Obstructive sleep apnoea is a common condition, affecting as many as 2-4% of middle-aged adults, and is accompanied by heavy snoring. It is characterised by repetitive partial or complete collapse of the upper airway (throat) during sleep. These episodes, which can occur hundreds of times during a single night, are accompanied by a momentary fall in blood oxygen levels, an increase in blood pressure and arousal. These disruptions result in excessive daytime tiredness and lethargy.
Sleep researchers at the School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology (University of Western Australia) and the West Australian Sleep Disorders Research Institute (Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital) have an active interest in understanding factors that predispose individuals to obstructive sleep apnoea. Large numbers of patients are seen at the hospital clinic each year, most of whom are suitable for participation in research studies. Hospital-based projects are available in waking and/or sleeping individuals with and without sleep disorders.
A major National Health and Medical Research Council funded project has recently been completed at the School’s Centre for Sleep Science. The study has funded full overnight sleep studies on 1,000 healthy 23 years olds who are participants in the WA Raine Study Cohort. The purpose of the study is to determine the prevalence of sleep disorders in young adults, and investigate the factors that lead to sleep disorders in this age group. The extensive, unique data being collected as part of this study is also available for research projects. Competitive Raine Foundation PhD scholarship top-up awards are available.
Other active areas of research in which projects are potentially available include: stroke and sleep disorders; gastroesophageal reflux and sleep disorders; craniofacial structure and sleep disorders; sleep and neurocognitive function; sleep and athletic performance; and cardiovascular function and sleep disorders.
Honours, Masters and Postdoctoral students
For Honours: An appropriate undergraduate degree with a biological science emphasis, and a minimum weighted average of 65% in the level 3 subjects that comprise the relevant major from an approved institution. Applicants will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
For Masters or PhD: An appropriate Honours degree with a biological science emphasis or equivalent research experience from an approved institution. Applicants will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.