Biomedical Science News

Dr Darren Reed's disaster relief voluntary work in Nepal

collage of photos of Darren

Dr Darren Reed from the Discipline of Biomedical Science offered his skills as a physiotherapist in disaster relief work in Nepal. Following the World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) conference in Singapore Darren travelled directly to Nepal. He arrived a week after the 7.9 earthquake that devastated the country and has resulted in 10000 deaths, over 20000 injuries and 2.8 million people displaced. Having worked previously in Nepal for 7 years as a physiotherapist and training physios, he returned to Dhulikhel Hospital (40km north east of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal), to help the dedicated team of national physios treat the enormous number of patients and to begin the process of organising the medium to long term rehab response to the disaster under the leadership of the Nepal Ministry of Health.

“I found it quite overwhelming… the sheer number of patients at the hospital. Over the first 4 weeks the hospital saw around 2000 earthquake victims and the physiotherapy team were treating over 200 patients per day with most requiring long term rehab services. Many of these were spinal cord injuries (30+), multiple fractures (100s), amputees, crush injuries, head injuries and neuropraxias. This was many times the ‘usual’ hospital capacity and wards were created in makeshift spaces that had not seen patients before. One ‘new’ orthopaedic ward had 72 beds and it wasn’t even a room before. The Nepali staff were doing a remarkable job under the circumstances and everyone who needed treatment was receiving it. The physio team also provided treatment at a nearby temporary medical camp set up by the Chinese. Besides the number of patients, a recurring problem was the discharge strategy. The hospital provided each patient with food and bedding to take with them but many patients had no home to return to."

"I was also there during the second 7.3 earthquake and we evacuated all the patients again, treating them outside for two days. Everyone is very fearful of further earthquakes and they’re ready to run at the slightest noise. The psychological trauma is immense with most patients having lost close family members. But while the stories of despair are many, there are also stories of hope. Nepalis are helping each other irrespective of caste, crops are being planted, communities are feeding each other and temporary buildings are appearing out of tin and bamboo."

"There is still a long way to go, so if you would like to contribute, the International Nepal Fellowship (INF – the organisation I worked for) has been involved in medical work in Nepal for over 60 years and has been providing immediate relief to the areas near the epicentre. It has also committed to provide 50 beds for medium to long term rehab in their Green Pastures hospital, Pokhara.

Shoulder Laboratory researchers at the World Confederation for Physical Therapy Congress 2015

photo of two Bio researchers at the WCPT congress

Four members of the Shoulder Research Laboratory in the Discipline of Biomedical Science presented their recent research findings at the World Confederation for Physical Therapy Congress 2015 held at the Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre in May. These presentations ranged from:

  • Differences in muscle activation patterns associated with open & closed chain shoulder exercises (Dr Darren Reed);
  • Validation of a shoulder-specific left-right judgement task tool as an implicit measure of motor imagery (John Breckenridge - PhD candidate);
  • The contribution of active muscle stiffness to range of motion deficits in patients with frozen shoulder (Luise Hollmann - Masters candidate);
  • An international Symposium exploring whether opinion regarding the aetiology of shoulder impingement syndrome influences physiotherapy treatment (Associate Professor Karen Ginn).

A/Professor Karen Ginn gave invited presentation at the British Society of Rheumatology & British Health Professionals in Rheumatology

Photo of Karen Ginn

Associate Professor Karen Ginn was invited to present a paper entitled "Shoulder pain - the dilemma of diagnosis" at the annual conference of the British Society of Rheumatology & British Health Professionals in Rheumatology held in Manchester UK in April. Her conclusions that the current diagnostic labelling system for shoulder pain is not valid nor reliable, does not aid communication between health professionals or with patients and is hindering clinical research aimed at evaluating treatment effectiveness generated robust discussion.

Biomedical Science staff involvement in brain awareness week at International Grammar School Sydney

some photos from brain awareness week

Brain Awareness Week (BAW) is held in March every year. This global campaign aims to increase public awareness of the benefits and progress of brain research. Fun activities and seminars happen around the world during BAW. Dr Jin Huang organised a variety of fun and hands-on BAW activities again. This year, on Monday 16th March 2015, Dr Huang, her team (see below) and Mr Toby Booth – Dr Huang’s “Scientists in Schools’’ ( teacher partner celebrated BAW with the Year 9 kids from International Grammar School Sydney ( From the positive feedback students provided (4.6/5), it was clear the kids loved the battle between their brain waves using the Mindflex Duel machine ( They loved to get their hands dirty during lamb brain dissections. They also discovered some amazing body sensations and found out how the brain works! Below are a few comments the kids provided:

  • We loved it!
  • It was good! xx
  • Keep up the good work :); come back again!

We would like to thank Australasian Neuroscience Society ( for funding these activities. These activities are also part of the activities organised by members of the Australasian Neuroscience Society and members of the Sydney Chapter of The American Society for Neuroscience.

If you are interested in organising a similar event, fell free to contact Dr Jin Huang (). She is happy to forward you the program.

Team members:
Discipline of Biomedical Science: Dr Jin Huang (leader), A/Prof Kay Double, Miranda Mathews, An Truong, Victoria Tung, Sophie Virachit, and Gloria Luo-Li
Discipline of Physiology: Dr Dario Protti, Dr Cathy Leamey, Dr Haydn Allbutt, Josef Daroczy
BMRI: Dr Eryn Werry, Ben Trist

Permission were obtained from team members and parents of students to publish photos on newspaper, school bulletin and/or websites.

Congratulations to Matt McCrary on getting his first paper published in a highly prestigious journal

photo of Matt McCrary

Congratulations to Matt McCrary, Dr Bronwen Ackermann's Master student who got his first paper published in the highly prestigious British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Matt's research involves analysis of the effects of cardiovascular, core muscle, and on-instrument warm-up on muscle activity and performance in elite violinists in conjunction with the ARC Sound Practice Project. Surface EMG and anonymously-judged sound recordings have been used, with a special focus on the implications of results on prevention of repetitive strain injury.

Matt's article is - "A systematic review of the effects of upper body warm-up on performance and injury" and can be accessed at: