Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and snoring are very common sleep disorders associated with
repeated episodes of upper airway collapse and breathing interruption during sleep. If left
untreated, OSA can lead to a number of health issues including excessive daytime sleepiness, cardiovascular disease and neurocognitive impairment - to name a few.
The Sleep and Upper Airway Research Group (SUARG) are concerned with determining the
causes of OSA, developing simplified and more accurate methods to quantifying it, and
progressing personalized treatments to improve health.
A primary focus of SUARG is on investigating the mechanisms underlying upper airway collapse
in OSA and how it can be circumvented with targeted interventions to treat this serious health
condition. The patency of the upper airway is governed by several complex and interacting
anatomical, physiological and biomechanical factors. Accordingly, our group utilizes a multi-
model, multi-disciplinary approach to decipher upper airway behavior. These include
computational finite element modeling, physical models, detailed physiological experiments
using anaesthetized animal and human models, as well as biomedical imaging studies. One goal
of our group is to apply these approaches in determining the role of the hyoid bone (a mobile
bone at the base of the tongue) in maintaining an open airway, as well as in the therapeutic
efficacy of certain OSA treatment options (e.g. mandibular advancement, hypoglossal nerve
Snoring (occurring on its own or with OSA) is another sleep-related breathing disorder that may
independently have more serious consequences than just noise pollution. There is evidence to
suggest that snoring-associated tissue vibrations have a potential pathological impact on the
carotid artery, which can lead to carotid atherosclerosis and subsequent ischemic stroke. Using
our multi-model approach, we aim to investigate these mechanisms further.
SUARG has strong collaborations with internationally renowned investigators and labs in
Australia, as well as the USA. We are always on the lookout to grow our team with enthusiastic
researchers and students from engineering, medicine and science to contribute to our exciting