At the Pain Management Research Institute, our vision is to be a global leader in comprehensive pain management solutions. We strive to achieve this by undertaking cutting-edge research and delivering education and training to clinicians caring for people with chronic pain.

Since our inception in 1991, we have focused on patient advocacy and integrating our research and training with clinical services. Through this process, the latest research can inform future care.

The Pain Management Research Institute is part of the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Medicine and Health. It has academic and lab space within the Kolling Institute building, as well as facilities in the Douglas building at Royal North Shore Hospital.

From here, our clinical research is undertaken alongside the nationally and internationally-recognised pain education program. Patients with acute pain, cancer pain and chronic non-cancer pain receive treatment in collaboration with the Michael J Cousins’ Pain Management & Research Centre.


Professor Paul GlareProfessor Paul Glare

Chair in Pain Medicine, Northern Clinical School
Director, Pain Management Research Institute
Head, Discipline of Pain Medicine, Sydney Medical School

Professor Chris VaughanProfessor Chris Vaughan

Clinical Professor 
Medicine, Northern Clinical School
Kolling Institute
Principal Hospital Scientist, Royal North Shore Hospital

Dr Paul Wrigley Dr Paul Wrigley

Conjoint Associate Professor
Pain Medicine, Northern Clinical School
Pain Management & Research Institute

Dr Karin Aubrey Dr Karin Aubrey

Neurobiology of Pain Laboratory Head,
Senior Hospital Scientist,
Pain Management Research Institute,
Kolling Institute,
Senior Research Fellow, Northern Clinical School, University of Sydney

Dr Yo Otsu Dr Yo Otsu

Neurobiology of Pain Laboratory

team-Professor-Michael-Nicholas Professor Michael Nicholas

Director, Pain Education Unit

Dr Charles Brooker Dr Charles Brooker

Clinical A/Professor, Sydney Medical School

Dr-Claire-Ashton-James Associate Professor Claire Ashton-James

Social Aspects of Pain Research Lead,
Pain Management Research Institute
Senior Lecturer, Pain Education, The University of Sydney

Dr Neda Assareh

Research Fellow,
Pain Management Research Institute,
Kolling Institute,
Northern Clinical School, University of Sydney

Dr Manasi Mittinty

Postdoctoral Scientist

Dr Eindra Aung

Principal Hospital Scientist

Dr Bryony Winters

Postdoctoral Research Associate
PMRI, School of Medical Sciences

Dr Sarah Overton

Postdoctoral Scientist

For over five years, the Pain Management Research Institute has been designated as the lead site for pain research in NSW by the Ministry of Health. We have provided ongoing leadership of the Pain Management Network of the Agency of Clinical Innovation. Our researchers collaborate with other centres within the Kolling Institute and across the University of Sydney, such as the Sydney Musculoskeletal Network, the Brain & Mind Centre and the Cancer Research Network. Our network extends nationally and internationally.

Pain Management Research Institute’s key activities and achievements

  1. Research: We had two lab-based groups (cellular mechanisms of pain and cannabinoids; neurobiology of pain inhibitory pathways in spinal cord) and four clinical research groups (Clinical Trials; Pain Testing and Pain Pathways; Cancer Survivor Pain, with a focus on self-management and opioid deprescribing;
  2. Brain, Behaviour and Society, with a focus on early intervention to prevent the development of acute pain). Our research income was more than $2.5 million. Our research output included 24 peer-reviewed publications. Two new PhD scholarships were donated last year.
  3. Education: The Pain Management Research Institute’s Pain Education Unit runs a degree course annually and there’s been a strong increase in demand in recent years.
  4. Advocacy: Professor Paul Glare replaced Professor Cousins on the board of Painaustralia. Professor Nicholas is co-chair of the NSW ACI Pain Management Network, and is on the Council of the International Association for the Study of Pain.

With additional funding, Pain Management Research Institute researchers plan to undertake the following projects to:

  1. Understand the role of glycine neurotransmission targeting neurons in the brain
  2. Improve co-ordination of care for chronic pain patients frequently attending the Emergency Department
  3. Trial SMS text messaging to support patients tapering off opioids
  4. Evaluate pain self-management in cancer survivors
  5. Develop standardised functional measures for pain clinics worldwide
  6. Demonstrate best practice of pain management in women having Caesareans

Events, News and Seminars

Philanthropic funding brings new hope to those with chronic pain

Philanthropic funding brings new hope to those with chronic pain

Some of the nation’s leading pain experts are set to embark on research which they believe will chan..... Read more

Category: Funding support, Neuroscience and Pain Research, New Treatment

Research identifies health impact of traffic accidents

Research identifies health impact of traffic accidents

More than 40 per cent of people injured in a traffic accident are psychologically distressed one mon..... Read more

Category: Research Excellence