Visiting Scholars' Program

The Visiting Scholars’ Program is a free monthly event providing the perfect opportunity to hear from national and international experts in the field of pain. See who we have been previously privileged to have speak as part of this program here.

These events are held in the Kolling Building at Royal North Shore Hospital in St Leonards, Sydney.


This is a free event open to anyone with an interest in learning about pain.

2015 Calendar
















Emerging Research

  • Stem Cells in the Treatment of Osteoarthritis and Chronic Pain
    Elisabeth Karsten, Macquarie University and Kolling Institute
  • Conditioned Pain Modulation and Chronic Pain
    Rosemary Chakiath, PMRI and University of Sydney
  • Functional Brain Reorganisation in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
    Dr Flavia Di Pietro, Neural Imaging Laboratory, Sydney Medical School, Neuroscience Research Australia, UNSW
Chaired By Professor Philip Siddall
Date Wednesday 11th February 2015
Time 4.00-5.00pm
Venue Auditorium, Kolling Building, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards
Refreshments Provided By Turners Crossing Vineyards Bendigo and Friends of PMRI
Elisabeth Karsten.


Elisabeth Karsten is a PhD candidate in Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences at Macquarie University. She completed first class Honours at UNSW in 2012 and was awarded a Macquarie University Excellence Scholarship (MQRES) to begin her PhD in 2013. Her current project investigates the application of adipose-derived stem cells in the treatment of osteoarthritis and chronic pain and in the identification of disease specific biomarkers.

Rosemary Chakiath.

Rosemary Chakiath is a final year PhD candidate with a background in neuroscience and psychology. She completed a Master of Science in 2011 at the University of Auckland before moving to Sydney in 2012. She initially worked at the Pain Management Research Institute as an RA in the sensory pain neurophysiology team before being awarded an APA scholarship to commence her PhD in 2013. The focus of her work looks at investigating central nervous system mechanisms in Irritable Bowel Syndrome and chronic low back pain.

Flavia Di Pietro.

Dr Flavia Di Pietro completed her Bachelor of Physiotherapy with Honours in 2008. She quickly developed an interest in pain, and moved to Sydney to commence her PhD in mid-2010 at Neuroscience Research Australia and UNSW. Her PhD investigated cortical representation of the chronically painful limb in complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), using functional MRI. Flavia now works at the University of Sydney, investigating the mechanisms underlying altered brain rhythms in chronic neuropathic pain. She was awarded an NHMRC Early Career Fellowship in October 2014.

JUNE 2015


Pain as a barrier for social relationships:
Understanding the impact of pain on interpersonal functioning

Presenter Dr Claire Ashton-James
Date Thursday 18th June 2015
Time 5.00-6.00pm
Venue Auditorium, Kolling Building, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards
Claire Ashton-Jones.


Dr Claire Ashton-James is a social psychologist with expertise in interpersonal processes and a particular interest in the social modulation of pain, and the impact of pain on the formation and maintenance of social relationships. She has recently returned to Australia from the Netherlands, where she was an Assistant Professor at the Free University of Amsterdam in both the Medical Center and the Department of Social and Organizational Psychology. Since moving into the field of pain research, she has published experimental work on the impact of nonverbal pain expressions on first impressions (judgments of a person's warmth and competence), contributed to clinical studies of pain assessment and patient satisfaction with treatment, and developed protocols for coding and analyzing the nonverbal interactions of clinicians and patients during pain consultations. In addition to her ongoing research into the impact of pain on social relationships, Dr. Ashton-James' is investigating how perceptions of clinician warmth and competence influence patients' anticipation and experience of pain.

JULY 2015


The Association of Post Motor Vehicle Crash Pain and Longer Term Health Outcomes

Presenter Prof Ian Cameron
Date POSTPONED Thursday 23rd July 2015
Time TBA
Venue Auditorium, Kolling Building, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards
Ian Cameron.


Professor Ian Cameron is a Consultant Physician in Rehabilitation Medicine, Head of the John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research, Kolling Institute, Sydney Medical School - Northern, University of Sydney and has the Chair in Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Sydney. He has particular interests in musculoskeletal injury, and research and education in the area of injury related disability. Ian is conducting a number of studies investigating recovery after motor vehicle crashes. His other major area of research is rehabilitation and disability in older people. Ian is Associate Editor of the Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine and Section Editor of BMC Geriatrics. He is also provider of expert advice to Australian and State Governments, other semi-government organisations such as the NSW Motor Accidents Authority, the NSW Lifetime Care and Support Authority and NSW WorkCover, Area Health Services and other organisations.



The cost of pain: more than the health system

Presenter Prof Deborah Schofield
Date Thursday 13th August 2015
Time 5.00-6.00pm
Venue Auditorium, Kolling Building, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards
Deborah Schofield.


Professor Deborah Schofield is Chair of Health Economics Faculty of Pharmacy and Sydney Medical School at the University of Sydney. Professor Schofield established the health micro simulation modelling program at the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling and was a key developer of STINMOD, a model of income, government benefits and taxation used by the Federal government in every election and budget in the last decade. She went on to hold senior positions in several Australian Government Departments. These included the Department of Health and Ageing where she managed $42 billion in funding for the Australian Health Care Agreements which fund public hospitals. At the Australian Treasury she was Director of Health Policy where she managed all analysis and advice to the Treasurer on the Health Portfolio and its funding and undertook the health projections in the landmark Intergenerational Reports that identified health expenditure as the major pressure on the Australian Government’s budget balance and subsequently led to a strong focus on fiscal sustainability in Australian Federal and State budgets and those of OECD nations. Professor Schofield and her team and their collaborators have undertaken extensive modelling on the economic impacts of illness and health interventions which have impacts not only on the health system, but also family economic circumstances, other government portfolios, and GDP.



Pain and the Neuropathic Brain

Presenter Dr Luke Henderson
Date Thursday 16th September 2015
Time 4.00-5.00pm
Venue Auditorium, Kolling Building, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards
Luke Henderson.


Dr Luke Henderson is an Associate Professor in the Sydney Medical School at the University of Sydney, Australia. For the past 15 years, Dr Henderson has led the Neural Imaging Laboratory which uses human brain imaging techniques to explore central changes associated with acute and chronic pain. Dr Henderson’s current research interests include exploration of the brainstem mechanisms responsible for endogenous analgesia, as well as altered thalamocortical rhythm in chronic neuropathic pain.



Psychological trauma and injury

Presenter Prof Justin Kenardy
Date Thursday 15th October 2015
Time 5.00-6.00pm
Venue Auditorium, Kolling Building, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards
Justin Kenardy.


Professor Justin Kenardy is a clinical health psychologist and Acting Director of the Centre for National Research on Disability and Rehabilitation Medicine, and Professor in the Schools of Medicine and Psychology at the University of Queensland. Over 25 years of his academic career he has focused on the interface between psychological and physical health, preventative and novel intervention technologies, and regulation of affect. This has led to research in diverse problem areas including diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, pain and musculoskeletal injury, burns, traumatic brain injury, eating disorders, anxiety and depression, posttraumatic stress across a broad age range from child to older adults. He has published over 200 peer-reviewed papers and abstracts, has over 7000 citations to his work and has obtained research funding totalling over $50 million. He serves or has served as consulting editor on a number of prestigious international journals including Health Psychology, Journal of Anxiety Disorders, Journal of Traumatic Stress and Cognitive and Behavioural Psychotherapy. He has published one book Whiplash: Evidence Base for Clinical Practice, 16 book chapters, and seven research-based health websites including . He helped develop both the current NHMRC approved National Stroke Guidelines and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Guidelines. He is the past President of the Australian Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. He is a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society and received the Ian Campbell Memorial Prize for Outstanding Contribution to Clinical Psychology in Australia.