Brunel University, UK
Robin Gibbons, PhD Student
Robin started his somewhat “chequered” working life in 1977 with an undergraduate degree in Graphic Design. However, after 6 months of inactivity and the calling of the sea, Robin joined the Royal Navy. This was in the winter of 1978. Although Robin was initially assigned to the Royal Navy’s Survey Branch, he later transferred to the regular Navy’s Warfare Branch sub-specialising as a Navy diver engaged in ship-borne mine clearance and demolitions. Robin left the Royal Navy in 1988 in the rank of lieutenant to take up an appointment with the Sultan of Oman’s Navy based at Wudam Naval Base in Oman. This post enabled him to continue his navy diving whilst working as an officer cadet trainer and instructor.
It was during his service with SON, that he discovered his childhood dream of flying could become a reality. A 30 minute flying lesion in the United Arab Emirates resulted in a professional pilot’s course based at Daytona Beach in Florida. Robin’s flying career spanned 10 years, from 1991 as an FAA approved flight instructor and charter pilot, to 2001 as a first officer with the “flying lady”, Virgin Atlantic! An argument with black ice and a ploughed field prematurely terminated his flying career.
Following a 6 month “body overhaul” in Salisbury District Hospital, Robin began his “new life” which eventually led to his research career. This began in May 2003 when he joined the UK FES-rowing Group as a research subject. In September 2008, he started his doctorate to investigate the feasibility of FES-rowing in tetraplegia. The 3 themes central to his work are equipment development, cardiorespiratory health and skeletal health. Robin’s future goals are to contribute to the field of spinal cord injury research, whilst helping to develop a whole-body FES-rowing device. Robin hopes this device will help prepare people with spinal cord injury for cellular repair. The concept behind this website is to support these goals.