From all over the world to Davos

Katie Young–one of our ARI fellows
One of the first things Katie Young noticed about the AO Research Institute Davos (ARI) when she arrived was how much of a melting pot it is of medical and technical expertise. "Everything is under one roof here," she says. "There are engineers, microbiologists and biomaterial scientists among others – any question you have, you only need to take a flight of stairs. Also, the technical facilities, are incredible."

After graduating with a bachelor's degree in neuroscience from the University of Bristol in 2008, Young began studying towards a postgraduate degree in medicine, qualifying as a doctor in 2012. Currently a Plastic Surgery Registrar in the UK, she has also spent time at; Oxford University Hospitals' bone infection unit, the Center for Musculoskeletal Surgery at Berlin's Charité hospital, and the department of Hand Surgery at the Ospedale San Giuseppe in Milan. Young's main interest is the treatment of severe limb trauma and specifically the reconstruction of limbs following open fractures.

During her three months as an ARI Fellow, Young will work in Dr Fintan Moriarty's Focus Area on Bone Infection and will be part of an international team which, in a joint project with Dr Andrej Trampuz of the Center for Musculoskeletal Surgery at Berlin's Charité hospital and Prof. Dr. Willem-Jan Metsemakers of the Department of Trauma Surgery, University Hospitals Leuven, in Belgium, is trialling a new technique for the treatment of bone infections. The approach involves incorporating both antibiotics and bacteriophages – viruses, which exclusively infect bacterial cells – in a hydrogel, which can then be applied directly to an infected bone in order to eradicate the responsible pathogens. "Bone infection regularly occurs as a result of open fractures and is difficult to treat," Young says. "A common treatment method involves intravenous antibiotics which aren’t always effective."

Having twice had the chance to benefit from AO Foundation research grants during her surgical training, Young says she now feels honoured to be able to come to Davos in person for her fellowship. She is especially excited about being able to look at the medical world from a fresh angle and to see how scientific research informs medicine and healthcare. She appreciated the opportunity to contribute to the organization and running of some of the renowned AO courses.

From the start, Young notes, she has greatly appreciated the non-hierarchical structure and the friendly atmosphere she's encountered at the ARI.

Everybody's ideas are welcome, and they're always accepted in a receptive atmosphere. That's something I haven't always found to be the case in clinical environments.

Katie Young, ARI fellow