Karyn O’Keefe

(clinical sleep physiologist)

Graduated from Victoria University of Wellington in 2000 with a double major in Physiology and Genetics & Molecular Biology.  She decided that her passion lay with Physiology and after completing her Honours degree in this subject, enrolled in a part-time PhD at University of Otago.  She is currently investigating the temporal relationship between heart beats and breathing (a phenomenon known as cardioventilatory coupling) during sleep.  In 2001, during the first year of her doctoral degree, Karyn began working at WellSleep, the University of Otago Wellington Sleep Investigation Centre. Her initial work at WellSleep involved educating patients, setting up sleep studies and initiating treatment.  Karyn is now a registered Clinical Sleep Physiologist and works in a half-time role providing patient follow-up and support, as well as assisting in management of the laboratory. She also assists in teaching of undergraduate medical students, and has provided education sessions for GPs, trainee specialist Physicians and trainee Sleep Physiologists. Karyn joined the team at the Sleep/Wake Research Centre in 2006 as a Junior Research Fellow.  Since starting at the Centre she has been involved in research investigating sleep at flight altitude, narcolepsy, sleep inertia, and insomnia.  She has been instrumental in training staff and Research Assistants in sleep monitoring and technology.  Along with input into research projects, her primary focus is as Paper Co-ordinator in a 200-level undergraduate course on sleep, circadian rhythms and shift work. Karyn is an active member of the sleep medicine community in New Zealand.  She organised a national meeting for New Zealand Sleep Technologists in 2005 and was a Newsletter Editor for the Australasian Sleep Technologist’s Association from 2006-2008.

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