Dr Peter Wu is a “locally grown” gastroenterologist who had undergone the majority of his specialist training at St George Hospital. In 2016 he was awarded an SSMRF Postgraduate Scholarship for his PhD candidature with a thesis titled “Clinical utility of pharyngeal and oesophageal wall distensibility measurements in management of dysphagia disorders”.
Peter’s work involves diseases that result in swallowing difficulties. His passion in treating swallowing disorders was fostered by his mentor, Prof Ian Cook, who founded St George Swallow Centre, a truly unique clinical service that continues to attract patients from all over Sydney and many interstate cities for the past 25 years.
When asked for the significance of his research Peter responded “An average person swallows about 800 times a day, mostly without us even thinking about it. It’s a function that we all take for granted until every meal becomes a challenge. It’s a privilege to be in a position to help some of our patients to restore their swallowing function which often dramatically improve their quality of life.”
During his PhD candidature, Peter explored a novel technique that allows direct and objective measurement of gut distensibility (i.e. elasticity and calibre) which has important clinical implication in treating dysphagia disorders.
He was awarded his PhD from the UNSW in November 2018. His work had generated four peer-reviewed publications in international medical journals with high impact factors . During his candidature, his work was selected for oral presentations at multiple international (Digestive Disease Week 2016) and domestic (Australian Gastroenterology Week 2015, 2016, 2017) gastroenterology forums. His was also awarded the Research Excellence Awards for Best Clinical Publication, St George Clinical School, UNSW in 2018 for his work in a disease called achalasia.
Since the completion of his PhD, Peter has capitalised on the results from his PhD into further clinical research. On a home front, he has ongoing research including a SSMRF funded project that investigates the role of oral microbiome (the collective microorganisms) in the development of Head and Neck Cancer and its treatment-related swallowing difficulties. He is also about to embark onto a Fellowship at Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong, where he will collaborate with international groups in the development of advanced oesophageal endoscopy.
Professor Ian Cook, Dr Peter Wu and Dr Michael Szczesniak
Peter Wu with his family. From left, daughter Xiao-En Wu, wife Sun Hee Jung, daughter Zih-An Wu, Peter Wu, and mum Amy Pang.