Thrive Global and The Quaker Oats Company present The Fuel List—20 people changing the way we fuel our minds and bodies every day. These are the leaders making an impact in the worlds of sleep, nutrition, movement and mindfulness right now.

Dr. Matt Walker is helping bring the costs of our global sleep-loss epidemic to the forefront. As a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and one of the world’s leading sleep researchers, his work helps us understand why our sleep gets worse as we age and the role sleep plays in memory formation and neuroplasticity, or the way the brain forms new connections and reorganizes itself throughout our lives. Walker currently leads Berkeley’s Center for Human Sleep Science, where his team studies the critical role sleep plays in human health and disease. He’s received funding from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, and is a Kavli Fellow of The National Academy of Sciences, a distinction awarded to influential young scientists. He’s also a prolific study author, with more than one hundred scientific papers to his name, including work that’s helped the scientific community home in on sleep’s role in diseases ranging from cancer to diabetes to obesity to Alzheimer’s. 

“I recognized Dr. Matt Walker because of his extensive credentials as a neuroscientist focused on sleep, having published over 100 studies on the topic. In addition to his academic pursuits, he has also created practical applications to help individuals improve sleep – such products like Sense, a sleep tracker to help people sleep better, and the book Why We Sleep.” — Candice Morgan, Head of Inclusion & Diversity at Pinterest