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Pain partnerships

NZPS 2017 web Pain at Otago brings a wide range of research disciplines to the study of pain for the benefit of New Zealanders.

The goals of the Pain at Otago research theme include:

  • Strengthening pain research within the community of researchers at the University of Otago by facilitating their basic and translational (clinical and epidemiological) research
  • Fostering collaborative research between disciplines both within and beyond the University in order to promote world-class pain research
  • Facilitating the acquisition of external research funding in the broader field of pain research
  • Assisting engagement with stakeholders through community based activities

(Pictured right: Theme Director Ted Shipton, PhD candidate Tracey Pons, and Deputy Director Ram Mani at the New Zealand Pain Society 2017 in Nelson)

International research advisory board

Professor Jo Nijs (Vrije Universiteit)

Jo Nijs holds a PhD in rehabilitation science and physiotherapy. He is professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Brussels, Belgium), physiotherapist/manual therapist at the University Hospital Brussels, and holder of the Chair ‘Exercise immunology and chronic fatigue in health and disease’ funded by the Berekuyl Academy, the Netherlands. He is the Scientific Chair of the executive committee of the Pain, Mind and Movement Special Interest Group of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) and Expert Panel member for Health Science division of the Flemish Research Foundation (FWO). Jo runs the Pain in Motion international research group ( His research and clinical interests are patients with chronic ‘unexplained’ pain / fatigue and pain-movement interactions, with special emphasis on the central nervous system. The primary aim of his research is improving care for patients with chronic pain.

At the age of 41, he has (co-)authored >180 peer reviewed publications, obtained €5,7 million of grant income, supervised 7 PhD projects to completion (excluding 16 ongoing PhD projects) and served more than 200 times as an invited speaker at national and international meetings in 23 different countries (including 23 keynotes). His work has been cited >2600 times (h-index: 30; ISI Web of Knowledge). Jo is ranked 1st in the world among chronic fatigue syndrome researchers, 4th among whiplash injury researchers and 7th among chronic pain researchers (

University of Otago partners

Within the University we partner with researchers from faculties, schools and departments across campuses in Christchurch, Wellington, and Dunedin.

National and International research groups

Our researchers also have extensive networks with national and international colleagues: