In my studies, I was repeatedly reading literature and research coming out of the Menzies Institute for Medical Research that was cutting edge and sparked my desire upon completion of my physiotherapy degree to pursue a PhD at the University of Tasmania’s Menzies Institute
My interest in osteoarthritis research started with my mother developing knee osteoarthritis and I saw how much suffering she had to go through because of this. While studying to be a physiotherapist in Sri Lanka, I also got to see dozens of people coming into the hospitals with this debilitating condition. As clinicians we didn't have enough evidence to pinpoint what osteoarthritis was caused by which was frustrating to not be able to treat people successfully. In my studies, I was repeatedly reading literature and research coming out of the Menzies Institute for Medical Research that was cutting edge and sparked my desire upon completion of my physiotherapy degree to pursue a PhD at the University of Tasmania’s Menzies Institute.
With the guidance and support of world class professors and researchers, I began my own research journey to discover what lifestyle factors are associated with the onset and progression of osteoarthritis. Utilizing the abundant resources, world class equipment and facilities at Menzies, my findings lead me to discover that physical activity is associated with a slightly higher risk for knee joint replacements but a slightly lower risk for hip replacements. As one in eleven Australians are affected by osteoarthritis, these findings are significant and have ignited further questions and research to help prevent and possibly find a cure for the people who are impacted by this disease.
With my PhD studies wrapping up early next year, I’d eventually like to take my research back to Sri Lanka while continuing to collaborate with Menzies and translate my research in to clinical practice. By creating an environment where researchers and clinicians can work side by side and fight this disease, we can work to bring back freedom of movement, as there is no greater gift than pain free physical activity.