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1991 …2024

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Personal profile

Research Biography

Dr Sarah Appleton is a chronic disease epidemiologist and commenced as Senior Research fellow at AISH in January of 2019.  Prior to this she was working in The Health Observatory  (Discipline of Medicine), Adelaide Medical School, The University of Adelaide. She completed her PhD in 2010 in The Health Observatory after working there as research officer across a broad range of laboratory-based basic science and clinical research areas since 1988. She is an Associate Investigator for the North West Adelaide Health Study (NWAHS), a biomedical cohort study established in 2000-01, and mentors post-graduate students and early career researchers.

Sarah’s research has aimed to identify clinical phenotypes of people at risk of poor health outcomes in order to inform evidenced based policy for the improved delivery of health services and prevention of chronic disease.  Since 2012, she has made contributions to -identifying the burden of undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in men and its relationship with chronic disease outcomes life in the Men Androgens Inflammation Lifestyle Environment and Stress (MAILES) study as the most productive epidemiologist investigating the co-morbidities of OSA in Australia. Given the size of the population at risk of OSA related health problems that her work has identified, current research projects aim to better identify who actually is at risk and require treatment. This will involve the investigation of whether electrophysiological signals (EEG and ECG) on sleep studies (power spectral analysis, heart rate variability) improves risk stratification.  Her partners include collaborators at The University of Adelaide based at SAHMRI, and the Woolcock Institute at Sydney University. Her major goal will be the acquisition of research funds to investigate women participants of the NWAHS as to date women are far less likely to be diagnosed with OSA than men and are vastly under-represented in OSA research studies despite recent findings suggesting a quarter of women may be affected by OSA.

Research Interests


Sleep disorders

Obstructive sleep apnea


Chronic disease

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Adelaide

Award Date: 1 Oct 2010

Bachelor of Science (Honours), Flinders University

Award Date: 1 Apr 1987

Bachelor of Science, University of Adelaide

Award Date: 1 Apr 1986

External positions

South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute Faculty- Research Fellow

1 Jan 202031 Dec 2022

Adjunct Fellow -University of Adelaide

1 Jan 201931 Dec 2021


  • Registered

Supervisory Interests

  • Sleep and chronic disease epidemiology


  • RZ Other systems of medicine
  • Epidemiology
  • sleep health
  • Sleep disorders


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