Graduate on cutting edge of respiratory testing in UK


Kellie Strickland at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth

USC Biomedical Science graduate Kellie Strickland had to pinch herself when she landed in England in September last year to take up a respiratory physiologist position at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth.

“This was a prospect I had no idea was possible – being able to work in my field and travel the UK and Europe was a dream come true,” she said.

Kellie had started work in the UK straight after 18 months at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital, where she also completed her USC clinical placement and Science Honours project.

“At the Queen Alexandra Hospital, I’m performing lung function testing on patients with asthma, emphysema, lung cancer and scarring (Fibrosis), using high-tech equipment to provide measurements that aid in diagnoses and monitoring disease progression,” she said.

“I also help with pre-operative preparations for patients undergoing major surgery by assisting in cardiopulmonary exercise testing.”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the 22-year-old’s career has taken another step along the cutting edge.

“At first, it just meant I wore a mask, gown and gloves for every patient,” said the 2014 Chancellor State College graduate.

“Now, I am starting to test the lung function of recovered COVID-19 patients to see if they've had any chronic effects from the virus.”

Kellie said her University placement with the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service (SCHHS) was invaluable.

“It introduced me to the reality of hospital life and being involved with patients. It gave me direct connection with industry professionals and the specific respiratory training I needed.

“My supervisor Darren Smith (SCHHS Clinical Investigations Unit respiratory scientist) showed me the ropes of becoming a respiratory physiologist and helped me set the strong foundations I use today.”

Kellie said she loved working in the USC laboratories performing microbiology experiments and pathophysiology exercises.

“I am now living very happily in the UK, gaining further experience, becoming more senior and enjoying many adventures. None of this would be possible without the knowledge I gained through my degree.”

While Kellie’s current adventures are tempered by COVID-19 travel restrictions, she said her job provided daily satisfaction.

“I particularly enjoy assisting my asthma patients with their inhalers and getting them back in control of their breathing,” she said. “It is rewarding to see their lung function improve.

“I love teaching and assisting the junior physiologists and seeing them progress. I also learn from seeing different types of lung pathologies every day.”

USC Lecturer in Biomedical Science Dr Michelle Maugham-Macan said clinical placements enabled students to apply the learnings from their degree and establish workplace connections for careers in the discipline.

Kellie said she was delighted with her choice of university and degree.

“Deciding what career to choose was daunting for my 17-year-old self and I felt lost,” she said.

“I always had a strong passion for art, science and medicine and was strongly considering becoming a doctor.

“Biomedical Science turned out to be the best decision I’ve made. It gave me the knowledge to understand the complexities of respiratory pathophysiology as well as a greater understanding of human physiology.

“It also gave me opportunities I would never have experienced if I went to med school, including exposure to different clinical careers and research pathways.”

To take a virtual tour of USC from anywhere in the world, go to

Kellie in Paris, France Kellie in Tromso, Norway
Health & Wellness Lifestyle Science & Research University & TAFE

University Of The Sunshine Coast : View Full Profile
90 Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs
07 5430 1234
University Of The Sunshine Coast
Showing 10+ recent articles for this business
USC students gain early start to media careers 17 September 2020 | Two USC Journalism students who recently secured full-time reporting jobs in a challenging media landscape say the secret to their success was embracing every opportunity to gain real-life skills through their... More information...
Time is right to explore uni options with free course 17 September 2020 | With many people reassessing their career goals due to COVID-19, USC is offering a free course for those wanting to sample higher education and explore their study opportunities. More information...
PhD student helps develop ‘bushfire scar’ model 16 September 2020 | A USC researcher has helped develop a computer model that aims to predict how long a bushfire will burn and how much of the landscape it will consume. More information...
Graduate’s zebrafish research could unlock key to genetic defect in people 15 September 2020 | Genetic research by a USC PhD graduate in England has used laboratory modelling in zebrafish to identify a key feature of a rare kidney disease in humans. More information...
New book promotes high-impact study techniques 14 September 2020 | Study stress can be a good thing, and technology is creating a generation of students ‘wired for distraction’, according to a new book co-written by a USC expert in children’s brain development and one of... More information...
Top young maths minds put kindness to the test 09 September 2020 | Can kindness spread like a virus? Some of Queensland’s best young mathematicians recently took up the challenge of finding out by competing in USC’s Maths Modelling Challenge. More information...
R U OK? Day: Expert says coping strategies are key 09 September 2020 | The pressures and challenges of COVID-19 have made healthy coping strategies more important than ever, says USC Clinical Psychology Professor Helen Stallman. More information...
Laurie, 91, to continue inspiring women in science 08 September 2020 | A retired Noosaville banker-turned-philanthropist is donating a six-figure endowment to extend her annual USC scholarship that encourages regional and rural women to study science, technology, engineering and... More information...
Seagrass loss fuels carbon emissions: study 08 September 2020 | Action is needed to protect and restore disappearing local seagrass meadows, according to a USC scientist involved in an international study that has highlighted the important role seagrass plays in absorbing... More information...
‘Virtual’ win motivates USC runner ahead of state championships 03 September 2020 | When 18-year-old USC student athlete Ben Tacey lines up at Ipswich this Saturday for the 8km race in the Queensland Athletics Cross Country Championships, he’ll be able to see and hear the competitors he hopes... More information...

comments powered by Disqus

All articles submitted by third parties or written by My Sunshine Coast come under our Disclaimer / Terms of Service