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Professor Sally Ferguson

BSc (Hons)MA (Writing)PhD
Director, Appleton Institute
School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences
Appleton Institute
(08) 8378 4508
0427 639 027 Alternative Phone
44 Greenhill Road - Appleton Institute
Wayville SA 5034
About Me


Sally is the Director of the Appleton Institute and a Research Professor. Sally’s research background is circadian biology and understanding how the body clock helps keep us synchronized to the world around us and what happens when we work against our clocks.

In the last ten years this key research interest has led to Sally asking questions about the relationship between sleep, wake and work patterns, particularly for those working shiftwork. Sally has worked with industry partners in mining, rail, healthcare, marine pilotage, aviation and the emergency services. Sally's program of research has received funding support from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Bushfire CRC and the CRC for Rail Innovation.

Sally does a lot of work in the area of fatigue risk management and sleeps very well herself.


Sally completed a Bachelor of Science at Flinders University and a PhD from the University of Adelaide. Sally's background is in physiology and her PhD thesis focused on the neurotransmitters involved in transferring the light signal from the eyes to the biological clock in the brain. Since then, Sally has focused on specific systems under the control of the biological clock, namely sleep, melatonin and performance.


Universities Studied At

Flinders University of South Australia

University of Adelaide

Swinburne University

Universities Worked At

University of South Australia

University of Adelaide


Professional Memberships

Australasian Sleep Association

Australasian Chronobiology Society

European Sleep Research Society

Working Time Society (International Commission on Occupational Health)


Professional Interests


A PhD in the field of sleep and circadian biology, and a Masters in Writing mean that when Sally isn't sleeping, she is writing.  More often that not she is writing about sleep but Sally’s expertise and interests extend beyond nocturnal slumber to general health research and the medical sciences.  She is also partial to writing about people, places and journeys.  Sally’s passion is making the complex accessible and useful.

Research Supervision

I am currently accredited for supervision in the following:

  • 1701 Psychology
  • 1117 Public Health and Health Services

At the level of Principal Supervisor

Current Capacity
I am currently available to supervise more research candidates
Current Supervision
Doctor of Philosophy
Does physical activity during the day improve driving performance during the commute home?
Principal Supervisor
Doctor of Philosophy
Examining the effectiveness of interventions for healthy sleep habits
Principal Supervisor
Doctor of Philosophy
Exploring psychosocial determinants of health behaviours in shift workers through the development and validation of a Health Belief Model for Shift Workers (HBM-SW) scale
Associate Supervisor
Doctor of Philosophy
Shaping-up shift worker shut-eye: developing and trialling interventions for healthy sleep practices in shift workers
Associate Supervisor
Doctor of Philosophy
An investigation into the effectiveness of exercise as a sleep inertia countermeasure and an exploration of its application in emergency service workers.
Principal Supervisor
Doctor of Philosophy
Exploring the relationship between circadian variability and breaking up sitting on fatigue and cognitive performance during the nightshift.
Principal Supervisor
Complete Supervision
Doctor of Philosophy
The Effects of Temperature, Sleep Restriction, and Physical Activity on the Sleep Architecture and Cognitive Performance of Volunteer Firefighters During Various Simulated Wildland Fireground Tours. 
Principal Supervisor
Research Interests
Health Sciences

Public health - Injury prevention

Medical And Health Sciences

Public Health and Health Services - Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety


Clinical and health psychology - Health psychology

Psychology And Cognitive Sciences

Psychology - Biological Psychology (Neuropsychology, Psychopharmacology, Physiological Psychology)

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