Annie Bye FRACP MD
Clinical and educational research in Epilepsy
Annie trained in paediatrics and endocrinology before neurology and did her neurology training at Great Ormond Street Hospital, adult neurology in Sydney, neonatal neurology at RPA and then paediatric neurology at Sydney Kids. Over the years, she has developed clinical and research interests in childhood epilepsy and also education. Annie works full time at Sydney Children’s Hospital and University of NSW.
Interview by Russell Dale, 7 February 2014
Could you summarise your main research interest?
My clinical interest area has fortunately aligned with my research and teaching area, mainly in the area of epilepsy. I was encouraged to do this by Graham Wise and have investigated many aspects of childhood epilepsy which culminated in my MD in 1997. My interest has been in epilepsy syndromes, MRI correlates of epilepsy (particularly temporal lobe and hippocampal with John Lawson), neuropsychological correlates of epilepsy and quality of life in epilepsy. Early in my career I studied neonatal seizures-semiology, electrographic correlates, response to treatment and approach to investigation. More recently I supervised Alex Johnson in her work in temporal lobe pathology in a surgical series. I have always been interested in neurology education and training and over the last years have converted this to a research theme. Over my career, I have supervised 10 higher degree students.
What are you most proud of?
I am grateful and proud of the fact that research has improved me as a clinician. I am also glad I became interested in education as a research interest. I am currently excited about a collaboration into the use of exome sequencing into epileptic encephalopathy here at Sydney Kids.
What are the barriers to multicentre collaboration in Australia and New Zealand child neurology?
Unfortunately as a group there has been no study that has truly achieved multi-centre collaboration. The main barrier is time and infrastructure. It would require funding for infrastructure, ‘good will’ and the commitment to back a multicentre project to make it successful. I feel we have reached a critical mass of child neurologists in ANZ to make this possible.
If you were giving advice to a keen clinician thinking of doing research, what would it be?
A good supervisor is critical. An inspiring mentor who ensures the infrastructure and project will result in achievable outcomes and is feasible goes a longway in ensuring success and enjoyment.
What are your favourite places in Sydney that make you happiest?
I have visited Manly many, many times since I was a teenager; it calms me and brings back happy memories. It is beautiful on an early summer morning. I also love the Sydney Cricket Ground! Waiting for the first ball of the Sydney test in early January is great fun.
Thanks Annie, we won’t mention the cricket.