At the Pain Management Research Centre, 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 Centre 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 Centre
Head, Discipline of Pain Medicine, Sydney Medical School

Conjoint Associate Professor Paul Wrigley

Postdoctoral Scientist

Clinical Professor Chris Vaughan

Postdoctoral Scientist

Adjunct Associate Professor Karin Aubrey

Postdoctoral Scientist

Dr Yo Otsu

Postdoctoral Scientist

 Conjoint Professor Michael Nicholas

Postdoctoral Scientist

Clinical Associate Professor Charles Brooker

Visiting Medical Officer

Associate Professor Claire Ashton-James

Postdoctoral Scientist and Educator

Dr Bryony Winters

Postdoctoral Scientist

Dr Sarah Overton

Postdoctoral Scientist

Dr Manasi Mittinty

Postdoctoral Scientist

Dr Ali Gholamrezaei

Postdoctoral Scientist

Dr Eindra Aung

Postdoctoral Scientist

Associate Professor Elizabeth Devonshire


Dr Duncan Sanders


Vanessa Mitchell - Research Officer

Margaret (Meg) Bruce - Research Project Manager

Rebecca Power - PhD Student

Dr Daniel Costa - Statistician and Researcher

Eddy Sokalai  - Postdoctoral Research Associate

Michael Magee - PhD Student

Caitlin Fenech - PhD student

Kristen Anderson - PhD Student

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

Kolling Institute researchers instrumental in Australian first guidelines

Kolling Institute researchers instrumental in Australian first guidelines

It has taken three years and many hours of careful work, but two researchers from the John Walsh Cen..... Read more

Category: Neuroscience and Pain Research, New Treatment, Research Excellence

Professor Michael Cousins leaves extraordinary legacy

Professor Michael Cousins leaves extraordinary legacy

We would like to acknowledge the remarkable life of pain medicine pioneer and former Royal North Sho..... Read more

Category: Research Excellence

Digital technology to support those with long-standing pain

Digital technology to support those with long-standing pain

Researchers based at the Kolling Institute have launched a clinical trial using digital health techn..... Read more

Category: Neuroscience and Pain Research, New Treatment