This theme captures the long-standing research strength of the school in musculoskeletal pain, injury and health.

The theme is notable for hosting two NHMRC Centres of Research Excellence (CCRE in Spinal Pain, Injury and Health; CRE in Translational Research in Musculoskeletal Pain) and the only physiotherapy-led NHMRC Program Grant. The focus of activity of the staff and students engaged in this theme is musculoskeletal conditions that are highlighted in the Global Burden of Diseases data as the leading international causes of disability, such as low back pain and osteoarthritis. The emphasis is on conservative (non-surgical/non-drug) treatments as these are the cornerstone of management. The vision of this theme is for a model of care along a continuum from early identification of risk factors and disease to enable judicious strategies to mitigate risk, slow progression, and prevent transition from acute to chronic; through to more intensive treatment for those who enter care later or those who progress, with individualised care targeted to their phenotype to slow disease progression, ameliorate symptoms and reduce disability; to later stage management with aims such as appropriate referral for drug/surgical treatment (if supported by evidence) and strategies to reduce disability. The work in this theme simultaneously addresses different steps along this continuum, proactively targeting elements where we can most rapidly achieve change.


  • Key focus on knowledge translation to all consumers, including healthcare practitioners and the broader community
  • Investigation of clinically meaningful research questions, through internal and external partnerships (e.g. health care services, advocacy organisations)
  • Large portfolio of clinical trials to test novel interventions
  • Cohort studies to identify risk factors for development and progression of musculoskeletal disease
  • Generate new understanding of physiological, biomechanical and inflammatory mechanisms underlying musculoskeletal conditions
  • Specific expertise in qualitative research methods to gain in depth understanding of individual experiences with musculoskeletal pain, injury and health
  • Mentoring and training for early career academics and students

See our research in action


For all general current HDR student queries and enquiries related to applications contact the HDR Liaison Officer: or +61 7 3365 7123

For all enquiries related to research in the School, contact the Senior Administration Officer (Research): or +61 7 3365 2074

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