Pediatric sleep, -gender diversity and -dysphoria

Background and research focus


Pediatric research on sleep disorders in children and adolescents was started in 2010 by prof.dr.K.Dhondt, few years after the pediatric sleep clinic was stettled, in the pediatric department (2004). Soon after the start, this research and expertise was related to the adult sleep research group, earlier founded by prof.dr.D. Pevernagie, pneumologist, and later further conceptualized in the expertise of the ‘Center Neurofysiological Monitoring’. Pediatric sleep research focusses on pediatric sleep disorders, but also broadens the research field towards complex pediatric pathologies characterized often by unknown sleep disturbances. The pediatric research field of sleep is a rather young research area, with many opportunities to unravel.

Gender diversity in children and adolescents is a research area that is new for the last two decades. Research was performed already extensively in adults, by the dept of endocrinology (prof.dr.G. ‘Tsjoen), psychiatry (Prof.dr.G. Decuypere, prof. G. Heylens) and plastic surgery (prof.dr.S.Monstrey). The impact of the increasing number of referrals to our center is huge and research is necessary to focus on treatment options, medical needs and psychosocial support based on scientific evidence. Prof.dr. E. Elaut, Mrs S. Van Giels also cooperate, prof. Elaut as prof. psychology and Mrs Van Giels as a data manager.

Research focus

Sleep fysiology and –disorders in children and adolescents:  

  • Psychopathological characterstics in specific sleep disorders 
  • Prevention and qualitative research
  • Somatic disorders associated with sleep disturbances

Gender diverse children and adolescents:

  • Co-morbidities 
  • Effects of medical/psychological treatments
  • Follow-up data collection (from childhood to adulthood)


Professors and Guest Professors

Karlien Dhondt (contact person)

Postdoctoral researchers

Anneke Van Driessche

PhD candidates

National and international collaborations

Slaapcentrum Kempenhaeghe, Heeze, the Netherlands 

Kenniscentrum voor kinder- en jeugdpsychiatrie, VUMC, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Defended PhDs (last 5 years)

Promoting healthy sleep in adolescents : a participatory approach  

Ann Vandendriessche (2023)