Matthew Farrow is an Exercise Physiologist completing his PhD at the University of Bath in the UK. His research is investigating the effect of exercise on cardiometabolic health in people with spinal cord injury.
Matthew received a 2019 Travel Grant to attend the 58th International Spinal Cord Society (ISCoS) Annual Scientific Meeting in Nice, France. He said attending ISCoS was an invaluable experience that allowed him to meet researchers and clinicians in the field of spinal cord injury for the first time.
“There was a wide range of research topics presented at the conference, which was particularly useful in broadening my understanding of the importance of issues outside of my research area (e.g. shoulder injuries, bowel management, psychosocial issues), facing people with a spinal cord injury.
I presented my poster entitled The effect of exercise on cardiometabolic syndrome risk factors in adults with chronic spinal injury: A systematic review. This allowed me to speak to a number of researchers in the field of exercise rehabilitation for spinal cord injury, who provided insightful feedback and critique of my research, which has consequently helped inform the full manuscript write-up. Since the conference, I have been in contact with a number of these researchers to further discuss these findings.
The SRI Early Career Researcher Breakfast was a particularly useful morning, I spoke to Dr Jasmine Hearn, a previous SRI Travel Grant recipient, at great length about our experiences of conducting spinal cord injury research in the UK. I have since actioned several of the ideas she mentioned of avenues to recruit participants with a spinal cord injury. This was one of many contacts I made at the conference, including researchers from the Miami Institute to Cure Paralysis. I hope these contacts will be useful when deciding on my career path following the completion of my PhD.
I attended a range of presentations relevant to my research area, including an exoskeleton and microbiome workshop. However, my highlight of the conference was the inspirational talk from Professor Claes Hultling, his story and views on spinal cord injury research, have given me fresh motivation and determination to conduct high-quality research in an important but under-researched field.”