Meet Alana Leabeater (pictured above). She is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition Sciences.
“I relocated from Sydney when I was offered a PhD scholarship with La Trobe,” says Leabeater. “It was a great opportunity to develop my sports science and research skills. I was also really impressed by the facilities at the Sports Park and the support on offer for PhD students.”
Leabeater is researching the use of compression garments for performance enhancement and recovery in sport.
“These garments have been used for many years in a clinical setting to improve blood flow and reduce swelling. More recently, they have been used to improve elements of performance and enhance recovery in athletes,” she explains.
“My research explores the use of compression garments. I hope my findings will contribute to a greater understanding of when and how compression garments are most useful for athletes.”
Leabeater has a dream of working for the Australian Olympic team. “With the Games heading to Brisbane in the next decade, I’m hopeful that an opportunity might become available for me,” she says. “But in the meantime, I would like to work in an applied sports science setting once I finish my PhD so that I can make good use of the skills I’m currently developing.”
Meet Susanne Ellens. She is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sport and Exercise Science, specialising in sport analytics.
“I chose to do a PhD to improve my research skills and work in an area I love,” says Ellens. “I was drawn to La Trobe because the researchers are enthusiastic and have wide-ranging expertise.”
Ellens is investigating how to better understand acceleration and deceleration data.
“My research examines the data processing practices of athlete tracking technologies,” she explains. “Acceleration and deceleration data are commonly used to determine training load in team sports, but there is a limited understanding of the nature of these metrics and what influences them.”
“I hope my findings will guide the development of more reliable athlete tracking,” adds Ellens.
“It’s been great to be in a research environment with like-minded people. I feel lucky to be part of such a knowledgeable and social team which has made my experience at La Trobe very enjoyable.
Stephanie Resciniti, a second-year PhD candidate, is investigating how a probiotic can potentially prevent osteoarthritis in postmenopausal women.
“I fell in love with research during my Honours degree in Nutrition and I realised that I still had so much more to explore,” explains Resciniti.
Resciniti’s research is focused on probiotics, nutrition and bone health. “Osteoporosis is a silent disease that often goes undetected until a fall or fracture occurs,” she says. “Postmenopausal women are at a higher risk due to hormonal changes.”
“Currently, there is very little prevention advice for osteoporosis. We hope that our findings will demonstrate that the probiotic is an effective early intervention to help postmenopausal women retain their bone density.”
“It’s an exciting and emerging field of research,” she says. “I am broadening my professional networks through collaborations with a microbiologist, endocrinologist and bone density specialists.”
“I’ve also had the opportunity to help set up the research lab, which was a challenge! I’ve upskilled more than I thought possible in one year and have had great support. I feel confident about my PhD journey and helping to make a difference to women’s health.”