Boundary-Pushing Speakers: From a Veterinarian to an Infectious Disease Expert

26 April 2023

We are excited to reveal the latest batch of extraordinary speakers who will be joining us at the World Extreme Medicine Conference 2023

This event brings together a diverse range of medical professionals, adventurers, and researchers to share their experiences and insights in the fascinating world of extreme medicine. With this latest announcement, we’re just getting started, and there are still more exceptional speakers to come. 

→ Join our newsletter at the bottom of this page for the latest updates on the conference, taking place in November in Edinburgh or online.

Lachlan McIver

Dr Lachlan McIver is a rural generalist and public health physician from Australia, who has dedicated his career to treating patients in some of the world’s most isolated and resource-deprived communities. He has worked for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) as the Tropical Diseases & Planetary Health Advisor and has also spent several years with the World Health Organization.

Lachlan has travelled extensively, visiting almost 100 countries, and has treated patients facing complex challenges such as Indigenous health inequities, climate change, and antibiotic resistance. He holds a PhD in global health and is an Associate Professor at James Cook University.

Lachlan’s first book, Life & Death Decisions, was published in 2022 and provides an explosive memoir of his personal journey, coupled with an urgent call to action on some of the greatest health crises of our time. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear from this inspiring speaker at the World Extreme Medicine Conference 2023.

Alex Lewis

Alex Lewis is an inspiration to many, having overcome incredible odds to continue his passion for adventure and exploration after contracting Strep A Toxic Shock Syndrome, Septicaemia, and Necrotising Fasciitis in 2013. Given less than a 3% chance of survival, he was rushed to Winchester Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, where doctors performed a quadruple amputation to save his life. 

Despite the significant challenges ahead, Alex maintained a positive outlook and underwent extensive surgery and rehabilitation to learn to walk again. His story of resilience and adjustment was chronicled in the Channel 4 documentary “The Extraordinary case of Alex Lewis.” 

Since then, Alex has continued to push boundaries and break barriers. He became the first quadruple amputee to kayak around the southern tip of Greenland and completed a three hundred and twenty mile expedition along the Orange River in South Africa. In 2022, he founded FLOAT (For the Love of Assistive Technology) and travelled to Kyiv with a small team in February 2023 to work with local partners to establish better care for amputees affected by the Russian invasion.

Alex’s remarkable journey and incredible achievements make him a perfect addition to the speaker lineup at the World Extreme Medicine Conference 2023.

Geoff Watson

Geoff Watson is a renowned Anaesthetics and Intensive Care specialist with over 22 years of experience in the field. He received his medical degree from The London Hospital Medical College, the oldest medical school in the country, before completing his training in the Far East and returning to become a consultant at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital.

In 2013, Geoff had the opportunity to work with Alex Lewis (who also joins us at the World Extreme Medicine Conference), a patient who had suffered significant trauma resulting in the loss of both arms and legs. With the aid of an exceptional intensive care team in Winchester and his expertise, Alex’s miraculous recovery inspired Geoff to continue his work in extreme medicine.

Geoff’s passion for challenging medical environments and his expertise in Anaesthetics and Intensive Care make him an ideal speaker for the World Extreme Medicine Conference 2023.

Charlotte Hammer

Dr Charlotte Hammer is an expert in applied infectious diseases epidemiology, specialising in emerging and high-consequence infectious diseases.

Her research focuses on early warning and rapid response to outbreaks in complex and fragile settings, such as humanitarian emergencies and peri-urban informal settlements. Dr Hammer has a wealth of experience in outbreak response and epidemic intelligence, working with organisations such as the World Health Organization and the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network. She has also designed and taught curriculum for Field Epidemiology Training Programs worldwide. Dr Hammer completed her PhD on outbreak risks in humanitarian emergencies and has worked on COVID-19 and Ebola responses in the European Union, Papua New Guinea and the North-Eastern DRC.

Her insights and expertise will be invaluable at the World Extreme Medicine Conference 2023, where she will be sharing her experiences and knowledge in the field of infectious disease outbreak response in extreme environments.

Catherine Trainor

Get ready to be inspired by Catherine Trainor, an EMT based in Bozeman, Montana. She’s a fearless adventurer who works for the Big Sky Volunteer Ski Patrol and has fought wildfires as a Wildland Firefighter EMT. But that’s not all. Catherine has also travelled to Ukraine twice to provide medical relief during times of conflict.

Her passion for the intersection of medicine and the natural world is reflected in her Masters in Fine Arts in Science and Natural History Filmmaking from Montana State University.

As she prepares to apply to medical school, we can’t wait to hear Catherine’s insights on how her experiences in extreme environments have shaped her approach to patient care.

Chris Imray

Meet Chris, a vascular/renal transplant surgeon with a deep passion for the mountains and the outdoors. He is an accomplished climber and a member of both the Alpine and Climbers Club. Chris has climbed the Seven Summits, completing a 30-year odyssey that took him around the world. He is a world expert in cold injuries and has run the UK telemedicine frostbite service for the British Mountaineering Council for over a decade.

In addition to his medical work, Chris co-founded the Global Polar and Altitude Metabolic Research Registry to better understand the challenges of extreme environmental travel. He is also the Director of the Coventry NIHR Clinical Research Facility and co-author of The Oxford Handbook of Expedition and Wilderness Medicine. With over 200 peer-reviewed publications, Chris is an active researcher in altitude/cold medicine and a member of the Mount Everest Screening Committee.

At the World Extreme Medicine Conference 2023, Chris will share his experiences as a mountaineer and surgeon, and discuss the latest developments in cold and altitude medicine. Join us to hear from one of the most respected and accomplished experts in the field!

James Guthrie

Meet Dr James Guthrie, a highly qualified veterinarian and Senior Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Fitzpatrick Referrals in Surrey. He is the only veterinarian in the UK to hold Diplomate status in both Small Animal Surgery and Canine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, making him one of the most qualified veterinarians in Europe.

With a keen interest in working dogs, Dr Guthrie specialises in the treatment of orthopaedic injuries, soft tissue and neurosurgery, and canine sports medicine.

Join him at the World Extreme Medicine Conference 2023 to learn more about his expertise in working with search and rescue dogs.

Natalie Taylor

Meet Major Natalie Taylor, a passionate GP in the British Army with extensive experience providing medical support to NATO forces and host nations in some of the world’s most remote locations. With deployments to Afghanistan, Oman, Uzbekistan, Estonia, and beyond, she has seen first-hand the unique challenges of delivering quality patient care in extreme environments.

Natalie’s research interests lie in maximising performance and understanding physiology in these extreme conditions, making her an ideal speaker for the World Extreme Medicine Conference 2023. Not only is she a leading expert in the field, but she also co-organized and was assistant leader on Ice Maiden, the first all-female team to cross Antarctica coast to coast using muscle power alone.

Get ready to be inspired by Major Natalie Taylor’s incredible achievements and insights into extreme medicine.

Terez Malka

Dr. Terez is a seasoned emergency physician and paediatrician who has worked in extreme and austere environments on five continents, responding to disasters and providing humanitarian relief and expedition support around the world.

Her extensive expertise and experience in wilderness medicine have been recognized with a fellowship from Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital and an MPH from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Dr. Terez is a passionate educator, teaching the care of special populations in remote settings for the Wilderness Medical Society and the University of Colorado.

She will be sharing her insights and experiences as a speaker at the World Extreme Medicine Conference 2023, where she will be discussing the challenges and opportunities of providing care in remote settings.

Andrew Darby-Smith

Andrew is an accomplished Anaesthetics & Intensive Care Medicine registrar in the NHS who has made a name for himself in healthcare in low-resource and remote environments. 

His interests include Expedition Medicine (Altitude, Diving, Polar Cruise), International Aeromedical Retrieval (African Flying Doctors, Kenya), and Global Anaesthesia (Rural Nepal).

Andrew has a strong passion for medical education, and he recently launched the ‘Remote Medicine’ intercalated BSc at Imperial College London. As Course Director for three years, he successfully led the program, which is dedicated to training healthcare professionals for challenging environments. In 2022,Andrew completed a high altitude research expedition, where he continued to demonstrate his expertise and commitment to advancing the field of medicine.We are thrilled to have him speak at the World Extreme Medicine Conference 2023, where he will share his unique experiences and insights.


Our speakers for the World Extreme Medicine Conference promises an impressive lineup, with more exciting announcements to come soon. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from experts with unique experiences and knowledge in extreme medicine.

→ Register for this years World Extreme Medicine Conference now! 

You can also read our blog or visit our e-learning section, a digital resource for extreme medical professionals, packed with podcasts, webinars, interviews and presentations.

Sign up to WEM

Sign up to our newsletter