The Surgical Research Trust was set up in Wellington 20 years ago to support innovative surgical research at the University of Otago, Wellington in Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences. As part of that support, the Trust sponsors three or four students each year to complete a summer studentship.
This year Hamish Green’s research project looking into the pathologies associated with neonatal death was sponsored. Hamish recently presented his report to judges of the University of Otago’s Wellington Summer Studentship programme. The findings confirmed the importance of post mortem examination in helping to understand the reasons for death when term infants die soon after birth. The study found that in many cases important information was obtained from examination of the placenta and umbilical cord as well as from the infant.
Hamish’s research has won him in accolade from the University of Otago, Wellington Summer Studentship for 2012/13. His win as top presented report grants him an extra $700 from the Wellington Medical Research Foundation Inc. and the University of Otago.
We’re terribly proud of Hamish and so have asked him to share a little bit about his summer research for our community! Enjoy!
Hamish Green (second from left)
I’m Hamish Green and this year I’m in my 5th year of medical school. I have always wanted to
complete some summer research and as this was my last true summer holiday I thought that now
is my last chance to apply. The work I completed was supervised by Associate Professor Dawn Elder
from the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Otago, Wellington.
I spent 10 weeks researching a condition known as perinatal asphyxia. We specifically looked at
the pathology that is found at post mortem examination in these infants and attempted to make
correlations with various clinical factors. We hypothesised that infants who suffered from this
condition may have experienced events in-utero that decreases their ability to tolerate labour thus
predisposing them to this condition. In the end we found no hard evidence to prove our hypothesis
however we concluded that we are unable to rule out the possibility of an injury occurring prior
to labour in these infants. This is something that we believe needs further research in order to
completely understand the clinical and medico-legal implications of this condition.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time researching this condition and this has certainly stimulated my interest
to conduct other research in the future. Having this background will certainly help when conducting
future research. This topic has certainly stimulated my interest in paediatric medicine particularly
neonatal medicine. The beauty of medicine is that it’s such a vast and interesting field so who knows
where I will end up!