Caribbean dream beckons for an IMAR PhD graduate

Ashley Stephen (26), from Dunoon, Scotland, has just finished her PhD in Anatomy, Biomechanics and Motion Analysis at the University of Dundee under the Supervision of Professor Rami Abboud, Professor Sue Black and Mr Brian Ewing and in collaboration with Rangers Football Club.

Ashley is graduating today BUT she is already looking forward to life in the Caribbean after securing an anatomy lecturing post at Ross University on the Island of Dominica: “I am really looking forward to it but to be honest it still feels like I am in a dream,” said Ashley. “I saw the post advertised and decided to apply and I ended up being invited over and they gave me the job. One thing that did help me was that they were aware of Dundee’s reputation as being a centre of excellence in anatomy and motion analysis, which is great.”

“It was a great pleasure having Ashley undertaking this multidisciplinary complex research project between the Institute of Motion Analysis and Research (IMAR), the Centre of Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID) and the Institute of Sports and Exercise (ISE)”, indicated Professor Abboud. “The project unravelled many hidden aspects of the relationship between exercise/biomechanics, diet and the bone growth plate, which will allow us to further explore new avenues from Ashley’s findings to protect athletes from unnecessary injury”.

“Anatomical knowledge is truly an international language and Ashley has proved that the skills learned and refined at Dundee are attractive to employers across the world. This is a truly fantastic opportunity which she so richly deserves and I am absolutely delighted for her”, added Professor Black, the 2014 winner of The Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher Education.

During her research, Ashley visited Glasgow Rangers’ Murray Park training grounds, worked with advanced Motion Capture technologies as well as Magnetic Resonance Imaging – which she described as ‘truly amazing’.

“During my PhD I was lucky enough to win best student poster at the Society for the Study of Human Biology (SSHB) conference celebrating the life of Jim Tanner, which was held at Corpus Christi College down in Cambridge - in addition to being invited to present work at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow for the 2012 International Convention on Science, Education and Medicine in Sport.”

In Dundee, Ashley has made lifelong friends. “Originally I grew up in a small town on the West Coast and although Dundee is a vibrant city, the student nature helps create a small town feel so I instantly felt right at home.”

As for her new home in the Caribbean, Ashley said the facilities at Ross University are excellent and the use of human cadavers highly places the institution for learning and teaching. “Everyone is unique and from a medical and clinical point of view I feel very strongly that to fully appreciate and understand the multidimensional human body and its complex systems, this can really only occur through dissection,” she stressed. “The added bonus of breath taking scenery and a tropical climate just makes the new job opportunity even more of an exciting adventure, which I am very grateful. “