Research Team

Fearghal Behan – research associate

Fearghal joined the ADVANCE Study in January 2021 as a research associate within the Musculoskeletal Mechanics Group led by Prof Anthony Bull. He manages the musculoskeletal health data analysis for the Study. This entails the mobility/functional tests, pain scores, X-rays, DEXA scans, and some other elements to assess the impact of injury in combat on physical function.

Fearghal hopes to work closely with all members of the team and is always keen to chat and learn over a cup of tea or a Guinness! Feel free to get in touch with him, whether you’re a member of the research team or a study participant. 

Fearghal commenced his career as a physiotherapist in Ireland following his undergraduate and master’s degrees. He worked in a variety of clinical settings before specialising as a musculoskeletal physiotherapist. He practiced both in acute hospitals and in elite sports medicine settings. After many years of clinical practice, Fearghal completed a PhD in ‘Neuromechanics of Explosive Performance for Movement Control and Joint Stabilisation’ in Loughborough University. Thereafter, he worked as a research scientist in Aspetar Sports Medicine Hospital in Doha, Qatar.

Fearghal’s previous research has focused on musculoskeletal injury and neuromuscular function, with the aims of aiding injury prevention, rehabilitation, and performance. He uses a variety of neuromuscular function, biomechanical and imaging methods (MRI, 2-dimensional ultrasound) to conduct his research. His research has won awards at numerous national and international conferences and he has been an invited symposium speaker at a number of Sports and Exercise Medicine conferences.

Howard Burdett – research fellow

Howard joined the ADVANCE team in February 2021. He is a research fellow investigating socioeconomic outcomes for the ADVANCE participants and how these outcomes are related to injury, support services and other factors.

Howard received his PhD in epidemiology for research on mental health and socioeconomic status of UK Armed Forces personnel transitioning to civilian life. Veterans and transition remains his primary area of interest, including mental health, and social and economic outcomes.

In his work, Howard has looked at socioeconomic trajectories from in-service to post-service life of UK military personnel, and also examined the long-term socioeconomic and wellbeing consequences of battlefield injury during Operation HERRICK and associated recuperation. His experience is in mixed-methods research research, including cross-sectional studies, longitudinal studies, randomised controlled trials, meta-analysis and data linkage.

Howard has published on the long-term mental health and socioeconomic outcomes of veterans, as well as other areas of Armed Forces wellbeing and return from deployment. He has supervised students and research assistants on a number of topics, including qualitative interview studies of deployment-related moral injury as a result of deployment experiences, and veterans’ experiences of transition to civilian life.

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