Professor Mary Morrell
Lead academic
+44 (0)20 7352 8121 ext 4023

Professor Anita Simonds
Lead academic
+44 (0)20 7351 8911

Find out more about Sleep and Ventilation research

What we do

The Sleep and Ventilation group uses physiological principles to investigate the causes and consequences of sleep apnoea and respiratory failure. Our aim is to improve treatment and better target resources to patient care.

Why it is important

Lack of sleep has a profound impact on health, including an increased risk of mortality. It has an estimated cost to the UK economy of over 40 billion UK Pounds and is linked to two most important health epidemics of obesity and dementia. 

The control of breathing changes during sleep, and obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) occurs when breathing stops due to throat blockage. It is one of the most common respiratory diseases (13% of males and 6% of females) and the prevalence is increasing due to the increasing obesity and the aging population. OSA produces hypertension, and is linked with increased cardiovascular morbidity (notably stroke). It also causes excessive sleepiness and increased likelihood of motor vehicle crashes. It is estimated that treatment of OSA could lead to approximately 40,000 fewer road accidents per year in the UK.

How it can benefit patients

The Royal Brompton Centre for Sleep led by Professor Anita Simonds at the Royal Brompton Hospital is one of the largest in Europe and has an international reputation for its pioneering work in domiciliary ventilation (providing respiratory support at home). This has enabled our research to have a direct impact on patient treatment.  

current research and education

Summary of current research

  • Clinical trials
  • Pioneering work in technology development
  • New developments in intermittent hypoxia and the brain
  • Sleep disordered breathing in heart failure

Read more about our research in detail

Innovations in education

  • Core scientific skills
  • Patient-centred training
  • Development of new programmes
  • Social responsibility: ‘Imperial College Enables’ (ICE) Project 
  • Thorpe Park and ‘Physiology of Life under Pressure’

Read more about our education in detail

Additional research group info





PhD Students

Over 25 fellows have completed their PhD training with us, and many have gone on to make significant contributions to research, health and business. A Director at Glaxo Smith Kline, Programme Lead at Brunel Univeristy, Consultant in Cardiology at Royal Brompton Hospital, and the founder and CEO of a Biosciences start-up company - are just a few of the careers our graduates have pursued. 

If you are interested in doing a PhD please get in contact with 
Professor Mary Morrell (

Public Engagement

The Sleep and Ventilation group are keen to tell people about their research.

Our researchers