John Wheatley is the Director of the Ludwig Engel Centre for Respiratory Research at the Westmead Institute. Professor Wheatley’s research interests have focused on the pathogenesis of obstructive sleep apnoea and snoring, including the development of vascular complications such as stroke and hypertension. His group has defined the role of surface forces of the upper airway lining liquid in the pathogenesis of obstructive sleep apnoea, as well as demonstrating the importance of upper airway tissue pressure in the pathogenesis of airway collapse. Other research areas have investigated the physiology of nasal airflow, including the influence of breathing route and muscle activity on nasal patency. In a recent publication, his group has demonstrated that heavy snoring is a risk factor for the development of carotid atherosclerosis. Current interests include interactions between OSA and diabetic retinopathy, snoring as a cause of endothelial dysfunction, peri-operative management of patients with undiagnosed OSA, management of severe breathlessness in COPD patients, and models of upper airway function. 


Physiology, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Sleep disorders, Respiratory tract diseases


Obesity, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease, Healthy Ageing

Clinical Specialty


Research Focus

  • Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of Sydney
  • Director of the Department of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Westmead Hospital
  • Senior Staff Specialist Physician in Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Westmead Hospital


Other Affiliations

Sydney Medical School > Westmead Institute for Medical Research

Awards and Recognition

  • 2013 - Chair, ASA/NATA Sleep Disorders Accreditation Advisory Committee
  • 2010 - NHMRC Practitioner Fellowship
  • 2009 - Distinguished Achievement Award – Australasian Sleep Association
  • 2008 - Associate Editor, Journal SLEEP
  • 1998 - Executive Committee, Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand
  • 1997 - President, Australasian Sleep Association



  • MBBS (First Class Honours), University of Sydney, Sydney
  • FRACP, Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Australia
  • PhD, Medicine, University of Sydney, Sydney