Benjamin Rusak


ben rusak web photo

Phone: 902-473-2433
Mailing Address: 
Department of Psychiatry Research
8th Floor, Room 8215, AJLB
5909 Veterans' Memorial Lane
Halifax, NS B3H 2E2
Research Topics:
  • Chronobiology and sleep
  • Circadian rhythms
  • Mood disorders
  • Neurodegenerative diseases


BA (University of Toronto)
PhD (University of California, Berkeley)

Research interests

Dr. Rusak investigates mechanisms regulating circadian rhythms and sleep, and the application of knowledge of these mechanisms to issues in human health. Current research projects include studies of the impacts of sleep loss on metabolism, cognition, mood, risk of psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases, and the role of sleep in learning.

Selected publications  

  • Rusak, B. and Groos, G. Suprachiasmatic stimulation phase shifts rodent circadian rhythms. Science, 215:1407-1409, 1982.
  • Rusak, B., Robertson, H.A., Wisden, W. and Hunt, S.P. Light pulses which shift rhythms induce gene expression in the suprachiasmatic nucleus. Science, 248:1237-1240, 1990.
  • Piggins, H.D., Antle, M. and Rusak, B. Neuropeptides phase shift the mammalian circadian pacemaker. Journal of Neuroscience 15:5612-5622, 1995.
  • Bernier, D., Bartha, R., Devarajan, S., MacMaster, F.P., Schmidt, M. and Rusak, B. Effects of overnight sleep restriction on brain chemistry and mood in women with unipolar depression. Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience 34:352-360, 2009.
  • Omisade, A., Buxton, O. and Rusak, B. Impact of acute sleep restriction on cortisol and leptin levels in young women. Physiology and Behavior 99:651-656, 2010.

Selected awards and honours

  • Fellow, Royal Society of Canada, Academy of Science, 1999-
  • University Research Professor, Dalhousie University, 2002-2007
  • Distinguished Scientist Award, Canadian Sleep Society, 2011
  • Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation Max Forman Senior Research Prize, 2012
  • Heinz Lehmann Award, Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 2013

Service & Activity

  • Member, Advisory Board, Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health, CIHR, 2004-2013    
  • Member, Life Sciences Advisory Committee, Canadian Space Agency, 2006-2009
  • Member, Research Advisory Committee, NS Health Research Foundation, 2007-2017       
  • Member, Division of Life Sciences Committee for the Selection of New Fellows, Academy of Science, Royal Society of Canada, 2010-2011           
  • Interim Chair, Board of Directors, Canadian Depression Research & Intervention Network, 2013-2016