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Our Staff

Improving the delivery and availability of evidence-based services

Professor Deborah Theodoros

Director Recover Injury Research Centre | Programme Leader "Improving the delivery and availability of evidence-based services" | BSpThyHons PhD

+61 7 3365 5344

Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, The University of Queensland

Level 7, UQ Oral Health Centre, 288 Herston Road, Herston QLD 4006

Professor Deborah Theodoros is the Director of the Recover Injury Research Centre and the Leader of the “Improving the delivery and availability of evidence-based services” theme. She is a Professor of Speech Pathology, and Co-director of the Centre for Research in Telerehabilitation, and the Telerehabilitation Clinic within the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Queensland. Her main areas of research include: the development and evaluation of telerehabilitation applications for the delivery of allied health services into the community, implementation of telerehabilitation into mainstream practice, and the development and evaluation of interventions for motor speech disorders following brain injury. She is a member of the Editorial Board of the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and is a regular editorial consultant on several international journals in the fields of speech pathology and telehealth. She has been awarded several NHMRC Project grants in telerehabilitation and is a chief investigator in a Centre for Research Excellence in Telehealth at the University of Queensland.

Designing better therapies

Professor Michele Sterling

Programme Leader "Designing better therapies" | PhD, Mphty, Bphty, Grad Dip Manip Physio, FACP

+61 7 3346 4793

Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, The University of Queensland

Level 7, UQ Oral Health Centre, 288 Herston Road, Herston QLD 4006

Professor Michele Sterling is the Program Leader of the Rehabilitation Sciences Program at Recover Injury Research Centre. She is Professor in the Centre of Musculoskeletal Research and the School of Allied Health at Griffith University, and a NHMRC Senior Research Fellow. She has a discipline background as a musculoskeletal physiotherapist and is a Fellow of the Australian College of Physiotherapists. Her main focuses of research are: the physiological and psychological factors underlying musculoskeletal pain and injury; the prediction of outcome following whiplash injury and the clinical translation of research findings to clinical practice. She is a member of the Editorial Board of PLos One and is Associate Editor of the European Journal of Physiotherapy. Professor Sterling is Chair of the Scientific Committee of the Australian Pain Society. She has received numerous awards for her research including the University of Queensland Foundation Research Excellence award in 2005.

Dr Samantha Bunzli

Research Fellow | BPhty, Honours Degree (Health Science), Postgrad Cert (Research Methodology), PhD

+61 7 3346 4824

Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, The University of Queensland

Level 7, UQ Oral Health Centre, 288 Herston Road, Herston QLD 4006

Dr Bunzli is a registered physiotherapist and Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Research Excellence in Road Traffic Injury, Griffith University.

Dr Bunzli received her PhD in January 2016 from the School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Curtin University. Her doctoral research was titled: “A prospective qualitative investigation of pain-related fear in people with chronic low back pain”.

Dr Bunzli is passionate about translating research into practice and helping to improve the physical and psychological wellbeing of people with persistent pain. She has a track record in research translation, having worked as lead qualitative investigator on two government-funded projects translating policy into practice to optimise the management of persistent pain in Australian primary care.

Most recently, Dr Bunzli has been conducting qualitative research at The University of Melbourne, Department of Surgery exploring patient outcomes and Orthopaedic Surgeons’ decision making in the field of joint replacement surgery.

Dr Bunzli has content expertise in cognitive behavioural models of persistent pain and theories of health behaviour; and has methodological expertise in qualitative research.

Joan Carlisle

Research Assistant

+61 7 5552 9824

Menzies Health Institute Queensland (G05), Room:3.20C, Gold Coast Campus

Griffith University, Parklands Drive, Southport QLD 4222

Joan has been working for the Genomics Research Centre at Griffith University for almost five years, initially entering data for the Norfolk Island Trial then the Migraine Clinical Trial, the Elderberry Trial and has been working for the past two years on the Breast Cancer Trial. She has also worked in the Diagnostics Team receiving blood samples, processing data and maintaining databases. Joan has now joined Professor Michele Sterling to work on whiplash projects.

Dr Scott Farrell

Research Fellow | BPhty (Hons), PhD

+61 7 3346 4791

Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, The University of Queensland

Level 7, UQ Oral Health Centre, 288 Herston Road, Herston QLD 4006

Dr Scott Farrell joined Recover in 2016 as a Research Fellow, after completing a PhD in Physiotherapy at The University of Newcastle. His research investigates peripheral musculoskeletal and neurological contributors to chronic neck pain, with a particular focus on whiplash associated disorder. He has a clinical background as a physiotherapist and postgraduate training in anatomical dissection, immunohistochemistry and magnetic resonance imaging. Dr Farrell has taught into medical, physiotherapy, allied health and science programs at The University of Newcastle, and serves as a reviewer for medical and physiotherapy journals.

Dr Daniel Harvie

Research Fellow | PhD

+61 7 3346 5287

Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, The University of Queensland

Level 7, UQ Oral Health Centre, 288 Herston Road, Herston QLD 4006

Dr Daniel Harvie has recently completed his PhD in the ‘Body in Mind’ research group at the University of South Australia (thesis still under examination!) under the guidance of Professor Lorimer Moseley. He has a clinical background including a master of musculoskeletal and sports physiotherapy and has taught undergraduate and postgraduate Pain Sciences and undergraduate clinical reasoning over the past three years. His PhD investigated a new theoretical model outlining how chronic pain develops – the Imprecision Hypothesis.

At Recover he will be focusing on better understanding pain, in people who have had injuries such as car accidents, and using this improved understanding to develop new treatments.

Joan Kelly

PhD Student | Bachelor of Science (Physiotherapy) Honours, Graduate Certificate Health and Human Services

+61 7 5552 8354

Menzies Health Institute Queensland (G.05), Room 3.20H, Gold Coast Campus

Griffith University, Parklands Drive, Southport QLD 4222

Joan completed her BSc (Phty) with first class honours in 2009 and has extensive experience as a clinician managing musculoskeletal conditions in both acute hospital and outpatient settings in Australia, New Zealand and Tanzania. In 2012 she completed a Grad Cert in Health and Human Services and in 2013 joined the Population Unit of Menzies Research Institute of Tasmania to investigate physical activity levels in older people with diabetes. Joan joined the Recover team in April 2015 and will be working on a study developing a clinical pathway for whiplash associated disorders.

Academic & Research Interests:

  • Prognosis and treatment of whiplash associated disorders
  • Translating research into clinical practice
  • Health service economic impacts

Subaat Khan

Research Assistant | Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Hons) graduate

+61 7 5552 9772

Menzies Health Institute Queensland (G.05), Room 3.20G, Gold Coast Campus

Griffith University, Parklands Drive, Southport QLD 4222

Subaat Khan is a Griffith University Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Hons) graduate. She worked on her Honours project with Professor Michele Sterling and Dr Scott Farrell at the Recover Injury Research Centre in Menzies Health Institute Queensland, investigating peripheral anatomical contributors to whiplash neck pain. Currently, Subaat is working on a clinical trial with Professor Sterling and Dr. Jane Nikles. Subaat’s research interests include pathophysiological processes underlying disease and their incorporation into the clinical setting. Subaat’s long term aim is to undertake further medical research training to embark upon a career in clinical research.

Tania Manning

Research Assistant | IMBA, BEd

+61 7 5552 9773

Menzies Health Institute Queensland (G05), Room: 3.20C, Gold Coast Campus

Griffith University, Parklands Drive, Southport QLD 4222

Tania Manning commenced work as a Research Assistant in 2014 within the Rehabilitation Sciences Program working with Professor Michele Sterling on whiplash projects. She joined Griffith University in 2012 working within the Genomics Research Centre as a Clinical Trial/Data Entry Assistant on the Lymphoma, Migraine and Breast Cancer Clinical Trials. Tania has an extensive administrative background, with prior experience in a diverse range of industries including environmental science/engineering, IT, government, education and accounting/auditing.

Dr Annick Maujean

Research Fellow | B Psych (Hons), PhD

+61 7 3346 4823

Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, The University of Queensland

Level 7, UQ Oral Health Centre, 288 Herston Road, Herston QLD 4006

Dr Annick Maujean joined Recover in 2010 and is a Research Fellow at the Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University. Dr Maujean is a registered psychologist who completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology in May 2011. Her research has focused on contributing to knowledge about how to engage youths who have disengaged from school and/or the community and her research has now specialized in the role of non-traditional interventions (i.e. using non-clinic mechanisms as therapeutic tools). Annick’s other research interest is in the stroke area, particularly individuals’ psychological adjustment post-stroke and the relationship between self-efficacy and well-being in long-term stroke survivors.

Academic & Research Interests:

  • Chronic health
  • Stroke
  • Stroke support carers
  • Adolescent health
  • Preventive health

Dr Jane Nikles

Senior Research Fellow | PhD, MBBS

+61 7 3346 4821

Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, The University of Queensland

Level 7, UQ Oral Health Centre, 288 Herston Road, Herston QLD 4006

Dr Jane Nikles is a registered medical practitioner who has conducted research at The University of Queensland in the field of N-of-1 trials for over 15 years. In 2006, she completed a PhD at The University of Queensland; her doctoral work focused on the use of the N-of-1 trial methodology in clinical practice. Her research interests lie in advancing the science of N-of-1 trials and exploring the many applications of N-of-1 trials to maximise patient health outcomes. Dr Nikles’ findings have changed practice in regard to more targeted prescribing of chronic pain medications. Her work has been highly influential as reflected by her citation rate (average 21.8 citations per Scopus-listed article), which is twice the average for the N-of-1 trial field. Dr Nikles is the top author in the N-of-1 trial field, and in the last 5 full-time equivalent years she has published articles in top journals including European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, MJA and BMJ.

Dr Carrie Ritchie

Senior Research Fellow | PhD (Exercise Physiology)

+61 7 3346 4781

Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, The University of Queensland

Level 7, UQ Oral Health Centre, 288 Herston Road, Herston QLD 4006

Dr Carrie Ritchie commenced work as a Senior Research Fellow with the Whiplash Research Unit within the Rehabilitation Sciences Program at Recover in 2011. She is working with Professor Michele Sterling on several projects including the derivation and validation of a clinical screening tool to assist with the prediction of recovery pathways following an acute whiplash injury. Carrie has a PhD in Exercise Physiology, and both practical and investigative experience in teaching and learning across the health sciences.

Academic and Research Interests:

  • Prognosis and treatment of whiplash associated disorders
  • Exercise and physical activity to optimise well-being
  • Student learning in the health sciences

Viviana Silva

Senior Research Assistant/PhD Student | BPhty Hons

+61 7 5552 9822

Menzies Health Institute Queensland (G05), Room: 3.20E, Gold Coast Campus

Griffith University, Parklands Drive, Southport QLD 4222

Viviana completed her BPhty Hons at The National University of Colombia in 2000 and she has been in Australia for 5 years. Viviana joined Recover in February 2015 and she has over ten years’ experience as a clinician working with in musculoskeletal, orthopedics and cardiopulmonary areas in different hospitals in Bogota, Colombia. Over the last two years she managed a variety of clinical trials projects working with Prof Peter Ebelingat at The Australian Institute for Musculoskeletal Science (AIMSS), The University of Melbourne. Whilst at Recover, she will be working with Prof Michele Sterling on a chronic whiplash study.

 

Dr Ashley Smith

Research Fellow | PT, Grad.Dip.Manip.(PT), PhD

+61 7 3346 4838

Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, The University of Queensland

Level 7, UQ Oral Health Centre, 288 Herston Road, Herston QLD 4006

Ashley is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre of National Research on Disability and Rehabilitation Medicine (Recover), Griffith University. He is investigating the processes involved in the development of central pain mechanisms for those individuals injured in road traffic collisions.

He also has an extensive history as a physiotherapy clinician, with over 20 years of experience, primarily providing consultations for individuals with persistent spinal pain following motor vehicle trauma. He achieved the designation of Clinical Specialist in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy (Canada) in 2011 and was admitted as a Fellow in the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapy in 2001. Ashley is also certified through the American Board of Independent Medical Examiners (ABIME).

Facilitating return to pre-injury functioning

Associate Professor Venerina Johnston

Programme Leader "Facilitating return to pre-injury functioning" | PhD B Phty(Hons); Grad Cert OHS; Diploma Work Disability Prevention

+61 7 3346 4859

Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, The University of Queensland

Level 7, UQ Oral Health Centre, 288 Herston Road, Herston QLD 4006

Dr Venerina Johnston is a researcher and Associate Professor in Physiotherapy at The University of Queensland. She has qualifications in physiotherapy, occupational health and safety and work disability prevention. Her research interests are in the prevention of work-related musculoskeletal problems and the prevention of work disability following a musculoskeletal injury. Venerina has a rich background in occupational rehabilitation and injury management from the perspective of the insurer, provider and employer.

Pain Research Programme

Professor Michael Sullivan

Honorary Professor | Pain Program | PhD

+61 7 3365 5560

Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, The University of Queensland

Level 7, UQ Oral Health Centre, 288 Herston Road, Herston QLD 4006

Professor Michael Sullivan is an Honorary Professor at Recover Injury Research Centre. He previously held a Canada Research Chair in Behavioural Health at McGill University in Canada. Professor Sullivan has published over 175 scientific papers, 22 chapters, and 5 books. In 2011, Professor Sullivan received the Canadian Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology as a Profession. Professor Sullivan completed his undergraduate training at McGill University and his graduate training at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.

Professor Sullivan’s research focuses primarily on the identification of risk factors for problematic recovery following injury, and the development of risk-targeted rehabilitation interventions. Professor Sullivan developed the Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS) in 1995. The PCS has been used in more than 700 scientific studies, it has been translated into 24 languages and is currently the most widely used measure of catastrophic thinking related to pain. Other measures developed by Professor Sullivan include the Injustice Experiences Questionnaire (IEQ) and the Perceived Deficits Questionnaire (PDQ). Professor Sullivan also developed the Progressive Goal Attainment Program (PGAP); the first community-based intervention program designed specifically to target psychosocial risk factors for pain-related disability. He has lectured nationally and internationally on the social and behavioral determinants of pain-related disability. Dr Sullivan has acted as consultant to governmental organizations, injurers and the military on issues related to the management of debilitating health and mental health conditions.

Dr Rachel Elphinston

Senior Research Fellow | BSc (Hons), PhD

+61 7 3346 4785

Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, The University of Queensland

Level 7, UQ Oral Health Centre, 288 Herston Road, Herston QLD 4006

Dr Rachel Elphinston is a Senior Research Fellow at Recover Injury Research Centre, The University of Queensland. Her research is focused on psychological predictors of disability following injury, particularly when caused by motor vehicle accidents, and treatments that promote recovery, and health and psychological wellbeing. She is interested in perceptions of injustice and links to pain, distress, and prolonged disability, as well as recovery expectancies for people who experience chronic pain. Rachel is a Clinical Psychologist and has previously worked in clinical, teaching, and research roles with experience in the areas of paediatrics, mental health, psychology clinical education and training, clinical health psychology, social psychology, and organisational psychology. Rachel works closely with Dr Michael Sullivan to translate new findings into clinical practice and policy, and lead innovative solutions for people with injury and disability.

Operations and Administration

Alison Bell

Knowledge Translation Officer | BA, MPH

+61 7 3346 4783

Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, The University of Queensland

Level 7, UQ Oral Health Centre, 288 Herston Road, Herston QLD 4006

Alison Bell (formerly Mackenzie) was appointed as the Knowledge Translation Officer for the Recover Injury Research Centre in December 2015. Alison has considerable experience with research translation working with policy partners in the Australian Defence Force and the Veterans’ Affairs rehabilitation sector as well as more recently with Queensland Health. Alison’s key responsibility will be to manage the development and implementation of a suite of translation plans for all of Recover’s research projects. To do this she will work closely with the Research Program Directors and Recover’s major funder – the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC).

Alison Freriks

Senior Operations Manager

+61 7 3346 4763

Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, The University of Queensland

Level 7, UQ Oral Health Centre, 288 Herston Road, Herston QLD 4006

Alison Freriks commenced with Recover Injury Research Centre early May 2016 as the Senior Operations Manager.  Alison has been employed by the University of Queensland since 2008 in various roles across the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, before joining Recover.  Alison has over 20 years’ experience in finance with roles including Area Manager, Bookkeeper, Business Manager and Finance Officer. As Senior Operations Manager, Alison is responsible for providing efficient and effective day-to-day management of the resources of Recover, including but not limited to Finance, Human Resources and Facilities Management.

Administrative Assistant

Administrative Assistant

+61 7 3365 5560

Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, The University of Queensland

Level 7, UQ Oral Health Centre, 288 Herston Road, Herston QLD 4006

PHD Students

Viktoria Vibhakar

PhD Candidate | L.C.S.W. (LCS18730)

+61 7 3365 5560

Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, The University of Queensland

Level 7, UQ Oral Health Centre, 288 Herston Road, Herston QLD 4006

Viktoria Vibhakar is a Licensed Clinical Social worker in California, USA and a social worker accredited with the Australian Association of Social Workers. She has over 20 years of professional experience in child mental health, policy, and academic settings. She is currently a visiting scholar at the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom. Her research focuses on child mental health after exposure to trauma

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