I started research in biology during my high school years and entered surgical basic science and trauma surgery at the beginning of medical school and completed PhD during my surgical training. I worked and performed research parallel in top academic trauma centres in Europe, USA and Australia. Since 2005 I am the Director of Trauma, John Hunter Hospital and Hunter New England Area Health, and Professor of Surgery (2015) and Traumatology (2009), University of Newcastle.
I am an international leader in trauma research, the top researcher of Australia in the field of Emergency Medicine (2020 and 2021 The Australian – Report on Research). My research output is highlighted by over 300 peer-reviewed publications, more than 23,500 citations and HGS-Index: 64 (December 2022). I am the recipient of Australia’s most prestigious surgical award; the John Mitchell Crouch fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and the Australian Orthopaedic Associations Research Award.
I am most fortunate to mentor and collaborate with a large number of dedicated students, scientists and clinicians to trauma care and research in Newcastle who helped to establish our Injury and Trauma Research Program.
- Polytrauma (multiple injured body regions with severe derangement of vital organ functions)
- The role of mitochondria in postinjury inflammation and regeneration
- Multiple Organ Failure
- Traumatic Shock
- Trauma Surgery
- Orthopaedic Trauma
- Pelvic and acetabular fractures
- Osteoporotic fractures
Why did you get into research?
During my childhood I saw the everyday carnage on roads, deaths of friends in car crashes and saved my mother from exsanguination at the age of 7. I wanted to study how the impact of major injury and blood loss, can be reversed. Trauma surgery and the research of injuries came naturally to me and I was preparing for it systematically from late primary school. It was also inspirational to study medical biochemistry in the laboratories where Albert Szent-Györgyi, Nobel Laurate in Medicine and Physiology related to biological combustion, vitamin-C and fumaric acid catalysis, used to work. I prefer to use the word “search” rather than “re-search” because it means to me something more original and looks beyond the obvious. I would like to understand life and would like to have humans to live in harmony with nature. I believe a trauma scientist is just a biologist specialised to injured humans.
What would be the ultimate goal for your research?
Save life with its quality.
My aim is to get polytrauma recognized as a disease (see relevant Editorial) by the community, health care professionals, policy makers and by the World Health Organisation. This will provide the necessary attention and focus on the prevention, treatment, and research on the most severely injured patients.
With our Program we are working on every possible angle of injury and trauma from prevention to rehabilitation.
My special focus is to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms of how kinetic energy causes systemic inflammation and auto-destruction in living organisms and apply specific preventive and counteracting interventions.
I am fascinated by the 2 billion years symbiotic relationship of our cells with mitochondria, which are governing our cellular energetics, cell division and cell death. We are developing a comprehensive program to restore injured cell, tissue and organ functions by restoring/reprogramming mitochondrial health.
- Research and academic mentorship
- Clinical mentorship
- Trauma surgeon – managing and operating injured people
- Orthopaedic surgeon – operating and treating fractures and other injuries to the bones, joints, tendons and muscles
- Traumatic shock resuscitation – treatment of patients with severe blood loss
- Operating on pelvic and acetabular and other complex fractures and non- or suboptimally healing fractures
- Prospective cohort studies
- Clinical research
- Clinical epidemiology
- Multicentre collaborative trials
- Human basic science research
- University of Newcastle
- Hunter New England Health
- Program Convener – Master of Traumatology Postgraduate Program, University of Newcastle
- Royal Australasian College of Surgeons – Vice-Chair of the Trauma Committee
- Australasian Trauma Care Verification Program – Chair
- Australian Orthopaedic Association – Research Board Member, Chair- NSW Research Training
- NSW Institute of Trauma and Injury Management – Chair of the Research Advisory Committee
- Australasian Orthopaedic Trauma Association – Past President
- Hunter Orthopaedic Society – Past President
- Editor – INJURY Journal
- Editor – European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery
- Editor – Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery
- Editor – Journal of Clinical Medicine
- Deputy Editor in Chief – ANZ Journal of Surgery
- Editor in Chief – Trauma Care
- Australian Liaison and Board member – Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
- Editorial Board Member: World Journal of Surgery, EFORT Open reviews, World Journal of Emergency Surgery, Medicina.
- AO Foundation – Former Chair of the Pelvic and Acetabulum Task Force, Former AO Trustee
- Australian and New Zealand Association for the Surgery of Trauma – Chair, Research Committee
- American Association of the Surgery of Trauma – International Member Committee
- Western Trauma Association – Multicenter Trial Committee
- International Surgical Society – Chair of the Australian Chapter
- American College of Surgeons
- Hungarian Society of Traumatology
- Australian and New Zealand Trauma Society – Board of Directors Member
- SICOT (world orthopaedic and trauma society) – Australia/Africa representative, Trauma Committee
- European Society of Trauma and Emergency Surgery
- Environmental Sustainability in Surgical Practice Working Party of RACS
- Australia & New Zealand Musculoskeletal Clinical Trials Network
- Australian Medical Association
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
- Anticoagulant Medicines Working Party
- Orthopaedic Trauma Association (USA) – international program committee member
- Orthopaedic Trauma Care South Pacific
- RACS - Section of Academic Surgery
- International Association for Trauma Surgery and Intensive Care (IATSIC) –national delegate
- World Society of Abdominal Compartment Syndrome (WSACS) – Former Secretary
- World Society of Emergency Surgery – Board of Directors
- Fragility Fracture Network
- ANZ Musculo-Skeletal Research Network – Basic Science Research Committee
- Holomedicine Society – founding member