The work conducted by this group of researchers is based on the philosophy that the health and well-being of the working population is a shared responsibility between the individual employee and the employer. Our multi-disciplinary group investigates workplace-based interventions to maintain or improve employee physical and mental health and well-being to improve productivity by reducing absenteeism, presenteeism and burnout.

Team leaders

Associate Professor Venerina Johnston (Occupational Health Physiotherapist)
Dr Asad Khan (Biostatistician)
Dr Pam Meredith (Occupational Therapist and Psychologist)

Research assistants

Johnson Kwan
Elise Gane
Deokhoon Jun

International collaborators

Professor Gisela Sjøgaard: Professor, Institute of Sport Sciences and Clinical Biomechanics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southern Denmark, Odense;

Professor Markus Melloh, Director Centre for Health Sciences, Zurich University of Applied Science, Switzerland

Dr Susan Peters PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health, Boston MA, 02215 USA

Professor Anneli Peolsson, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Physiotherapy, Linköping University

Dr William Shaw, Principal Research Scientist, Centre for Disability Research, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, MA, USA

Dr Beatriz Rodríguez-Romero, Academic, Faculty of Physiotherapy, University of A Coruña, Spain

Dr Charlotte Wahlin, Karolinska Institut Sweden; Ergonomist, Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Linköping University Hospital County Council of Östergötland, Linköping, Sweden

National collaborators 

Associate Professor Tracy Comans, Principal Research Fellow, Centre for Applied Health Economics, Griffith University, QLD

Professor Leon Straker: NHMRC Senior Research Fellow, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, WA

Dr Darren Beales, Senior Research Fellow, Curtin University, Perth, WA

Professor Nerina Jimmieson, School of Management, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

Dr Dianne Sheppard, Monash Injury Research Institute, Building 70, Monash University, Clayton Campus, Melbourne, VIC

Dr Kirsten Way, Senior Lecturer, School of Law and Business at Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, Australia

The University of Queensland School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences collaborators

Dr Michelle Smith

Professor Bill Vicenzino

Dr Shaun O’Leary

Dr Julia Treleaven

Inter-school/Faculty collaborators

Professor Wendy Brown, School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences

Associate Professor Nicolas Gilson, Senior Lecturer in Physical Activity and Health, School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences

Dr Margaret Cook, Coordinator Occupational Health and Safety Program, School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, Faculty of Science

Associate Professor Genevieve Healy, NHMRC CDF Principal Research Fellow, School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine

Dr Elizabeth Winkler, School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Associate Professor Fiona Bogassian, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences

Higher Degree Research candidates




Project Title/Description

Michelle Pereira


A/Prof Venerina Johnston, A/Prof Tracy Comans

Workplace intervention for productivity enhancement of office workers

Michael Donovan


A/Prof Venerina Johnston, Dr Asad Khan

Addressing work related musculoskeletal disorders – experience from a poultry meat processing plant

Ameer Al-Husuny


A/Prof Venerina Johnston, Dr Margaret Cook; Dr Akram Khalil

Neck/Shoulder and Vision Problems in Surgical Team Performing Minimally Invasive Surgeries

Yanfei Xie


A/Professor  Venerina Johnston, Dr Brooke Coombes, Dr Lucy Thomas

Characterization of sensory, motor and psychological features among sonographers with neck/shoulder symptoms

Alyssa Welch


A/Prof Genevieve Healy and A/Prof Venerina Johnston

Organisational and individual factors influencing participation in workplace-based health promotion initiatives

Deokhoon Hun


Dr Shaun O’Leary, A/Prof Venerina Johnston

A longitudinal study of risk factors for non-specific neck pain in office workers


PhD Degree conferred December 2017

Xiaoqi Chen


A/Prof Venerina Johnston, Dr Shaun O’Leary,

Prevention and reduction of neck pain in office workers: characteristics, contributing factors, and impact of a workplace-based exercise and ergonomic intervention


PhD Degree conferred December 2017

Susan Peters


A/Prof Venerina Johnston, Prof Michel Coppieters, Dr Mark Ross, Prof Ellen MacEachen

Factors influencing return-to-work following upper extremity surgery


PhD Degree conferred July 2016

Research projects

Project Title




A workplace-based exercise intervention to prevent and reduce the economic and personal burden of non-specific neck pain in the office personnel


NHMRC project grant

Johnston V, Straker L, Comans T,  Sjogaard G, O’Leary S, Melloh M.


‘Fast-Track Recovery’: an App to facilitate recovery from non-catastrophic motor vehicle accident injury


Motor Accidents Authority Of NSW Injury Management Grant – Research Translation

Prof Ian Cameron, Dr Dianne Shephard D, A/Prof Venerina Johnston




The impact of a step-stool on low back pain during a prolonged standing task


A/Professor Venerina Johnston, Dr Michelle Smith; Johnson Kwan


Mediating the negative impact of standing for the office worker transitioning to a sit-stand workstation


UQ HABS Faculty Research Collaboration Seeding Grant


Johnston V, Gilson N, Smith M, Brown W, Vicenzino B.




Promoting successful return to work for workers with Musculoskeletal absences through supervisor training

Institute of Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research

A/Prof Venerina Johnston, Dr Mary Wyatt, Dr William Shaw, Dr Kirsten Way


A longitudinal study of risk factors for neck pain in office workers


Office Ergonomic Research Committee

Mr Deokhoon Jun, A/Prof Venerina Johnston, Dr Shaun O’Leary.




Is there a difference in scapular kinematics between healthy controls and people with chronic neck pain?

Physiotherapy Research Foundation seeding grant


Mr Yaheli Bet-or, A/Prof Venerina Johnston, Dr Shaun O’Leary