top of page
Parisa Vidafar.jpeg

Dr Parisa Vidafar

Dr. Parisa Vidafar is a Postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Sydney’s Central Clinical School within the Faculty of Medicine and Health. She discovered that there are significant individual differences in the way humans respond to light at night. This discovery may help to explain why some people are more likely to experience sleep problems and circadian disruption than others. Parisa joined the ARC Life Course Centre of Excellence in 2021 and, under the mentorship of Prof. Nick Glozier, is working to understand the social determinants of sleep. Her main focus is to explore sleep and circadian rhythms in autistic individuals and their families across the lifespan.  


Parisa completed her Ph.D. at Monash University in 2019 and her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan in 2021.


Her research focuses on the effects of light exposure on the human circadian system. Specifically, she is interested in how light exposure patterns affect the timing of sleep, sleep quality and sleep duration in autistic individuals and those with other neurodevelopmental disorders. She is also interested in developing and modifying tools to measure light sensitivity in individuals, creating educational programs about sleep and circadian rhythms, and designing personalised sleep treatments and interventions that will help improve the quality of life for individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders and their families.   


Parisa has more than eight years of experience working in the public health sector as a sleep scientist in various hospitals around Australia, including the Prince of Wales Hospital, the Sydney Children’s Hospital, the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Box Hill Hospital.     

Research interests

Research interests include:

- Sleep and circadian rhythms

- Impact of light exposure patterns on sleep timing, quality and duration

Developing and modifying tools to measure light sensitivity

- Sleep disturbances in neurodevelopmental conditions

Publication highlights

Vidafar, P., Yocum, A.K., Han, P., McInnis, M.G. and Burgess, H.J. (2021). Late chronotype predicts more depressive symptoms in bipolar disorder over a 5 year follow-up period. International Journal of Bipolar Disorders, 9(1), 1-9.

Vidafar, P., Cain, S.W. and Shechter, A. (2020). Relationship between sleep and hedonic appetite in shift workers. Nutrients, 12(9), 2835

Cain, S.W., McGlashan, E.M., Vidafar, P., Mustafovska, J., Curran, S.P., Wang, X., Mohamed, A., Kalavally, V. and Phillips, A.J. (2020). Evening home lighting adversely impacts the circadian system and sleep. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 1-10.

Phillips, A.J.K., Vidafar, P., Burns, A.C., McGlashan, E.M., Anderson, C., Rajaratnam, S.M., Lockley, S.W. and Cain, S.W. (2019). High sensitivity and interindividual variability in the response of the human circadian system to evening light. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(24), 12019-12024.

McGlashan, E.M., Coleman, M.Y., Vidafar, P., Phillips, A.J.K. and Cain, S.W. (2019). Decreased sensitivity of the circadian system to light in current, but not remitted depression. Journal of Affective Disorders, 256, 386-392.

Coleman, M.Y., McGlashan, E.M., Vidafar, P., Phillips, A.J.K. and Cain, S.W. (2019). Advanced melatonin onset relative to sleep in women with unmedicated major depressive disorder. Chronobiology International, 36(10), 1373-1383.

Vidafar, P., Gooley, J.J., Burns, A.C., Rajaratnam, S.M., Rueger, M., Van Reen, E., Czeisler, C.A., Lockley, S.W. and Cain, S.W. (2018). Increased vulnerability to attentional failure during acute sleep deprivation in women depends on menstrual phase. Sleep, 41(8), p.zsy098.

McGlashan, E.M., Nandam, L.S., Vidafar, P., Mansfield, D.R., Rajaratnam, S.M.W. and Cain, S.W. (2018). The SSRI citalopram increases the sensitivity of the human circadian system to light in an acute dose. Psychopharmacology, 235(11), 3201-3209.

McGlashan, E.M., Poudel, G.R., Vidafar, P., Drummond, S. and Cain, S.W. (2018). Imaging individual differences in the response of the human suprachiasmatic area to light. Frontiers in Neurology, 1022.

bottom of page