Supporting networking and collaborative research among early career scientists and clinicians.

Endocrine insights into musculoskeletal health

Ayse Zengin, Monash University



The overarching aim is to increase my visibility as an early career researcher and gain insight on my research area from experts across various disciplines of endocrinology, to further develop my research theme and to help with my career progression in research. 

The specific aims of this proposal are to:

  1. Present my data as an oral presentation on musculoskeletal health of ageing Gambian men and women at the International Congress of Endocrinology (ICE) in combination with the Society for Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes of South Africa (SEMDSA)
  2. Visit labs at the University of Cape Town and the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg – to form new collaborations, to develop future study ideas and apply for future joint funding applications.



Attending the International Congress of Endocrinology (ICE), 2018 was extremely beneficial as it allowed me to be exposed to the various fields within endocrinology. Giving an oral presentation allowed me to be visible in this research space and promote musculoskeletal health for Africans – this is particularly important as part of my research is based in West Africa. After the session was over, my research generated discussion and potential new research ideas.

Not only did I hear the latest findings in bone research, but also in diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases from world leaders. Although I have a bone focus in my research, listening to presentations about these other chronic diseases allowed me to get a wider understanding of the interactions between these diseases and how they affect musculoskeletal health.

Meeting with Prof. Lisa Mickelsfield: The meeting was very productive whereby Lisa explained her research and the current studies that she was running. I also explained all my studies and research interests – where we realised that we shared a lot of common research interests. We then were able to develop research studies that we could work on together and potentially have a PhD student between us. Of note, Lisa was particularly very interested in hearing about assessment of abdominal aortic calcification from a lateral vertebral assessment image obtained from a DXA – this is a novel technique that has recently been validated. I explained that I had training in this area and thus would have the skills required to quantify the DXA scans in her study that is based in a disadvantaged population (Soweto, South Africa). 

Overall, attendance at this congress was definitely worthwhile as it not only allowed me to present my findings but also enabled networking opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise. 


Grant awarded: £1,980

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