Transportation on matters related to fatigue and hours of service for commercial truck drivers. He was the sleep researcher responsible for the acquisition and processing of sleep and performance data in the DOT's 1996 study on driver fatigue and alertness which is the world's largest objective study of fatigue in commercial truck drivers. It is in the role of private practitioner that he renders opinions and testifies. He is frequently asked to examine documents and render opinions as well as to provide scientific information and expert testimony concerning the following topics: • physiology of sleep • circadian rhythms • effects of trying to sleep during the daytime on alertness and sleep quality • effects of working irregular hours on alertness and sleep quality • effects of sleeping in a sleeper berth on alertness and sleep quality • the phenomenon of cumulative fatigue after obtaining inadequate sleep over several 24-hour days • effects of fatigue on driving performance • effects of sleep disorders on driving performance • driver behavior and appearance before and immediately after a fatigue-related driving error • effects of medications and drugs of abuse on sleep, wakefulness and performance • fatigue management programs for industries that operate around the clock

Research interests

Recent publications

  • Narcolepsy.

    • Mitler M
    • Hajdukovic R
    • Erman M
    • et al.
  • Narcolepsy.

    • Foutz A
    • Mitler M
    • Dement W

Professional experience


Neuropharmacology and Forensic Examination

July 2013 - Present

Program Director

NINDS/National Institutes of Health

December 2002 - July 2013(11 years)

Clinical Professor

University of California, San Diego

December 1983 - December 2004(21 years)


The Scripps Research Institute

June 1983 - June 2003(20 years)


Scripps Clinic Medical Group

July 1983 - December 2001(18 years)

Research Professor

State University of New York at Stony Brook

December 1977 - June 1983(6 years)

Research Associate

Stanford University School of Medicine

March 1972 - June 1978(6 years)



Michigan State University


Michigan State University

Postdoctoral Certificate

Stanford University


University of Wisconsin at Madison

Followers (1)