Brian Gillis, Ph.D., LMFT
Assistant Professor
Brian Gillis headshot

Accepting new graduate students: Yes

Accepting new undergraduate students: Yes


570 Devall Drive, Suite 202

Auburn University
Auburn, AL 36832

(334) 844-3285



Fun Facts
High school superlative:
Most Shy

Favorite saying:
There is nothing so bad you can’t make it worse.

If you could study any random thing other than HDFS/MFT, what would it be?
Roller coaster design

Ph.D. Auburn University, Human Development & Family Science, 2023
M.F.T. Southern Connecticut State University, Marriage & Family Therapy, 2016
M.Div. Yale Divinity School, 2009
B.A. Auburn University, English (Technical & Professional Communication), 2005
Research Interest
• Health equity for sexual- and gender-minority (LGBTQ+) youth
• Sleep and development
• Physical activity and development • Adolescent mental health

Courses Taught
HDFS 7680: Systemic Assessment, Diagnosis, & Treatment of Psychopathology
HDFS 7600: Marriage and Family Therapy Theory I
HDFS 3060: Patterns of Family Interaction

2023   Outstanding Doctoral Student Award, Auburn University
2020   Nominee, Harry Merriwether Fellowship, Auburn University

Research Projects
Good Nights Sleep Intervention: Pilot of a Randomized Clinical Trial to Improve Child and Family Sleep
Alabama Agriculture Experiment Station

Child Sleep as a Mechanism and Moderator in the Development of Health Disparities
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Selected Publications
Gillis, B. T., McWood, L. M., Brigham, E. F., Hinnant, J. B., & El-Sheikh, M. (2023). Family income as a moderator of relations between sleep and physical health during adolescence. Sleep Health, 9(6), 868-875.

Gillis, B. T., Hinnant, J. B., Erath, S. A., El-Sheikh, M. (2023). Relationship between family income and trajectories of adjustment in adolescence: Sleep and physical activity as moderators. Journal of Adolescence, 95(3), 494–508.

El-Sheikh, M., Gillis, B. T., Saini, E. K., Erath, S. A., & Buckhalt, J. A. (2022). Sleep and disparities in child and adolescent development. Child Development Perspectives, 16(4), 200–207.

Novak, J. R. & Gillis, B. T. (2022). A primer on sleep for MFTs: Implications and practical considerations. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 48(2), 543–559.

Gillis, B. T., Shimizu, M., Philbrook, L. E., & El-Sheikh, M. (2021). Racial disparities in sleep duration: Physical activity as an attenuating factor. Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology, 27(1), 118–122.

Gillis, B. T., & El-Sheikh, M. (2019). Sleep and adjustment in adolescence: Physical activity as a moderator of risk. Sleep Health, 5(3), 266–272.