We are thrilled to announce that our researcher, Blair, has been conferred the award of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) following the certification of his thesis “Investigating changes to immune profile and platelet function after non-severe burn injury.” His work with the Fiona Wood Foundation (and the School of Biomedical Science, UWA) has led to an improved understanding of systemic responses to burn injuries, particularly how they may persist and impact long-term health.
Blair has been under the supervision of A/Professor Matthew Linden (UWA), Dr Andrew Stevenson, Dr Mark Fear, and Professor Fiona Wood.
To celebrate this momentous achievement, we caught up with Blair to discuss his journey and learn more about the impactful contributions he would like to make in the future.
Blair has had a connection with Fiona long before he had even started primary school – at 11 months old he sustained a burn injury when he could move past a grate around the fireplace.
“The opportunity to work with Fiona held extra significance for me, as she was the consulting surgeon who, more than 27 years ago, helped to treat that the full-thickness burns to my hand healed without any visible scars or loss of function. While I’ve since come to understand how “lucky” I was to burn my palm (a type of skin that regenerates with fewer complications), working alongside Fiona and the rest of the clinical and research teams has only reinforced the importance of good clinical care, and quality research to support health outcomes.
Now that Blair has finished his PhD – what is next? We are thrilled to share that Blair will remain a valued member of our research team.
“My journey with the FWF is not over – I have already been involved in new avenues of research, and I will be actively pursuing grants to fund further exploration of post-burn health impacts. I want to express my sincere gratitude to those who support the Foundation and have therefore also allowed me this opportunity. Your support not only ensures that we can work consistently towards our research goals, but it also allows us [students and early career researchers] to undertake the professional development required for world-class scientists.”
Something that we appreciate about Blair is that he is always there to support and assist – and here in HQ, we cannot express enough how much we appreciate his generous offers of assistance in filming and editing our video content! This is a testament to his helpful nature and willingness to support the team's needs – even if it is sometimes outside the lab!
We know that the next generation of medical innovators are early-career researchers, so we wanted to know what meaningful contributions Blair wants to make in the future.
“I would like the work that I have contributed to providing peace of mind for patients. A burn is a significant event; being able to reassure someone that we know what is happening in their body, what the risks are, and providing well-validated protocols for addressing long-term health risks will, I think, be instrumental in sustaining the life-long health of our patients. Investigating complex biological systems drives my scientific curiosity, but helping people reaffirms my humanity.”
We are so proud to have been able to have our senior research team guide and mentor Blair along his Ph.D. journey. On behalf of Fiona and the Foundation, we would like to send our heartfelt congratulations, and we are thrilled to continue our journey together to make tomorrow better for all burn patients.