Ron Grunstein, professor of sleep medicine at the University of Sydney, has been recognized for his outstanding contribution to sleep research and sleep medicine with the announcement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine‘s prestigious Nathaniel Kleitman Distinguished Service Award.

Professor Grunstein is the first recipient of the award from outside North America. The award recognizes his significant contribution to professional development in the sleep medicine field, research translation in treatment of sleep disorders, and research on links between obesity, metabolic dysfunction, and sleep apnea.

The award is named after one of the world’s eminent sleep scientists, Nathaniel Kleitman, who provided the foundation of current sleep medicine by conducting groundbreaking research that included the discovery of rapid eye movement (REM sleep) and human circadian rhythms.

Professor Grunstein is currently president of the World Sleep Federation, the international body for the major sleep research societies. He was a founding member of the Australasian Sleep Association (ASA) in 1988, served as ASA president from 1994 to 1997, and was awarded the ASA Distinguished Service Award in 2010.

He heads the Centre for Integrated Research and Understanding of Sleep (CIRUS), the NHMRC Centre of Excellence in interdisciplinary clinical sleep research at the University of Sydney, and the NHMRC supported Australasian Sleep Trials Network.

Grunstein is an executive member of the Discipline of Sleep Medicine at the University of Sydney, and head of the Centre of Respiratory Failure and Sleep Disorders at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney. He also leads the Sleep and Circadian Research Group at the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research.

"To me, this is not an individual award but a recognition by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine of the collective leadership provided by Australia in sleep medicine and sleep research," Grunstein said.