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The Appleton Institute boasts around 30 professional researchers, research students and support staff across a broad range of talents, skills and specialist areas.

Enquiries to the Institute are welcome from all prospective partners, including Australian and international universities, government departments, corporate entities and industry groups.

Professor Drew Dawson - Director, Appleton Institute

Professor Drew Dawson
Director, Appleton Institute
08 8378 4507

Drew established the sleep research group at the University of Adelaide in 1992, which since then has grown to become the largest behavioural sleep research group in Australia. In recent years Drew has broadened his research interests to include Safety Science, Applied Psychology, Human Factors and  Safety  Management Systems, and Cultural Anthropology. Having built a broad multidisciplinary team Drew formed the Appleton Institute in January 2012.

Professor Sally Ferguson

Professor Sally Ferguson
Assistant Director, Appleton Institute  
08 8378 4508

Sally's research has focussed on circadian rhythms and how they are influenced by the environment, particularly light. Basic research projects supported by the NHMRC and ARC have focused on the relationship between the temperature system and sleep, and the effects of naps on performance. Sally has  also  conducted a number of government and industry-driven research and consultancy projects. The majority of these have investigated the effects of hours of work (specifically shiftwork patterns) on sleep and performance, and methods for reducing the fatigue-related risk associated with shiftwork.

Academic Staff  

The Appleton Institute - Associate Professor Greg Roach

Associate Professor Greg Roach
Sleep & Circadian Physiology
08 8378 4510

Greg is interested in the effects of sleep deprivation on recovery sleep and circadian physiology. He is involved in conducting forced desynchrony protocols whereby participants are removed from any external time cues (such as watches, television and the day/night cycle). Greg has also been involved      in      the mathematical modelling of fatigue during shiftwork, particularly in the aviation industry where multiple timezones add complexity to the circadian rhythm. Recently Greg has also become involved in investigating the effects of sleep on exercise physiology, working with elite athletes such as the      Australian      Cricket team. View Greg's research profile/publications by following these links:    

The Appleton Institute - Associate Professor Matthew Thomas

Associate Professor Matthew Thomas
Human Factors and Safety Systems
08 8378 4509

Matthew has a background in Human Factors, having completed his PhD in the area of training system design in 2000. His research interests focus on human error, non-technical skills, and the design of error tolerant systems. He has an established consultancy and publication record in these areas and      is      currently involved in a range of projects with industry partners in aviation, healthcare, and rail. He has been developing innovative approaches to simulation-based training and assessment and specialises in the area of Non-Technical Skill development and Threat and Error Management. He has taught      in      the area of Safety Science and Human Factors in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.    

Dr. Sarah Blunden

Professor Sarah Blunden
Research Fellow in Paediatric Sleep
08 8378 4513

Sarah Blunden is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Appleton Institute, specialising in Paediatric sleep. She has spent the past 10 years researching, treating and lecturing on children's sleep both nationally and internationally, as well as delivering education and information sessions to the      community,      educators and health care professionals. Sarah is recognised as an authority on children's sleep and is widely published in the field.    

Dr. Charli Sargent

Dr Charli Sargent
Research Fellow in Sleep & Circadian Physiology
08 8378 4516

Dr Charli Sargent is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Appleton Institute. Since completing her PhD in August 2006, Dr Sargent has been involved in two major areas of research (i) field-based studies examining the sleep/wake behaviour of elite athletes, and (ii) laboratory-based studies examining      the      relative impacts of sleep, wake and body clock on metabolic function, eating behaviour and neurobehavioural performance.    

Appleton Institute - Dr. David Darwent

Dr David Darwent
Research Fellow in Sleep & Circadian Physiology
08 8378 4515

David is is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Appleton Institute. He is interested in the effects of sleep deprivation on recovery sleep and circadian physiology. He has also been in investigations into the effects of sleeping locations at work on sleep quality, and in the use of mathematical      fatigue      models.    

Appleton Institute - Dr Sophia Rainbird

Dr Sophia Rainbird
Research Fellow in Cultural Anthropology
08 8378 4518

Sophia is an anthropologist specialising in movement, risk and resilience. She pursues these themes in the following diverse research areas: the railway industry, young workers health and safety, asylum seekers, refugees and migrants, equestrian eventing, natural disasters, young families and early      learning      and development. More recently, she has conducted ethnographic research into the resilience of injured workers. Sophia has published extensively in academic journals, papers, and reports in interdisciplinary fields. She holds the position of Senior Postdoctoral Research Fellow.    

The Appleton Institute - Dr Anjum Naweed

Dr Anjum Naweed
Senior Research Fellow in Human Factors and Safety Systems
08 8378 4520

Anjum is a Senior Research Fellow at the Appleton Institute for Behavioural Science in Central Queensland University. His research has focused on complex decision-making, knowledge representation, collision avoidance, display design, and work health and safety. He has experience with a broad range      of      qualitative and quantitative research methods and is interested in all aspects of human factors, ergonomics, workplace culture, and the relationship between humans and machines.    

Visit Anjum's Staff Profile Page

Danielle Every

Dr Danielle Every
Research Fellow in Social Psychology
08 8378 4521

Danielle a social psychologist in the areas of social change, social inclusion and social justice. She specialises in research on the language of advocacy and anti-racism, the social impacts of immigration, and work, education and health for refugees and asylum seekers. Her work has been published      internationally      in journals such as the Journal of Refugee Studies, Nations and Nationalism, Discourse and Society, and in edited books, including Language Discourse and Social Psychology, published by Palgrave MacMillan.    

Appleton Institute Researcher, Dr Kirrilly Thompson

Dr Kirrilly Thompson
Senior Research Fellow in Cultural Anthropology
08 8378 4512

Kirrilly is a cultural anthropologist with varied research experience and interests. As well as working in ethnography and applied psychology she has experience in human-animal interaction and human factors.    

Appleton Institute Researcher, Dr Jessica Paterson

Dr Jessica Paterson
Senior Post-doctoral Research Fellow in Applied Psychology
08 8378 4519

Jess completed her PhD in Psychology in 2010 investigating the consequences of sleep loss and shift work for mood regulation. Since then, she has conducted multiple research and consulting projects with the healthcare, transport and manufacturing industries. Jess is interested in the experience of      fatigue,      workplace culture and psychosocial wellbeing for health care workers and in the relationship between sleep and mental illness. Jess also runs the monthly Appleton Institute Seminar Series. See the news page for more details.    

Dr Tania Signal

Dr Tania Signal
Senior Research Fellow in Psychology
07 4923 2303 (Rockhampton)

Tania Signal is originally from New Zealand where she received her PhD in Psychology from Waikato University working within the Animal Behaviour and Welfare Research Centre. In 2003 she moved to Australia and took up a Lectureship at Central Queensland University. Now a Senior Lecturer, she has developed      a      comprehensive research program broadly investigating Human-Animal Interaction covering topics such as potential links between personality factors (especially empathy), interpersonal violence and the treatment of animals through to community attitudes regarding farm animal welfare and suitable penalties      for      individuals convicted of animal cruelty offenses. As well as publishing in academic outlets, Tania is committed to delivering 'real world' outcomes from her research and regularly speaks at community events for the RSPCA (Qld) and is part of the 'Voices of Influence' campaign for WSPA (Aus).    

Larissa Clarkson

Dr Larissa Clarkson
Post-doctoral Research Fellow
08 8378 4522

Larissa completed her PhD in 2012, on Short-Term Memory in the Field of Psycholinguistics. She is interested in organisational culture, sleep, fatigue, and human factors. Larissa teaches courses in research methods and statistics.    

Dr Xuan Zhou

Dr Xuan Zhou
Research Fellow in Sleep & Circadian Physiology
08 8378 4525

Xuan completed his PhD in 2012, focussing on how sleep-wake patterns affect people's performance capacity. He is primarily interested in research into the human circadian rhythm and response to external zeitgebers.    

Dr Christopher Bearman
Senior Research Fellow in Human Factors and Safety Systems
Program Director - Safety Science Program
08 8378 4514

Chris Bearman's research involves conducting industry-focused studies in laboratory and field settings with the aim of creating results that have both a strong theoretical underpinning and a robust application to industry. This involves working closely with industry partners and government organizations      around      the world. Chris also supervises a number of PhD, Masters & Honours students in the Safety Science and Human Factors areas.    


Dr Karena Burke
Senior Lecturer in Psychology
07 4923 2147

Karena completed her doctoral studies at the University of Tasmania in Launceston where she also held positions as an Associate Lecturer and Junior Research Fellow within the School of Psychology. Her PhD project examined the adjustments made by police officers when they enter the police profession.    Karena's    primary research interests are in the areas of preventive health, adjustment, and well-being at both individual and organisational levels and the development of health concepts in children.        

Karena started as a Senior Lecturer in Psychology in August 2011, and is the current coordinator of the 4th Year Honours and Graduate Diploma programs in Psychology.    

Dr. Bradley Smith

Dr Bradley Smith
Research Fellow in Human and Animal Psychology
08 8378 4528

Bradley obtained a PhD in animal behaviour from the University of South Australia. His research focused on the behaviour and cognition in captive dingoes. Bradley remains actively involved in research projects concerning animal behaviour. Bradley joins the Appleton Institute as a post-doctoral research      fellow      working on a Bushfire CRC funded project – Awake, Smoky and Hot (ASH). The project is a collaboration between CQUni and Deakin Uni, and will investigate the effects of occupational and environmental challenges on volunteer firefighter performance.    

Research Support Staff  

Ganesh Balakrishnan

Ganesh Balakrishnan
Research Officer in Human Factors and Safety Systems
08 8378 4526

Ganesh has over a decade of experience in applying human-centred design to the creation of products and interfaces. He started with a digital consultancy working on a number of online projects, before joining Motorola's design studio where he helped to create mission-critical communication products      and      concepts. Then, as a researcher at the University of South Australia he worked on projects that touched upon error tolerance and usability of healthcare informatics, and design requirements of auditory warnings in the context of collision avoidance. Currently based at the Appleton Institute, he is      involved      in a number of rail human factors research projects and the use of simulators for research and training.    

The Appleton Institute - Hayley Etherton

Hayley Etherton
Research Officer in Psychology
08 8378 4529

Hayley's primary interests are in children, youth and families, minority groups and psychosocial factors. She completed her psychology honours thesis on health-related quality of life and sleep in school children following a sleep education program. Her PhD will investigate infant sleep and settling      treatments,      including barriers and enablers for uptake and compliance, within Australia from parents' and health provider's points of view.

Administration Staff

Daxine Waterman

Daxine Waterman
Centre Manager
08 8378 4517

The Appleton Institute - Lilla Alexander

Lilla Alexander
Senior Academic Services Officer
08 8378 4524

Jenni Northcott

Jenni Northcott
Administration Office / Executive Assistant
08 8378 4523