Associate Professor of Clinical Pain Neuroscience
The University of South Australia
Contact me for
- providing an expert opinion
- outreach activities
- conference presenting
- opportunities to collaborate
My research aims to understand why we hurt and why, sometimes, pain doesn't go away. Pain is incredibly complex and we all have experienced this - a tiny paper cut that is enormously painful but a bruise that we don't remember getting. My research explores this complexity. I try to better understand what happens in the nervous system (mainly in the brain) when people have persistent pain. I am particularly interested in conditions that we often consider to be simple - like osteoarthritis. My research shows that there are numerous brain changes that occur in osteoarthritis which opens the door for new treatments.
I am also intrigued by the way information from our different senses (like vision and touch) is combined to create our perceptions of our own bodies and of the world. My research aims to harness this process to alter what we experience, like pain, from a perceptual level. I work with body and visual illusions, using technology like virtual and mediated reality, to alter incoming sensory information and thus, what we experience.
Last, I am involved in pain education - the idea that understanding how pain works (why we hurt and that pain can be modulated by numerous things that are in our control) reduces pain and disability. I am currently running a large NHMRC trial to evaluate this treatment in people with knee osteoarthritis.