Holsworth Research Initiative

Our research focusses on exercise, physical activity and rehabilitation.

Where are they now? Blog series

The HRI Director and Stream Leaders have had the privilege of supervising a number of higher degree by research students since the Holsworth Research Initiative began in 2019. These students now work across a broad range of industries including academia, applied sports science and clinical practice.

In this new series, we will update our subscribers on where our past HDR students are now and how their research degree with the La Trobe Health School and the Holsworth Research Initiative helped shape their career.

Part 7: Dr Samantha May, Sport and Exercise Medicine Registrar, Alphington Sports Medicine Clinic and Melbourne Vixens Netball Club

Part Seven of our Where Are They Now blog series features Dr Samantha May, a previous Masters student of the HRI and a current Sport and Exercise Medicine Registrar working with the Alphington Sports Medicine Clinic and Melbourne Vixens Netball Club.

Dr Samantha May completed her Masters this year under the supervision of HRI Director Professor Michael Kingsley and Dr Simon Locke, a Sport and Exercise Physician at Bendigo Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Clinic. The degree and its research component formed part of Dr May’s placement on the Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physician (ACSEP) Registrar training program. To fulfil the placement component of the training program, Dr May also worked under supervision at a local Sports Medicine clinic as well as providing of medical services to the Bendigo Pioneers TAC Football Club.

Fig 1. Position of lower limb during ultrasonography

The ultrasound measurement of muscle architecture in athletes

Dr May and her supervisory team investigated the ultrasound measurement of gastrocnemius muscle architecture in athletes. The Masters Thesis consisted of two studies with both studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Reliability of ultrasonographic measurement of muscle architecture of the gastrocnemius medialis and gastrocnemius lateralis

Gastrocnemius muscle architecture in elite basketballers and cyclists: a cross-sectional cohort study

Dr May’s Masters Thesis consisted of a one reliability study and one cross-sectional cohort study. The main findings from these studies were;

# 2D B-mode ultrasonography can provide reliable measurements of gastrocnemius fascicle length, pennation angle, and muscle thickness in a sports medicine setting

# Female cyclists had longer fascicles and smaller pennation angles in the gastrocnemius medialis and lateralis, as well as greater muscle thickness in the gastrocnemius medialis when compared to female basketballers

# Male athlete groups did not show architectural differences between cyclists and basketballers

A career in sports medicine

Prior to undertaking her Masters degree, Dr May completed her Bachelor of Medicine, Surgery and Advanced Medical Science at The University of Melbourne. Following this she undertook a Diploma of Sports Medicine through the International Olympic Committee before acceptance into the Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physician (ACSEP) Registrar training program. Dr May is still completing her fellowship and currently works for the Alphington Sports Medicine Clinic as well as providing medical services to the Melbourne Vixens Netball team. She has presented her research findings at the ACSEP Annual Scientific Conference and applies the ultrasound skills that were learnt during her degree regularly in a work setting. When asked about her career aspirations, Dr May stated that she plans on completing her fellowship training, upskilling in ultrasonography and tutoring/mentoring in the field of sports medicine.

Up next week is the final instalment of our 8-part blog series. We will be following up with Mr Jake Jennings, a Sport Scientist with the Brisbane Broncos NRL team.

Missed our previous posts in this series? Read them at the HRI blog using the links below and while you’re there, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter so you can stay informed of all the latest HRI news.

Bendigo local GP Dr Stephen Bovalino

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Mid-Sweden University Dr Craig Staunton

Allied Health Education & Research Manager at Goulburn Valley Health, Dr Emma Macdonald

Allied Health Research and Knowledge Translation Lead, Bendigo Health, Dr Stephen Barrett

High Performance Manager at Old Scotch Football Club, Dr Jodie Palmer

Teaching-Focused Lecturer at La Trobe University, Dr Paul Xanthos