Alister DuRose – Research Profile

Alister graduated from the Master of Chiropractic degree at AECC University College in 2009. Prior to this, he studied for a Biology degree in Plymouth and worked as an Investment Banker.

He currently works as Senior Lecturer (Clinical Sciences) at AECC University College. Alister tells us more about his career so far, his research interests and why he is proud to work at AECC:

“When I was working as an Investment Banker, I got to travel a lot and I worked in New York. That was great, but I knew the job wasn’t for me. I wanted to do something that was useful to people and helped society.

“I knew I wanted to go into healthcare and had to choose between Medicine, Physiotherapy, Osteopathy or Chiropractic. Chiropractic appealed to me because after five or six years, you can start your own practice and your own business.

“So I really looked into it: I observed Chiropractors and received Chiropractic treatment and it seemed a great profession. Everyone I spoke to seemed to really enjoy what they did and so I went for it.”

PhD in Biomechanics

“After graduating, I went on to work in practice for three years in Bath.

“I returned to AECC University College to start my PhD with the Centre of Biomechanics in October 2012. My research explored normal biomechanics of the lumbar spine: we were looking for relationships between the kinematics (the way the bones move) and the muscle activity that surrounds it.

“We used Quantitative Fluoroscopy imaging concurrently with electromyography (EMG), allowing us to get video X-rays of the bones to see if there was any relationship with what was happening with muscle activity in the paraspinal muscles. We found some interesting relationships between the two. Different parts of the spine seemed to be co-dependent on movement elsewhere in the spine.

“When you graduate, I think you have a sense that you know pretty much everything there is to know about the back. You then realise very rapidly that there’s so much more to learn about the spine. I was really drawn to the topic of the PhD for this reason: it seemed like it would give me a really good grounding to develop.

“That’s the key to a PhD: choose something that you’re actually really interested in. One of my friends was doing something similar at the time, looking into the cervical spine. He’d been doing it for a couple of years and he was really enjoying it.

“Doing a PhD was quite a big breakaway from clinical practice for me. It wasn’t something that I’d planned during my undergraduate studies. Having said that, I had always been interested in the lecturing side of things. It’s being aware of the different types of opportunity that are available to you when you graduate from Chiropractic. The majority of graduates go into practice, but there are some really exciting opportunities in research.

“When I finished my PhD, I worked as a Lecturer at the Welsh Institute of Chiropractic in 2017 and was there for three years. I was promoted to Course Leader of the MChiro programme for the last 18 months.”

Proud to be AECC

“When I saw the Senior Lecturer role at AECC University College, I had to go for it. I wanted to focus a bit more on my research and I love AECC. During my PhD there wasn’t a single day that I didn’t look forward to coming in.

“It’s definitely a special place. You speak to any of the alumni over the years and they loved their time here. The facilities are fantastic and you’re right by the beach!”

Evolving Research

“I’m involved with lots of different research projects at the moment. I still maintain a strong connection with the Centre of Biomechanics here at AECC University College: we’ve got a few papers in the pipeline, waiting to be published.

“I’m currently also supervising a PhD in Wales, exploring the relationship between cognitive decline and spinal pain – which is really interesting. I’m also working with a colleague in Cardiff who is a Physiotherapist. She’s been part of a project using surface markers to look at kinematics and EMG, so we did a lot of re-working of their PhD data, which led to a couple of interesting papers.

“Aside from Biomechanics research, which is my core interest, I’m also involved in some education research. I’m involved in the Fika study at AECC University College, looking at stress and well-being amongst students and the effectiveness of a digital intervention.

“Developing relationships like this over the course of your career is one of the really rewarding parts of working in academia.”

You can read more of Alister’s research in our Research Repository here.