Hopin Lee Awarded Oxford Scholarship
Current NCV resident Hopin Lee has been awarded with the NHMRC Early Career Fellowship. The fellowship will enable him to spend two years at the University of Oxford where he will research in the Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology, and Musculoskeletal Sciences. The purpose of the fellowship is to support early career researchers – those who have just finished their PhD and are aspiring to become independent researchers.
“This is really the time to stamp your ground in a specialised area, and to develop your own ideas about the research you want to pursue,” says Hopin.
Originally from New Zealand, Hopin travelled to Sydney to complete his PhD. He arrived at NCV on recommendation from his PhD supervisor and is thankful for his suggestion.
“Reflecting back, NCV really set up a perfect environment that allowed me to focus on my PhD. Moving into a college made the transition from New Zealand very easy as I didn’t know much about Sydney at the time. NCV was great for that”
Hopin’s PhD primarily looks at the causes and mechanisms of acute and chronic pain. During his PhD, he was involved in a large clinical trial that tested the effect of a pain intervention to prevent the transition from acute to chronic pain. His specific role within this team involved exploring the underlying factors of pain education and evaluating whether it works or not. Whilst he hasn’t yet come to a conclusion, his team is in the final stages of data collection and will soon have their answer.
He will have another opportunity to gain experience during his time at Oxford, where he will work with the Oxford Centre for Statistics in Medicine. On his return, he plans to implement his newly learnt knowledge at the University of Newcastle and the Hunter Medical Research Institute. Here, Hopin hopes to find better ways of providing efficient and valuable care for those suffering from musculoskeletal conditions and chronic pain.
“This will be a great start to my post-doctoral career. It will allow me to work with some of the world's leading researchers in my field to share knowledge and to develop new lines of research. I’m hoping this will lead to important research findings that will directly help the wider community. It’s a really exciting opportunity and I feel very privileged.”
Beyond the next five years, Hopin isn’t sure what the future holds. Although he is unsure of where he will be, he is sure he will be applying for another grant to further his research.
“Academic research is a tough game, and your career depends on being able to attract funding. For this, I need to demonstrate that my research is having an impact on people’s lives. This is a massive challenge that lies ahead of me.”