Faculty/Staff Profile

Alyson Hanish, PhD, MSN, RN
Assistant Professor

Contact Information
University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC)
College of Nursing - Omaha Division
985330 Nebraska Medical Center
Omaha, NE 68198-5330
tel:(402) 559-6731
E-Mail: alyson.hanish@unmc.edu

Dr. Hanish is an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing. She received her bachelor of science in nursing, master of science in nursing, and PhD in nursing degrees from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA. Dr. Hanish completed a predoctoral fellowship with the National Institute of Nursing Research Graduate Partnerships Program (GPP). Through this program she completed her doctoral coursework at the University of Iowa and transitioned to the intramural programs at National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD to complete her dissertation research. Her research was completed in the NIH intramural labs at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) within the Program on Developmental Endocrinology and Genetics (PDEGEN). Her dissertation research focused on the sleep-related phenotype associated with PAX6 haploinsufficiency. The GPP predoctoral fellowship included training in pineal measurement using magnetic resonance imaging, melatonin enzyme-linked immunoabsorbance assays, sleep questionnaires, sleep diaries, actigraphy, and polysomnography. After completing the predoctoral fellowship, she was eager to expand her training from a rare disease population to more common neurodevelopmental disabilities at risk for sleep problems. She completed her postdoctoral training at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) through the LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities) postdoctoral program at the Munroe Meyer Institute for Genetics and Rehabilitation, receiving a certificate in advanced leadership in autism and neurodevelopmental disabilities. She also completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the UNMC College of Nursing where she focused on mentored training in behavioral sleep interventions for vulnerable pediatric populations, adaptive interventional designs, and grantsmanship for interdisciplinary clinical translational research.


Dr. Hanish's research focuses on the neurobiology of sleep and sleep/wake disturbances in vulnerable pediatric populations such as children and adolescents with neurodevelopmental disabilities. Her research also focuses on the public's perspectives on genetic testing including parental perception/experiences with genetic testing in children with autism spectrum disorder.

  • Served as PI of a study titled: A SMART Design to Improve Sleep Disturbance in Adolescents with Neurodevelopmental Disorders funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Nursing Research 1K01NR017465-01A1 (2019 - 2022)
  • Received Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) Fellowship (Funding, 2009-2010)
  • Received the NINR GPP Predoctoral Fellowship (Extramural T32 Funding, 2010-2011)
  • Served as a graduate research assistant on study funded by the NHGRI (RC1, Genomic Incidental Findings, PIs: Janet Williams & Christian Simon)
  • Received the GPP Predoctoral Fellowship (Intramural NINR/NICHD Funding, 2011-2015)
  • Served as Co-I: Characterization of WAGR Syndrome and Other Chromosome 11 Gene Deletions, Intramural Research Programs of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (2011-2015)
  • Served as Co-I of a study titled: The Bedtime Bank: Pilot Feasibility of a Behavioral Sleep Intervention for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder & Typically Developing Peers (2015 - 2017)
  • Served as Co-I of a study titled: Genetic Testing of Autism Spectrum Disorders: Parental Perceptions and Experiences funded by UNMC Pediatric Mini Grant (2015 - 2017)
  • Served as PI of a study titled: Desperate for Sleep: Exploring Parental Perceptions of Melatonin Use Among Adolescents with Neurodevelopmental Disabilities funded by Leininger Qualitative Transcultural Nursing Research Award (2018 - Present)


  • Teaches population health nursing and evidence-based practice/leadership to undergraduate students
  • Frequently lectures on early career academic trajectories to undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Frequently lectures on pediatric sleep/wake disturbance


  • Involved in development of evidence-based sleep interventions for vulnerable pediatric patients and families
  • Enrollment in a pediatric nurse practitioner program.

Professional Service/Recognition

  • Co-chair: MNRS Physiology, Behavior, and Genomics, Research Interest Group (2018-present)
  • Manuscript reviewer for Journal of Social and Personal Relationships (2016-present), PCORI (2017-present), Quality of Life Research (2017-present), International Journal of Obesity (2018-present), Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing (2018-present), Comprehensive Child and Adolescent Nursing (2018-present), and Biological Research for Nursing (2018-present).
  • UNMC Postdoctoral Travel Award (2016)
  • Outstanding Research Presentation Award: UNMC MMI, LEND Program (2016)
  • Midwest Nursing Research Society (MNRS) Graduate Research Scholars’ Award, UNMC College of Nursing (2016)
  • Outstanding Dissertation Award: MNRS Physiology, Behavior, and Genomics, Research Interest Group (2016)
  • Presidential Poster Competition Award Winner, The Endocrine Society (2012)
  • Co-chair NIH Graduate Student Council (2012)
  • The University of Iowa Interdisciplinary Health Group, Public Policy Award (2011)