Sarah Appleton

Dr Sarah Appleton

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Adelaide Medical School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD (as Co-Supervisor) - email supervisor to discuss availability.

Dr Sarah L. Appleton
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
QEH - Basil Hetzel Building

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital
Org Unit: Medical Specialties.

Respiratory Medicine
The Health Observatory - Our mission is to conduct innovative population and clinical research studies and produce the evidence for initiatives that promote prevention, lead to early detection and better management of disease, and improve quality of life, well-being and mental health. Observatory research also investigates the interaction of health services with patients to identify opportunities that lead to more effective health care and management, and that will maximise health outcomes. We have research opportunities available to anyone interested in clinical, epidemiological or population research, as well as health services research, health economics or mathematical modelling.

Dr Sarah Appleton is a chronic disease epidemiologist and commenced as a post-doctoral research fellow in The Health Observatory of the Discipline of Medicine, The University of Adelaide, in 2010 after completing her PhD (by publication, October 2010). She commenced her PhD (part-time) in 2005 after working as research officer across a broad range of laboratory-based basic science and clinical research areas since 1988 also in the Discipline of Medicine (University of Adelaide). She is an Associate Investigator for the North West Adelaide Health Study, and mentors post-graduate students and early career researchers.

Current research

Sarah’s research has aimed to identify 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. She has made contributions to -identifying the burden of undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in men and its relationship with outcomes including diabetes, depression, and quality of life in the Men Androgens Inflammation Lifestyle Environment and Stress (MAILES) study. 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 and her partners include collaborators at The Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health 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.

Within large-scale multidisciplinary research teams, using population health approaches and extensive data sets including the North West Adelaide Health Cohort Study, and the Men Androgens Inflammation, Lifestyle, Environment, Inflammation and Stress (MAILES) study cohort, she has made contributions to

  • Identifying the burden of undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in men as the most productive epidemiologist investigating the co-morbidities of OSA in Australia.
  • Understanding of the clinical phenotypes of obesity and asthma and their relationship to each other, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease outcomes.
  • The understanding of the influence of health literacy on health outcomes including OSA, asthma and arthritis.


Date Project/ No. Investigators Funding Body Amount
2018 Broken sleep-Broken heart? Longitudinal follow-up of cardiovascular and cognitive outcomes in middle aged and older men in North-West Adelaide S Appleton, R Adams, J Beltrame The Hospital Research Foundation $147K

Health impact of sleep apnea in men: A longitudinal, population-based cohort study (APP 1122342)

R Adams, D McEvoy, N Antic, S Appleton, G Wittert, P Catcheside, A Vakulin, A Vincent, A Taylor. NH&MRC of Australia $304K
2016 Cardiovascular impacts of obstructive sleep apnea in men R Adams, S Appleton, J Beltrame, D McEvoy. National Heart Foundation $75K

Obstructive sleep apnea-related autonomic disturbance.


R Adams, D McEvoy, S Appleton, G Wittert, N Antic, A Vakulin, A D’Rozario ResMed Foundation $65K
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2016 - ongoing Member Human Research Ethics Committee of The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Australia
    2015 - ongoing Member BreastScreen SA Safety and Quality Committee Australia
    2014 - ongoing Member Basil Hetzel Institute Management Committee Australia
    2014 - ongoing Member The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Research Day Oraganising Committee
  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2015 - ongoing Member Australian Sleep Association
  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    2020 - ongoing Associate Editor Nature and Science of Sleep Flinders University Australia
  • Position: Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Phone: 82228818, 83130126
  • Email:
  • Fax: 8222 6042
  • Campus: The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, North Terrace
  • Building: QEH - Basil Hetzel Bldg, floor 1,SAHMRI
  • Org Unit: Medical Specialties

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