Clinical Associate Professor Kristina Kairaitis graduated from the University of NSW with a Science/Medicine degree in 1992. She completed a first class honours degree in foetal renal physiology with Professor Eugenie Lumbers in 1987, and briefly worked in 1998 as a research assistant before completing her undergraduate medical degree, training at St Vincent’s Hospital.  After completing an internship and residency at St Vincent’s, she began physicians training at Concord hospital and then advanced training in respiratory and sleep medicine at Westmead Hospital, completing her FRACP in 1999. After completion of her specialist training she commenced her PhD in upper airway physiology under the supervision of Clinical Professor John Wheatley and Associate Professor Terry Amis. The focus of her PhD was the mechanics of the upper airway extraluminal tissue space and during her PhD she developed unique methodologies to measure pressures in the upper airway extraluminal tissue space in a research model. Since awarding of her PhD she has continued to focus on understanding how the behavior of the peripharyngeal tissues influence the collapsibility of the upper airway.  In obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) clinic populations she has also been examining the link between snoring, OSA and cerebrovascular disease. More recently she has commenced research into the interactions between sleep disorders and cancer, in particular endometrial, breast and melanoma. She continues to be involved in clinical management of patients with respiratory and sleep disorders at Westmead Hospital and in teaching medical students from the University of Sydney. 


Sleep disorders, Physiology, Cancer, Upper airway physiology


Cancer, Obesity, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease, Healthy Ageing

Clinical Specialty


Research Focus

Obstructive sleep apnoea, upper airway physiology

Other Affiliations

Sydney Medical School > Westmead Institute for Medical Research

Awards and Recognition

  • 2015  Determining sleep phenotypes in cancer cohorts: interactions with cancer biology and impacts on quality of life; Kairaitis K, Amis T, Wheatley J, deFazio A, Wain G, Clarke C, Elder E, Dhillon H, Marshall N; DVC Research/SPARC Implementation - Cancer.
  • 2012 Microvascular and Macrovascular Disease in Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea: A Mechanism for Increased Stroke Risk.; Wheatley J, Lindley R, Wang J, Amis T, Kairaitis K; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Project Grants.
  • 2011 Pharyngeal wall folding: role in upper airway collapsibility; Kairaitis K; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Early Career Fellowships.


  • BSc (Hons class 1), Physiology, UNSW, Sydney
  • MB BS, (Hons Class 2, Division 2), UNSW, Sydney
  • PhD, University of Sydney
  • FRACP, Royal Australasian College of Physicians