Emeritus Professor Phil Waite

In 2008 Phil Waite retired from the positions of Professor and Head of the Anatomy Department and Director of the Neural Injury Research Unit, School of Medical Sciences at UNSW. She has a long-standing interest in spinal cord injury and research and was involved in some of the earliest cell transplantation studies, aimed at repairing cord injuries and improving function. Phil has maintained a research interest in potential therapies for the repair of the injured spinal cord through collaborations both in Australia and overseas. Her particular expertise is in the use of specialised support cells from the nose, known as olfactory glia. Transplantation of these cells have now been tested in people with spinal cord injuries with encouraging early results.

Phil has received many prizes and honours ranging from the Sanderson Prize in Physiology in 1965 to the Outstanding Achievement Award in Medical Sciences in 2007, just prior to her retirement.
Previously, Phil had studied brain plasticity after nerve injuries, showing that even the adult brain is capable of considerable learning and adaptation. Evidence for this is becoming increasingly relevant as our population ages. She has also published on brain damage in fatally injured children following road accidents.

Phil's roles with the Spinal Network include former-Chair, Research Development Committee (2008-11); former-Director (2011-16) and former-Chair (2014-16); and Chair, Independent Assessment Panel Committee (2018-present).

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