Sleep medicine

Photo of Professor Ron Grunstein

Professor Ron Grunstein

Professor of Sleep Medicine at the University, Ron Grunstein (profiled in SAM Autumn ’08), has been recognised by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine for his outstanding contribution to sleep research. In giving him the Nathaniel Kleitman Distinguished Service Award, Prof Grunstein is the first to be recognised from outside North America and it acknowledges his significant contribution in the sleep medicine field, research translation in treatment of sleep disorders and research on links between obesity, metabolic dysfunction and sleep apnoea.

The award is named after one of the world's most eminent sleep scientists, Nathaniel Kleitman, who provided the foundation of current sleep medicine with groundbreaking research that included the discovery of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and human circadian rhythms.

Professor Grunstein is currently President of the World Sleep Federation, the international body for the major sleep research societies. He was a founding member of the Australasian Sleep Association (ASA) in 1988, served as ASA president from 1994 to 1997, and was awarded the ASA Distinguished Service award in 2010.

He heads the Centre for Integrated Research and Understanding of Sleep (CIRUS), the NHMRC Centre of Excellence in interdisciplinary clinical sleep research at the University, and the NHMRC-supported Australasian Sleep Trials Network.

Dr Grunstein is also executive member of the Discipline of Sleep Medicine at the University, and head of the Centre of Respiratory Failure and Sleep Disorders at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney. He also leads the Sleep and Circadian Research Group at the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research.

"To me this is not an individual award but a recognition by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine of the collective leadership provided by Australia in sleep medicine and sleep research," Prof Grunstein says.

"Importantly, much of this leadership comes from the University of Sydney which has one of the largest interdisciplinary sleep research networks globally across a range of faculties and institutes. "For example, the Woolcock Institute houses world-class facilities for human sleep research that are being used across a number of research fields including neurobiology, complex system physics, endocrinology and the biology of obesity."