The Body In Mind Research teams are divided between two sites - Neuroscience Research Australia, fondly called NeuRA, is located in Sydney and The Sansom Institute for Health Research at the University of South Australia is located in Adelaide. Here are the team:
We reckon that an all too common problem with ‘science’ is that it is only ever broadcast to ‘scientists’. Even then, it is often in journals that are read by a tiny proportion of the community. So, we sat down and thought ‘how can we better disseminate what we do – that is, how do we get the message out there, be a credible and interesting source of commentary on things to do with our research?’ How can we facilitate all those lovely ideas out there into research? Our answer: Heidi. Heidi has set up, run, bugged us all about contributing to this website. She reckons it will serve the aim of the group – to disseminate and facilitate research into the brain and mind in chronic pain disorders. We reckon she is right. Here she is, in person, talking about what she does at BodyInMind.
Valeria obtained her degree in Cognitive and Neuro Psychology at the University of Pavia, in Italy. She worked for one and a half year as a psychologist at Niguarda Hospital in Milan, with children and adults affected with Focal Epilepsy and Parkinson Disease. She is now a third-year PhD student at the University of Milano – Bicocca currently working with Dr. Alberto Gallace as supervisor and will spend part of her PhD as part of the BiM Adelaide group. Valeria’s work investigates the processing of tactile and painful stimuli in the context of multisensory integration and body representation.
Valeria used to practice track and field, running the 400 metres. Her next aim is to run a marathon. As Helen (Gilpin) can confirm she has a special ability to open containers and key rings. What she misses most about Italy is having breakfast with biscuits but is enjoying learning the Aussie lingo!
Carolyn has been teaching with the Noisters (Neuro Orthopaedic Institute) for the last 10 years and finally got herself into research via a very competitive post-graduate scholarship. Not that she has every stopped studying – she already has a masters in physiotherapy and in pain science – good luck fitting PhD onto the business card! What is Carolyn researching for her PhD? Based at the University of South Australia in Adelaide Carolyn is looking at neurophysiological profiles between chronic pain and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) during working memory tasks.
What does Carolyn do day to day? Apart from rearranging the flowers on her desk and making room for Russian caravan tea from Abby, she’s onto the design of three studies that aim to investigate cognitive function in a group of people that pay a great deal of attention to their internal state (hypervigilant). That means lots of reading and a good deal time submitting ethics proposals. Time away from the office is spent on an island 100km south of Adelaide, sailing, cooking and dreaming of the next holiday! Here is Carolyn talking more about the research she is doing.
Eva is an Austrian physiotherapist with a Masters degree in Musculoskeletal and Sports Physiotherapy – just like Daniel Harvie! She has started her divisional honours degree and is looking at how illusions can change pain. She also works in a private practice in Adelaide with a focus on patients with chronic pain.
Eva enjoys high intensity interval training – or at least she enjoys it after she finishes a session! She compensates for this with red wine and chocolate. Eva also has an ability to adapt her accent to whoever she speaks to.
Jane has an addiction to Vegemite, loves ice-cream, and tuna (but only dolphin-free!), and has just started her PhD at BiM. After finishing her Physiotherapy degree with Honours and working clinically for a year, Jane is now back into pain. Researching, not inflicting, that is. She is interested in pelvic pain, but the rest of her PhD story is yet to unfold.
Mark Catley is a PhD candidate in the Body in Mind Research Group (at University of South Australia) in Adelaide. When he is not busy researching, Mark works as a physiotherapist in a rehabilitation hospital. He is interested in the brain’s involvement in the transition from acute pain to chronic pain, and is currently investigating the relationship between cognitive variables, mood and sensory function in people with back pain.
He also has a very particular approach to cooking rice. For perfectly cooked rice: 2/3 cup rice, double that in COLD water, and then 8mins in microwave uncovered. Actually, he has a particular approach to many things – including windows. He is the only BiM team member you should ever get to clean a window.
Danny has over 16 years’ experience working in the area of sleep disorders, both as a researcher and in their clinical assessment at the Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health and the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. His research on both children and adults has identified compliance issues related to the treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome (OSAS) and on excessive daytime sleepiness associated with Prader-Willi Syndrome, a complex genetic disorder. He completed his PhD on the effects of childhood eczema on sleep quality and subsequent secondary deficits in neurocognitive functioning and daytime behaviour. He has recently undertaken a Research Fellowship with the Body in Mind Group to investigate Chronic Pain through EEG methodologies. Danny is married to Yoko and they have an eight year old daughter, Niko. Together, they enjoy martial arts, particularly Iaido, camping, movies, furniture restoration, good food and their garden.
Flavia Di Pietro
Flavia Di Pietro is a PhD student in the Body and Mind Research Group, Sydney. She is investigating the development of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) after wrist fracture. Specifically, Flavia’s PhD involves brain scanning people who are in a higher than usual amount of pain in the first 3 weeks after the fracture, and then following them for a few months. Her question concerns whether or not there are changes in brain activation patterns that emerge before the CRPS does and if so, what do they tell us about the condition? Flavia is a physiotherapist. She absolutely cleaned up when she did her undergraduate degree at Notre Dame – Brian Edwards Memorial Award, Physio Research Foundation Award, Dean’s Award. No surprises that the Australian Government jumped to support her PhD. She has spent some time with Dr Giandomenico Iannetti’s lab in London and she is quickly becoming our resident imaging authority. Clearly, she did not write this bio.
A recent addition to the BiM team, Jacki is a physiotherapy student at the University of South Australia, undertaking honours during the final two years of the degree. Other than drinking coffee, what is she doing at BiM? Her honours project is looking at sensory retraining and whether a sensation can be trained using alternate sensory pathways. Jacki hopes to improve her table tennis (and research) skills by the time she graduates.
Helen worked and completed her MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging at The University of Nottingham, where she focused on using bodily illusions to alter the perception of pain in osteoarthritis sufferers. After a short study trip to BIM in 2012, during which she discovered that she simply cannot live without koalas, she has returned to Oz for much longer to continue to delve into the world of pain.
She has a specific interest in the mechanisms underlying the disturbances in body representation seen in various disorders, and wants to particularly focus on the relationship between body representation disturbances and chronic pain.
Helen likes sports, pub gardens, cheese, and most of all she likes a nice cup of tea! Before finally realising that her true passion lies in neuroscience, she tried her hand at a variety of colourful past times including, but not limited to, Thai boxing, cheerleading, tap dancing, candle making, and bassoon playing.
Daniel is a PhD candidate in the Body in Mind Research Group at UniSA. He has a clinical physiotherapy background and is a graduate of the Master of Musculoskeletal and Sports degree at The University of South Australia. His research uses a classical conditioning (associative learning) paradigm to look at the transference of injury related responses to previously meaningless stimuli.
He is currently in Belgium undertaking research with the likes of Ann Meulders and Johan Vlaeyen (best known for their fear-avoidance related research). He enjoys writing and recording music and has a bionic knee.
Hopin has joined us from the land of the long white clouds (New Zealand) to conduct his PhD through Neuroscience Research Australia and UNSW. Before moving to Sydney, Hopin completed his Research Masters degree at the University of Otago whilst working part-time as a Physiotherapist at an acute sports injury clinic. He is particularly interested in fresh acute injuries and how we can best manage them during the early stages to prevent long term consequences. For his PhD, he will apply some fancy statistical models to tease out the psychological mechanisms that may play a role in the early management of low back pain. Hopin also does some research on social media and its use in healthcare and the dissemination of research findings.
In his spare time, Hopin plays football (the one where you’re not allowed to use your hands) and mindfully regulates his OCD towards music CDs and records
Tory arrived from South Africa to start her PhD at BiM. She is a physiotherapist who worked clinically before turning her focus toward research. She is interested in pretty much anything related to pain and neuroscience, thanks to some particularly inspirational teaching by Romy Parker during her undergraduate training at the University of Cape Town.
Tory is rapidly developing a fondness for Australia’s amazing TimTams, but is rather worried about whether she will survive the Adelaide winter. She loves sports but has been forced to take some time out due to a knee injury. She has used this extra time to try her hand at table tennis, with which she is making moderate progress, and rowing, at which she should not yet be left unsupervised…
James is Manager of the BiM research group at NeuRA. James is a veritable expert at this sort of thing – having been Manager of the Back Pain Research Group at Sydney University and the George Institute. His research interests are in back pain and clinical pain.
James is possibly the most interesting manager in the world – former club promoter, bar/restaurant and night club operator, underground house music connoisseur, psuedo-vegetarian (for the most interesting of reasons), moped rider and psychologist (yes – that does make him interesting). James has a PhD from Brunel Uni, UK on cultural influences in back pain.
In 2004 he moved to Australia to the Universty of Sydney and George Institute, managing research groups. His personal research is in identifying and treating risk factors for chronic back pain and developing approaches to improve management of chronic low back pain. Recently he has become interested in novel strategies for managing clinical pain in the real world. Link to James’ published research and here is James talking more about what he does at BiM.
Luke Parkitny recently submitted his PhD thesis and is eagerly awaiting feedback while continuing his research. His thesis was based on work carried out at Neuroscience Research Australia into the role of inflammation in recovery from a fracture and the development of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).
Luke joined the Body in Mind team with a background of clinical practice but is now firmly sold on a career involving asking questions, trying to answer them, and somehow getting funding to pay for it all (i.e. research). Luke is still “chuffed to bits” (to borrow a phrase from Lorimer) at having been selected by the IASP to continue his work as a postdoctorate research fellow at Stanford University in the USA in 2014. There, Luke will work on neuroimmunomodulatory pharmacotherapy of pain with Dr. Jarred Younger and Prof Mark Davis. Here are links to Luke’s published research and here he is in “person” talking about what he does.
Em is a physio student, doing her honours with BiM. Her honours project is looking at spatial summation of nociceptive information within our body map. She is our resident gluten- and dairy-free baker, and makes an amazing allergen-free, banana caramel/chocolate dessert. When she isn’t at BiM or focussing on her physio degree, you can find Em out on ridiculously long runs, playing basketball or netball, or cycling on her fancy bike!
Cassie obtained her degrees in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Psychology at the University of Colorado Denver. She is now pursuing a Masters of Health Psychology at the University of Sydney. Before joining NeuRA as research assistant, Cassie was a clinical research assistant at the Haemophilia and Thrombosis Centre at the University of Colorado.
Cassie also enjoys rock climbing, bush walking, and anything outdoors!
Tasha Stanton is a postdoctoral research fellow working with the Body in Mind Research Group both in Adelaide (at University of South Australia) and in Sydney (at Neuroscience Research Australia). Tash has done a bit of hopping around in her career, from studying physio in her undergrad, to spinal biomechanics in her Master’s, to clinical epidemiology in her PhD, and now to clinical neuroscience in her postdoc. Amazingly, there has been a common thread through all this hopping and that common thread is pain. What is pain? Why do we have it? And why doesn’t it go away?
Tasha got herself one of the very competitive Canadian IHR post-doctoral fellowships and is establishing her own line of very interesting investigations. Her research interests lie in understanding the neuroscience behind pain and its clinical implications. She also really likes nifty experiments that may have no clinical value yet, but whose coolness factor tops the charts. Last, Tash is a bit mad about running, enjoying a good red with friends and organizing theme parties. Tasha, aka Stanton Deliver, was the all round best performer at the Inaugural BiM Table Tennis Comp. Here is Tasha talking more about what she does and a link to her published research.
Abby has a very posh English accent, and clearly doesn’t like granola bars. What brought Abby out to Oz? Abby first got an inkling for what pain really was after listening to Mick Thacker during her undergraduate degree at King’s College London. It was his inspiration, along with a certain Moseley style Explain Pain experience that led her to the other side of the world to delve deeper into the world of pain.
She finally agreed to return to the UK, on one condition, that they would let her come back to the land down under to do part of her PhD. Still in the early days of research she is nurturing a nice little coffee habit and asking a lot about how philosophy can fit into our understanding of pain. Here is Abby talking more about what she does.
Adrian is doing his PhD through Neuroscience Research Australia in Sydney looking at a new treatment for low back pain. His background is in musculoskeletal physiotherapy, where he found himself coming back to the same (currently) unanswerable questions: “Why do some treatments work brilliantly for one person and not for the next?”; “What are our treatments for spinal pain actually doing?”. He has a sneaking suspicion that the more we find out about the nervous system, the closer we will come to some answers.
Outside of back pain research, Adrian loves fried chicken, good country songs and animals with flat faces. He doesn’t like highway driving, Nickelback or confrontation.
Sarah is working on her PhD at BiM Adelaide. Her interest is in defensive bodily space. She is also working part-time as a physio. Sarah finished an Honours thesis in normative left/right neck rotation judgments in 2010 and also worked as a part-time research assistant here at BiM in 2012. Now she has started her PhD it seems that Sarah just can’t get enough of this place! She absolutely loves anything outdoorsy, from rock climbing to kayaking, and cops a lot from her fellow BiMers about her outdoor gear and habits.
She completed her undergraduate degree in New Zealand and her Masters of Science in Applied Biomechanics at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow Scotland. Her inspiration to do more research in the area of pain has been from her work with chronic pain patients particularly at INPUT, pain management unit in London. Following her last stint there, Audrey recently relocated to the warmer climes of Sydney, Australia, with her family to work on her PhD looking at recovery of CRPS post wrist fracture among other things.
Di has had a long career as a physiotherapist, dividing her time between clinical work in private practice and lecturing at the University of South Australia. In the private practice setting, she has worked with chronic pain patients and has been involved in the delivery of a CBT program for compensable chronic pain patients.
The complexity and science of chronic pain has intrigued her and she completed an Honours degree on the Language of Pain a few years ago. Delving into the pain literature ignited an interest that won’t go away and so she has embarked on a PhD in the later stages of her career! At this early stage of her research, she hopes to investigate the group effect in pain management programs.
Dianne’s life is centred around physiotherapy and family (she is also married to a physiotherapist and their children are the focus of any spare time they share). Dianne also has a love of music – all types (except Country and Western), reading, dancing and walking. Emu Bay on Kangaroo Island is a favourite retreat.