Announcing the SCI Research Collaboration Grant recipients for 2023

We are pleased to announce the six recipients of the SCI Research Collaboration Grant for 2023. They will be travelling to Edinburgh, Scotland to participate in the 62nd International Spinal Cord Society Annual Scientific Meeting (ISCoS 2023), from 8 – 11 October 2023.

A brief bio of each grant recipient is below.

Robert Buren, Canada – Researcher
Mindful Behavioural Interventions / Neuropathic pain

At the age of 37, Robert Buren had a cycling accident resulting in complete paraplegia. He is a high-performance athlete, motivational speaker, author and researcher, who is now entering the second year of his PhD at University of British Columbia, Okanagan. The core focus of Robert’s research is to determine if mindful behavioural interventions (eg. Mindfulness meditation, CBT, ACT) can help reduce or eliminate neuropathic pain and increase health-related quality of life for individuals with a spinal cord injury. His dissertation incorporates mixed methods: a systematic review, a national survey, interviews and small randomised controlled trials. In collaboration with colleagues, Robert is also contributing to research investigating the effects of prolonged sedentary behaviour, as well as the importance and impact of physical activity among individuals with spinal cord injury.

Kamrunnaher Koly, Bangladesh – Occupational Therapist
Return to Work after SCI

Kamrunnaher Koly is a Consultant Occupational Therapist at the Center for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP) and a researcher with nine years experience in spinal cord injury rehabilitation. She is also a member of the ISCoS prevention committee working with the IDAP project for spinal cord injury prevention locally and internationally. Kamrunnaher’s research interests are returning to work after spinal cord injury and assistive devices. She is currently developing a multidisciplinary integrated care pathway for return to work after spinal cord injury in Bangladesh. This care pathway includes a comprehensive process of work assessment and structured intervention aiming to restore competence and a safe as well as timely return to work.

Dr Haleluya Moshi, Tanzania – Senior Physiotherapist
Database development

Dr Haleluya Moshi is a senior physiotherapist and lecturer at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College in the faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine. He has more than 17 years experience offering rehabilitation services to persons with traumatic spinal cord injury. Dr Haleluya is interested in disability prevention and rehabilitation in resource-constrained areas. He is currently developing a database for traumatic spine and spinal cord injury at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC), the only hospital in Tanzania with a spinal cord injury unit. He has also written about evacuation and transportation of persons with spinal injuries from the accident scene to the health facility in the Kilimanjaro region which includes both rural and urban areas.

Dr Bakhtawar Qureshi, Pakistan – Physical Therapist
Psychosocial and Physiological needs of females with SCI

Dr Bakhtawar Qureshi is a physical therapist at Peshawar Medical College whose PhD research uses qualitative methods to explore factors affecting quality of life of females with spinal cord injury (SCI) in Pakistan. Males with SCI tend to outnumber females with SCI in Pakistan, however Bakhtawar would like to shift the focus towards the females with SCI particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Her research aims to highlight the need and importance of addressing psychosocial and physiological concerns of females with SCI in an Asian setting (Pakistan). This includes issues otherwise subject to sociocultural stigmas including menstruation, marriage, sexual health, pregnancy, and also includes facilities in residential and public domains in addition to educational and training opportunities.

Jacob Schoffl, Australia – Physiotherapist
Autonomic and psychosocial health

Jacob Schoffl is a PhD Candidate at the University of Sydney. He has a clinical background in musculoskeletal physiotherapy. His PhD investigates the relationships between autonomic and psychosocial health following a spinal cord injury. He is involved in various collaborative projects at the centre, including a large randomised controlled trial investigating the effectiveness of a novel neurocardiac self-regulation therapy and a systematic review investigating the impact of fatigue in adults with spinal cord injury. Jacob’s research explores the relationship between cardiac autonomic biomarkers and psychosocial health measures like mood, anxiety, and cognitive function, and highlights the importance of addressing cardiac autonomic function for overall well-being.

Keira Tranter, Australia – Physiotherapist
Clinical Practice Guidelines development

Keira Tranter has worked as a physiotherapist in the area of spinal cord injury (SCI) for over 15 years, managing people from acute rehabilitation through to the community phases. She completed her Masters degree in 2011 and has commenced PhD studies at The University of Sydney, John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research – The Kolling Institute, where she aims to use her clinical knowledge to improve understanding and resources available to improve the care of people with SCI. Keira’s research aims to establish the Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Physiotherapy management of people with SCI including four associated projects. Keira is passionate about education to enhance knowledge about SCI physiotherapy management and enjoys teaching about SCI in clinical and tertiary settings. She values the importance of collaboration for achieving positive outcomes for people with SCI.

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