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One in five Australians lives with chronic pain. The economic and social burden is enormous, from healthcare costs, lost productivity, social isolation and impact on friends and family.

The expenses caused by back problems alone are estimated to cost the economy more than $8 billion each year.

We aim to find a cure for unremitting pain, and preventing disability for people living with conditions such as arthritis, neuromuscular diseases or chronic pain.

Our researchers are experts in foot, ankle and knee conditions, back and neck pain, and sports injuries, all of which can lead to disability and debilitating pain.

Research highlights

  • New research from the Faculty of Health Sciences finds that older people with back pain have a 13 per cent higher chance of dying prematurely, Find out more.

Meet our researchers

Professor Jim Elliott

Professor Jim Elliott
Research leader

”My research is focused on understanding the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the transition from acute to chronic pain following whiplash injury. Specifically, I utilize structural and advanced magnetic resonance imaging applications to quantify altered spinal cord physiology and muscle degeneration as potential cellular and molecular substrates of persistent pain-related disability. This research is based on my clinical and research experience and has expanded through interdisciplinary efforts involving the fields of magnetic resonance physics, biomedical engineering, speech pathology and physiotherapy."

Professor Joshua Burns

Professor Joshua Burns

”I believe that every child has the fundamental right to run, skip and play. I am mentoring the next generation of health researchers in my role as leader of major interdisciplinary research and clinical teams, including the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Research Group and the Paediatric Gait Analysis Service of New South Wales.

"Over the next five years my team of clinicians, scientists and students will pioneer muscle-building therapies, to get millions of children back on their feet,” says Professor Burns.

Associate Professor Evangelos Pappas

Associate Professor Evangelos Pappas

"My research aims to prevent osteoarthritis by ensuring optimal treatment of sporting injuries early in life. Knee injuries in sports such as soccer, basketball and netball are common – especially among women – and frequently lead to early knee arthritis and disability.

"By identifying the cause of these crippling injuries and developing treatments, I am reducing the incidence of these injuries and enabling individuals to lead an active, disability-free life," says Associate Professor

Our research facilities

Matthew Hollings

Clinical Exercise Physiology Laboratory

This laboratory specializes in the clinical, physiological and exercise testing and training of a range of aged and chronic disease populations, with a particular focus on resistance training.

It contains pneumatic resistance machines, a cardiac stress system with treadmill, a Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) machine and a range of other clinical measurement devices. 

Meet our research students

Marilie Eliza Ruiz Aguilia

Marilie Eliza Ruiz Aguilia

Marilie is a PhD student helping solve a global health concern - migraines and headaces.

"In terms of my research, one unexpected finding was our discovery that levels of the brain chemical, gemma aminobutyric acid (GABA), were higher in people with migraine compared to people without headaches. This was a breakthrough because GABA is typically associated with reduced activity in the brain. This finding was the first direct evidence for the potential role of GABA in migraine and possibly as a biomarker" says Marilie.

health sciences research