What’s your link to Townsville? I moved to Townsville to attend James Cook University and was part of the first graduating cohort of physiotherapists.
Where are you now? After graduating I moved to Brisbane to start my physiotherapy career. Working with people after they had suffered a stroke – seeing their struggles and the incredible amount of recovery achieved by some – made me realise I wanted to commit my career to researching how to improve outcomes for all people with stroke. I completed my PhD at The University of Queensland and am now completing my Postdoctoral Fellowship at The University of British Columbia in Vancouver Canada. It’s a beautiful west coast city where mountains provide the perfect backdrop.
What does your work involve? I’m working to understand how an individual recovers arm and hand function again after a stroke. Out of every 10 stroke survivors, three to four can’t use their arm or hand – a devastating personal experience. My research looks at how the brain changes after stroke, use of arm and hand adapts, and therapy approaches that can be used to optimise recovery. I’m fortunate to work with a group of researchers spanning Australia, Canada, USA, Ireland and the UK to achieve these research goals.
What’s happening with your life outside of work? In the summer it involves hiking mountains and cycling the coastline of British Columbia, while in winter I ski and snow shoe on the weekends.
How did your time in Townsville set you up for success? Working with the physiotherapy staff at JCU and The Townsville Hospital Rehab Department was instrumental in guiding me to take the research path. I found my passion for working with stroke survivors, honed my physiotherapy skills and completed my first research project in Townsville.
Do you still come back to Townsville to visit? About once a year I come back to visit colleagues and current students undertaking postgraduate studies through JCU.