Ms Sam Bramich is a PHD Candidate at the University of Tasmania. Sam and her team of researchers have just received Foundation funding to identify the prevalence of rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder (RBD) in Tasmania.
What made you want to get into medical research?
I’ve always loved learning and after completing my master’s degree in Sleep Medicine I wanted to learn more about sleep and disease development, so this led me to start a PhD with the Wicking Centre at UTAS. My dad, who was a shift-worker most of his life, was also recently diagnosed with dementia, so this has fuelled my interest in investigating how poor sleep contributes to the onset of dementia and other diseases.
What is the most rewarding thing about being a medical researcher in Tasmania?
The enthusiasm of the Tasmanian community! I am constantly amazed at how willing Tasmanians are to give their time so freely to research, and I love having opportunities to talk to the community and show them how grateful we are for their participation.
How has the Royal Hobart Hospital Research Foundation funding helped you achieve your research goals?
Without the Royal Hobart Hospital Research Foundation funding, I would not have been able to conduct any of the projects needed for my PhD. The Foundation has allowed me to recruit over 2000 participants into my research project and purchase materials needed to explore which factors are associated with poor sleep and its progression to other diseases.
What research project do you have planned next?
With the help of the Foundation, this year my research team and I will be inviting participants in our sleep study to undergo smell testing and sleep pattern monitoring to investigate differences between people with and without isolated REM sleep behaviour disorder (iRBD). We will also be testing out the use of a home- based sleep study system to diagnose iRBD, which will allow easier (and more comfortable) access to sleep studies for people suspected of having iRBD.
Donations to the Foundation can continue to support researchers like Sam and allow them to undertake ground-breaking work. Please donate today online or call 03 6166 1319.