Respiratory Control

Respiratory Control Research Group

Research Group Head

Using a combination of in vivo measurements in animals and humans, together with mathematical modelling, Associate Professor Berger’s laboratory has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the ontogeny of respiratory motor behaviour during fetal life and to the mechanisms underlying the respiratory instabilities that are such a prominent feature of breathing in the newborn, and in normal adults at altitude, and in patients with heart failure.

The Respiratory Control group incorporates several senior members, with two honorary researchers (Dr Malcolm Wilkinson and Dr Robert Griffiths), a senior clinician (Dr Ken Tan), two immunologists working on chronic lung disease in the infant (Dr Claudia Nold and Associate Professor Marcel Nold), and an Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Professor Ian Cooke of Melbourne University. The group includes a Senior Research Assistant and two PhD students, one BSc and one MBBS. Together with Dr Garun Hamilton and Dr Ken Tan of Monash Medical Centre, and Professor Matthew Naughton of the Alfred Hospital, the group carries out studies in adult and infant human subjects. The pervasive intention of our work is to improve our understanding of the causes of sleep disordered breathing and to find effective means to prevent or ameliorate the consequences of obstructive and central apnea.

Research Projects

In animal models, babies and adults we explore:

  • Maturation and dynamics of apnea and periodic breathing in infants
  • Dynamics of Arterial Desaturation during apnea in infants and adults
  • Acoustic methods for determining lung conditions in infants
  • Causes and treatment of bronchopulmonary dysplasia in infants
  • Occurrence of Apnea in premature infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia
  • Treatments for Cheyne- Stokes respiration in patients with heart failure
  • Impact of smoking and inflammation on respiratory function after birth


Dr Claudia Nold
Dr Marcel Nold
Dr Simon Joosten
Dr Mal Wilkinson
Dr Rob Griffiths
Dr Brad Edwards – Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Dr Scott Sands – Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Dr Ken Tan – Monash Health (Monash Newborn)
Dr Ian Cooke – Melbourne University
Dr Garun Hamilton – Monash Health (Sleep and Respiratory Medicine)
Dr Kirk Kee – Alfred Hospital (Sleep and Respiratory Medicine)
Professor Matt Naughton – Alfred Hospital (Sleep and Respiratory Medicine)

Research Group