University of Nebraska Medical Center

Alyson Hanish, PhD, MSN, RN

Assistant Professor, UNMC College of Nursing


Alyson Hanish, PhD, MSN, RN
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.
  • 2011, MSN, University of Iowa
  • 2014, PhD, University of Iowa
Research Interests

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.

  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders
  • Received Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) Fellowship (Funding, 2009-2010)
  • Received the NINR GPP Predoctoral Fellowship (Extramural T32 Funding, 2010-2011)
  • Genomic
  • WAGR Syndrome and Other Chromosome 11 Gene Deletions
  • Served as Co-I of a study titled: Autism Spectrum Disorder
Grant Support
  • January 2022-December 2024 Source: Nebraska Collaborative Investment in Nurses: Title: Resiliency, Retention, & Well-being, Award Amount: $2,245,694, Role: Hanish, A (P.D.)
  • Hanish, A.E. Cohen, M., & Starr, L. Genetic Testing of Autism Spectrum Disorders: Parental Perceptions and Experiences. Journal of Specialists in Pediatric Nursing. 2018 Apr;23(2):e12211. PMID: 29473279
  • Hanish, A.E. & Han, J.C. Delayed Sleep Onset in Adolescents with PAX6 Haploinsufficiency. Biological Research for Nursing. 2018 March; 20(2):237-24. PMID: 29343077; PMCID: PMC5942528
  • Hanish, A.E. Lin-Dyken, D., & Han, J.C. PROMIS Sleep Disturbance and Sleep-related Impairment in Adolescents: Examining Psychometrics Using a Subjective Legacy Measure & Objective Actigraphy Data. Nursing Research.2017 May/Jun;66(3):246-251. PMID: 28448375; PMCID: PMC5426113 [Available on 2018-05-01].
  • Hanish, A.E., Butman, J.A., Thomas, F., Yao, J., & Han, J.C. Pineal Hypoplasia, Reduced Melatonin, & Sleep Disturbance in Patients with PAX6 Haploinsufficiency. The Journal of Sleep Research. 2016 Feb; 25(1):16-22. PMID: 26439359; PMCID: PMC4823177.
  • Han, J.C., Thurm, A., Golden Williams, C., Joseph, L.A., Zein, W.M., Brooks, B.P., Butman, J.A., Brady, S.M., Fuhr, S.R., Hicks, M.D., Huey, A.E., Hanish, A.E., Danley, C.M., Martinowich,K., Weinberger, D.R., Sharp,S.J., Tsao, J.W., & Swedo, S.E. Association of BDNF Haploinsufficiency with Lower Adaptive Behavior and Reduced Cognitive Functioning in WAGR/11p13 Deletion Syndrome. Cortex. 2013 Nov-Dec; 49 (10):2700-10. PMID: 23517654; PMCID: PMC3762943.
  • Driessnack, M., Daack-Hirsch, S., Downing, N., Hanish, A., Shinkunas, L., Shaw, L., Simon, C. Williams, J.K. The disclosure of incidental genomic findings: An ‘ethically important moment’ in pediatric research and practice. Journal of Community Genetics. 2013 Oct; 4(4):435-44. PMID: 23572417; PMCID: PMC3773311.
  • Daack-Hirsch, S., Driessnack, M., Hanish, A., Johnson, V., Simon, C., & Williams, J.K. ‘Information is Information’: A public perspective on incidental findings in clinical and research genome-based testing. Clinical Genetics. 2013 July; 84(1):11-8. PMID: 23590238; PMCID; PMC4334458.
  • 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).
  • Co-chair NIH Graduate Student Council (2012)
  • Involved in development of evidence-based sleep interventions for vulnerable pediatric patients and families.
  • Enrollment in a pediatric nurse practitioner program.
  • 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).
  • The University of Iowa Interdisciplinary Health Group, Public Policy Award (2011).