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Pain partnerships

Pain society Aus 2019Pain 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: Deputy Director Ram Mani, members Divya Adhia and Elspeth Shipton, and Pain Director Ted Shipton at the Australian Pain Society Conference 2019)

International research advisory board

Pain@Otago established an International Research Advisory Board in 2018.  The International Advisory Board are eminent in their respective fields of pain research around the world.

Dr Amy Baxter

As a double boarded pediatric emergency physician, Dr. Baxter founded PEMA Emergency Research, Scottish Rite, CHOA. Federally funded for her work in needle pain management, she has published multiple first author papers, textbook chapters, and lectures nationally and internationally on procedural pain management. A founding board member of the Society for Pediatric Sedation, she reviews for multiple scholarly journals, conference, and grant boards. Dr. Baxter is known for creating and validating the BARF nausea scale for children with cancer, and holds patents on MDEA-Winning Buzzy® needle pain blocker, DistrACTION® cards, VibraCool cryotherapy, and DuoTherm Vibration Back Pain Relief. As CEO of Pain Care Labs, she hopes to advance the national dialogue on evidence-based nonpharmacologic pain control. National speaking venues include TedMed, Exponential Medicine, CONVERGE, AARP@50+, and NextLevel Medical Affairs. She has been recognized as an Inc. Magazine Top Woman in Tech to Watch, an “Idea Person” by the Wall Street Journal, Most Innovative CEO (GA Bio), and 2017 and 2018 Healthcare GameChanger. After graduating from Yale University and Emory University School of Medicine, she completed a pediatrics residency, child abuse fellowship, and emergency pediatrics fellowship.

Professor Fiona Blyth (University of Sydney)

Fiona Blyth is a Professor of Public Health and Pain Medicine at the University of Sydney. She is a public health physician, pain epidemiologist and medical educator.

Professor Chris Lind 

Professor Lind is a general neurosurgeon with specialty interests in functional neurosurgery and cerebrovascular surgery. He has extensive experience in brain surgery, spinal surgery (including fusions), peripheral nerve, trigeminal neuralgia, brain and spine tumours, deep brain stimulation and cerebrovascular disorders.

Professor Michael Nicholas (University of Sydney)

Professor Nicholas’ main interest has been combining research and clinical pain practice, especially multidisciplinary applications of psychology.

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 (www.paininmotion.be). 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. 

Emeritus Professor Maree Smith (University of Queensland)

Emeritus Prof Maree Smith is a leading researcher internationally in discovery/ translation with particular expertise in the novel pain therapeutics field. She is inventor on several patented novel analgesics technologies, with one licensed in 2005 to the UQ spin-out company, Spinifex Pharmaceuticals, for commercialization. In mid-2015, Spinifex was acquired by Novartis and the drug candidate, EMA401, is in clinical development. Prof Smith also has expertise in deriving pharmacokinetic parameters from plasma drug concentration versus time data from animal and early phase human clinical trials.

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: