PhD student Afrooz Najafzadeh from The University of Western Australia has been awarded Researcher of the Year by the Australiasian Sonographers Association (ASA), for her significant contribution to medical sonography.
Sonography uses reflections of sound waves to construct images of a body organ, and is often used to observe fetal growth or study organs in the body.
Dr Najafzadeh is the first accredited medical sonographer from WA to complete a PhD in this area.
Her PhD research at UWA looked into the impact of symptoms of maternal depression and anxiety in mid pregnancy on the feto-placental circulation which was undertaken using the data from the Peel Child Health Study Cohort (www.peelchildheathstudy.com.au).
She completed the ultrasound aspect of the Peel Child Health Study in collaboration with Murdoch University and UWA.
Dr Najafzadeh also won Best Research Presentation at this year’s ASA annual conference with her presentation on maternal stress and preterm birth, biological and vascular mechanisms.
Dr Najafzadeh has been studying at UWA in two schools – the School of Women's and Infants' Health under the supervision of Professor Jan Dickinson and School of Paediatrics and Child Health (via Telethon Kids Institute) under the supervision of Dr Eugen Mattes.
She is currently working for Global Diagnostics Ltd and is also a tutor of first year MD students at UWA’s School of Population Health.
Dr Najafzadeh said she was delighted to receive the award, which was a significant personal achievement.
“I’m grateful to have my research recognised,” she said. “I hope it will encourage more sonographers to engage in research that will benefit this profession and the wider community.”
“This achievement would have not been possible without the support of my PhD supervisors and the ARC Linkage grant that funded my Australian Postgraduate Award Industry Scholarship.”
Dr Najafzadeh was presented with the award recently at the ASA annual conference in Perth.