Dr. Ronny Bartsch – The Language of Sleep

Dr. Ronny Bartsch, of BIU’s Department of Physics, is fascinated by how human organs communicate. And especially, how these communications change while we sleep. His research focuses on the interface of physics with physiology and medicine. “We use concepts from statistical, nonlinear dynamics and complex networks theory,” explains Bartsch, “in order to better understand certain regulatory mechanisms that lead to, for example, micro arousals of the brain during deep sleep or a collapse of organ-to-organ communications in intensive care medicine.”

Bartsch became interested in physics at a very young age. “Physics was one of my favorite subjects at school,” he remembers. “I "also had excellent teachers who knew very well how to teach physics theory in combination with experiments and science history."

Born in Germany, Bartsch (married + 1) only recently became a BIU faculty member, though he did complete his PhD in the Physics department. He has an MSc from the University of Knostanz in Germany, and prior to joining BIU, he completed a postdoc in the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston. During the 6 years he spent there, Bartsch worked on questions related to physiological regulation and coupling between physiological systems, and how they change during different sleep phases.

Ask what he considers to be a personal highlight thus far, Bartsch mentions one recent paper: “One of my favorite works is our paper in Nature Communications, where, for the first time, we construct a network of communication between different organs (brain, heart, lungs etc.) and show how this network systematically changes with sleep-stage transitions.”

For Bartsch, physics isn’t simply a vocation. It is a philosophy, and a way of life. “Physics is for me a way to describe quantitatively the very complex mechanisms in nature using mathematical and computational tools.” Witnessing Bartsch’s enthusiasm when discussing his research, there is no doubt he has chosen the right path in his life, and BIU is lucky to have him.
For more on Dr. Bartsch click here.