I am board-certified in otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat) and sleep medicine. My clinical focus is on diagnosing and treating upper and lower airway disorders, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and other sleep and circadian conditions in children.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder. It occurs when breathing becomes repeatedly blocked while asleep, leading to reduced oxygen levels throughout the body. Throughout my career, I have spent much of my time treating children with obstructive sleep apnea and evaluating the risks for heart and lung disease in this population. While healthcare providers have multiple medical and surgical techniques to treat this disorder, there are many gaps in knowledge regarding how this condition changes over time.

We all have an internal clock that prepares the body to exercise, eat, digest and sleep at specific times of the day. In my lab, we are studying how disruption of this circadian clock occurs in the setting of obstructive sleep apnea. Using animal models, our efforts are aimed at better understanding this disease process and creating new treatments for obstructive sleep apnea.

At Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, I work closely with Dr. John Hogenesch and other circadian biologists to evaluate the role of the circadian clock in other diseases. We are using information from our labs to better understand human health and develop new treatments for disease. Along with these efforts, we have developed the Center for Circadian Medicine. More globally, our efforts are aimed at improving diagnostic procedures for children with circadian disorders, standardizing treatments for children with sleep disorders and determining how sleep disruption impacts other diseases. This bench-to-bedside approach can change the way we practice medicine.

Throughout my career, I have received multiple awards, including:

  • 2020 Co-Recipient of the Academic and Research Committee (ARC) Award from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
  • 2014 Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery recipient of the Frank L. Coulson, Jr. Award for Clinical Excellence from the Johns Hopkins Hospital Miller-Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence
  • 2017 Finalist for the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center Fellow Scholarly Excellence Award
  • 2020 Recipient of the Carole L. Marcus Outstanding Achievement Award from the Pediatric Sleep and Respiratory Neurobiology Assemblies of the American Thoracic Society
  • Recipient of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) K08 Mentored Career Development Award for "Circadian clock dysregulation in a model of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome" from the National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
  • Recipient of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Loan Repayment Program for "Circadian dysregulation in pediatric obstructive sleep apnea"
  • 2020 Recipient of the Procter Scholar Award from the TAPS Program at Cincinnati Children's
  • 2017 Recipient of the Triological Society Career Development Award

As a surgeon and a scientist, my objective is to bridge the gap between research and clinical care. We endeavor to take new results uncovered in the lab and apply them to patient care. We are looking for methods to enhance treatment for children with sleep and circadian conditions.

View publications on Google Scholar.

View publications on NCBI.

PhD: University of Virginia, 2000-2005.

MD: Medical College of Virginia, 2005-2009.

Residency: Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Johns Hopkins Hospital, 2009-2014.

Fellowship: Pediatric Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 2014-2016; Sleep Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 2016-2017.


Otolaryngology - head and neck surgery; pediatric otolaryngology; sleep medicine; airway disorders

Services and Specialties

Pulmonary Medicine, Otolaryngology ENT, Upper Airway, Sleep Disorders

Research Areas

Otolaryngology, Pulmonary Medicine

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Obstructive sleep apnea in a mouse model is associated with tissue-specific transcriptomic changes in circadian rhythmicity and mean 24-hour gene expression. Koritala, BS C; Lee, YY; Gaspar, LS; Bhadri, SS; Su, W; Wu, G; Francey, LJ; Ruben, MD; Gong, MC; Hogenesch, JB; et al. PLoS biology. 2023; 21:e3002139.

Diurnal regulation of metabolism by Gs-alpha in hypothalamic QPLOT neurons. Gaitonde1,2, KD; Andrabi, M; Burger, CA; D'Souza, SP; Vemaraju, S; Koritala, BS C; Smith, DF; Lang, RA. PloS one. 2023; 18:e0284824.

Sleep Endoscopy and Cine Magnetic Resonance Imaging Evaluation of Children With Persistent Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Li, C; Kou, YF; DeMarcantonio, MA; Heubi, CH; Fleck, R; Kandil, A; Smith, DF; Ishman, SL. Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. 2023; 168:848-855.

A Word of Caution: Adenotonsillectomy May Help Reduce Central Apneas, but It Is Not a Treatment for Central Sleep Apnea. Smith, DF; Heubi, CH; Witt, RM; Dye, TJ. The Laryngoscope. 2023; 133:E8-E9.

Go to bed!: Sleep as a risk factor for adolescent hypertension. Wang, YM; Dandoy, CE; Smith, DF; Hogenesch, JB. Progress in Pediatric Cardiology. 2023; 68:101613.

Daytime-restricted parenteral feeding is associated with earlier oral intake in children following stem cell transplant. Wang, YZ M; Taggart, CB; Huber, JF; Davies, SM; Smith, DF; Hogenesch, JB; Dandoy, CE. The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2023; 133:e167275.

Integration of genome-scale data identifies candidate sleep regulators. Lee, YY; Endale, M; Wu, G; Ruben, MD; Francey, LJ; Morris, AR; Choo, NY; Anafi, RC; Smith, DF; Liu, AC; et al. Sleep. 2023; 46:zsac279.

Expert Consensus Statement: Management of Pediatric Persistent Obstructive Sleep Apnea After Adenotonsillectomy. Ishman, SL; Maturo, S; Schwartz, S; McKenna, M; Baldassari, CM; Bergeron, M; Chernobilsky, B; Ehsan, Z; Gagnon, L; Liu, YC C; et al. Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. 2023; 168:115-130.

167 Earlier Oral Intake in Pediatric Stem Cell Transplant Patients Receiving Time-Restricted Feeding: A Prospective, Randomized Trial. Wang, YM; Taggart, CB; Huber, J; Davies, SM; Smith, DF; Hogenesch, JB; Dandoy, DC E. Transplantation and cellular therapy. 2023; 29:s135.

Outcomes of Pre-treatment and Post-treatment measures after therapy for pediatric circadian disorders. Riley, JM; Hamparian, CN; Sestito, AP; Duggins, AL; Owens, TL; Witt, RM; Simmons, D; Byars, K; Hogenesch, JB; Dye, TJ; et al. Sleep Medicine. 2022; 100:s51-s52.

From the Blog

Sleep Apnea Model Reveals Round-the-Clock Gene Function Disruptions
Genomics and Development

Sleep Apnea Model Reveals Round-the-Clock Gene Function Disruptions

David F. Smith, MD, PhD, Bala S.C. Koritala, PhD5/30/2023

Room for Improvement in Drug Dosage Timing in Hospitals
Quality and Safety

Room for Improvement in Drug Dosage Timing in Hospitals

David F. Smith, MD, PhD, John Hogenesch, PhD10/1/2019

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