Postdoctoral Fellow Spotlight – Bryn Zomar

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Hippy Lab

BC Children’s Hospital, Vancouver, BC

Meet Dr. Bryn Zomar, a passionate and dedicated researcher in the field of orthopaedics, who has journeyed from a love for biology to becoming a dynamic force in orthopaedic research. With a background in Kinesiology and Health & Rehabilitation Sciences, Dr. Zomar has delved into the fascinating realm of hip and knee arthroplasty, fostering a deep connection with patients and a drive for evidence-based medicine. Now a valued member of UBC’s Hippy Lab, she is embarking on groundbreaking work, creating a global pediatric orthopaedic trauma registry that promises to revolutionize care for children everywhere.

Can you share a little bit about your educational background and journey, and how you got to where you are today?

I started by pursuing a Bachelor of Science at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops in General Biology and worked for a summer with an orthopaedic trauma surgeon at VGH who introduced me to evidence based medicine and peaked my interest into research. I then moved to London, Ontario for grad school where I completed both my Master’s (Kinesiology) and PhD (Health & Rehabilitation Sciences) at the University of Western Ontario. My focus during my graduate work was on hip and knee arthroplasty and involved a variety of study designs including randomized clinical trials and economic evaluations. I also worked as a research coordinator throughout my PhD. When I was looking for what to do next, I knew I wanted to expand my skills into a new area of focus beyond arthroplasty, but still wanted to keep within the field of orthopaedics as that has always been of interest to me. I was then introduced to Dr. Kishore Mulpuri at the COA meeting in the summer of 2019 and joined the Hippy Lab in January 2021. I’m excited to share that I will be transitioning to a Research Associate role as of October 1, 2023!

What inspired you to work in orthopaedics, specifically in the Hippy Lab with Dr. Kishore Mulpuri?

I was introduced to orthopaedics, and specifically orthopaedic research, at a young age as my mom worked as a research coordinator at Royal Columbian Hospital for ~25 years. I was aware of many of the large trials she worked on and always found them very interesting. I also interacted with a variety of orthopaedic specialists through various injuries I sustained as a gymnast growing up. These specialists helped me to work through many injuries, including a stress fracture in my spine, which allowed me to remain in a sport I loved and eventually retire on my own terms. Throughout my graduate studies I was able to interact with orthopaedic patients on a daily basis and I was continually astounded to see the impact that orthopaedic treatment can have on patients’ quality of life. It was a joy to get to work with many of the patients in my studies and due to the nature of arthroplasty treatment, I was able to get to know many very well through long-term follow-up and returning for subsequent treatment. However, as I neared the end of my graduate studies, I knew I wanted to take the opportunity presented to work in a new area of orthopaedics. When I first met Kishore, I found his enthusiasm for research and eagerness to work with researchers around the world to be highly contagious. Research can tend to be very siloed, and I was excited to join a lab that was so open and collaborative. I was also very eager to work in pediatric orthopaedics as it is a far newer area of research with many opportunities to make significant impacts in the lives of children around the world.

What impact would you like to see your work have on patients, communities and society at large?

My postdoctoral research is focused on creating a global pediatric orthopaedic registry for trauma and health outcomes which can have a huge impact on children both locally here in BC but also globally. This registry will bring researchers together from around the world to determine how pediatric orthopaedic trauma is currently being treated in various locations and eventually act as a platform to perform comparative trials to determine which are the best treatments for various injuries. This will allow for consistency in treatment for children regardless of where they are located and can lead to overall improved outcomes and quality of life. No matter where a child is located, they all deserve the best care that can be provided.

What excites you most about your work? What are you most proud of?

I’m most excited about the global collaborations I get to be a part of as a member of the Hippy Lab. I am very lucky to get to meet and work with so many wonderful clinicians and researchers from around the world and I really value the variety of perspectives and opinions that brings to the work I’m part of.

What is one piece of advice that you’d like to give to current trainees or other postdoctoral research fellows?

Take the opportunity as a postdoc to explore what interests you. There are many opportunities for professional development that present themselves during your postdoc so it’s the perfect time to audit a course in an area you’re interested in, teach a course, attend a seminar or help review trainee grant applications.

When you’re not working, where can we find you?

When I’m not working you can find me spending time with my family and friends, playing board games, reading or snuggling with my cats, Fred and George.

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