Research

Every year, more than 11 million people worldwide sustain a serious burn. Children, with their natural curiosity and developing motor skills, are at particularly high risk of accidental thermal injury from domestic incidents involving hot beverages, food, and cooking surfaces. Although the vast majority of paediatric burns are not life-threatening, the path to recovery is often a long and distressing process, with many developing permanent scars detrimental to their physical and psychological growth.

My PhD seeks to identify interventions that can be employed in the acute management of these injuries to accelerate the healing process and thereby reduce the risk of scarring. The centrepiece of my research is a clinical trial designed to evaluate the efficacy of an adjunct, or addition, to standard burn dressings known as negative pressure wound therapy. This treatment, which functions by generating a subatmospheric pressure in the wound environment, is believed to facilitate healing by reducing the build-up of harmful fluid and immune factors, and stimulating the growth of new skin and blood vessels. 

I presented the trial's findings in my 2019 Three-Minute Thesis presentation, which was named winner of the University of Queensland 3MT Final and the Universitas 21 Global 3MT Competition. 

 

Supervisors

  •  Prof. Roy Kimble
  • Dr. Bronwyn Griffin
  • A/Prof. Leila Cuttle
  • Prof. Steven McPhail

 

Background

Prior to starting medical school, I was inspired by my experiences volunteering at an HIV/AIDS clinic in The Gambia to pursue immunology and virology research at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C., and the Biodesign Institute in Tempe, Arizona. Following my undergraduate studies, I worked as an emergency department medical scribe, which sparked an interest in trauma research. This interest led me to my current position at the Centre for Children’s Burns and Trauma Research, where I also study first-aid measures and the biochemistry of burn wound fluid.