UQ Ochsner medical student wins international research scholarship

19 June 2020

Improving health outcomes for adults suffering knee osteoarthritis will be the focus of a highly acclaimed research scholarship awarded to Jonathan Hill.

The University of Queensland (UQ) Ochsner medical student and PhD candidate will use the scholarship, granted by the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI), to improve diagnosis of the patellofemoral joint, the most commonly affected area of the knee.

Jonathan said the collaborative project seeks to improve radiographic diagnosis and grading of patellofemoral osteoarthritis using research methods designed specifically for the patellofemoral joint.

“We’ll apply a modified Delphi consensus process to develop and validate a reliable, standardized atlas of radiographic characteristic features for patellofemoral osteoarthritis, including both clinical and research knowledge,” Jonathan said. 

Osteoarthritis affects 15-18 per cent of the global population, and is considered the leading cause of disability in developed countries. Of these figures, nearly 40 per cent of adults suffer knee osteoarthritis.

Jonathan said several studies have shown conventional radiography is important to the diagnosis and management of patellofemoral osteoarthritis, and yet standardized guidelines on how to acquire and grade patellofemoral joint radiographs are lacking.

“Our study endeavours to change that through an international collaborative effort with researchers and clinicians from UQ (Brisbane, Australia), Ochsner Clinical School (New Orleans, Louisiana, USA), Erasmus University Medical Center (Rotterdam, Netherlands), La Trobe University (Melbourne, Australia), and Keele University (Staffordshire, United Kingdom),” he said.

The award presented to Jonathan supports an international exchange of up to six month and includes an invitation to present his work at the World Congress on Osteoarthritis meeting in 2021.

The OARSI Scholarship program provides young investigators with an enriched international and national exchange to institutions experienced in osteoarthritis research. Its purpose is to foster the development of skills in specialized scientific methodologies, knowledge translation, and dissemination of research. It also offers educational, networking and partnership opportunities with preference for those in early career research.