They will try and make it collapse like it does in a sleep apnoea patient, and then use new and emerging materials and technologies to try and prevent the collapse of that airway.

The researchers hope this model will be of help to people who stop breathing in their sleep, or drop oxygen levels in their sleep.

One of the most common symptoms of sleep apnoea is snoring, but the condition can be life-threatening.

As well as causing snoring, the drop in oxygen levels at night can impact on a person’s neuro-cognitive performance the next day and can increase cardiovascular risks like blood pressure and stroke.

In children, enlarged tonsils and adenoids are often to blame for the condition, but for adults factors can include family history, cranio-facial problems and obesity.

Common treatment for kids is removal of tonsils and adenoids while for adults a mask is often used. However a large proportion of adult patients cannot wear or tolerate the mask and so alternative treatment options are needed.

Funding body

The Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams Memorial Foundation

Scheme name

Conjoint Grant

Years funded

2016 – 2018

Lead institution

University of Wollongong