Cynthia Banham Burn Injury Research Fellowship awarded to Dr Casey Whife

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Dr Casey Whyfe, Mr Craig Connelly, Dr Fiona Wood and project collaborator Dr Ann-Maree Vallence

The Cynthia Banham Burn Injury Research Fellowship is a joint initiative between the Foundation and lawyer and journalist Cynthia Banham, to support clinical research by an early-career researcher under the guidance of renowned burns specialist, Dr Fiona Wood at the Fiona Stanley Hospital.

Cynthia, who was the Sydney Morning Herald’s foreign affairs and defence journalist, received devastating burn injuries in the Yogyarkarta air disaster in March 2007, when she was part of a delegation travelling with the then Foreign Minister, the Hon Alexander Downer MP.  She was treated by Dr Wood at the Royal Perth Hospital, and this Fellowship honours both Cynthia’s arduous and admirable recovery and her desire to support Dr Wood’s work and improve the quality of life of survivors of severe burns trauma.

The Cynthia Banham Burn Injury Research Fellowship was first awarded in 2013. The Fellowship aims to support Dr Fiona Wood’s world-leading work, and to encourage the next generation of burn research expertise in Australia.  The purpose of the fellowship is to support an early career researcher to undertake research which has direct clinical applicability to improving patient care and outcomes in burn injury.

Following successful fellowship projects by 2013 recipient Ms Samantha Valvis and 2014 fellow, Dr Elnaz Masoumi, the Fellowship is now valued at $40,000 over one year and will be awarded biennially.

We are delighted to acknowledge Dr Casey Whife as the 2016 Cynthia Banham Burn Injury Research Fellow. The Ian Potter Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer, Craig Connelly and program manager Nicole McLeod, were in Western Australia recently and congratulated Casey on this achievement.  Casey’s fellowship research will investigate associations between an individual’s neuroplasticity—the capacity of the brain to change—and functional recovery after burn injury in older adults.

“Burns are incredibly common injuries in all age groups so this is an issue that is relevant to everyone,” commented Mr Connelly. “The additional challenges for older patients’ recovery can be significant so it is vital to improve our understanding of factors that help or hinder this process. We are looking forward to learning what Dr Whife’s research into neuroplasticity reveals. On behalf of The Ian Potter Foundation, I’d like to congratulate Casey and wish him the best for the project.”


Craig Connelly,Cynthia Banham

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