Pain Centre Versus Arthritis

Centre Membership

Members of the Centre are encouraged to participate in our regular series of scientific and strategic meetings.  The Centre is a key component of the University of Nottingham’s clinical translational research strategy, and both the University and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust strongly support the Centre’s activities and infrastructure, including patient and public engagement and involvement, staff development, and the Centre’s research agenda. 

Centre membership is intended to facilitate interdisciplinary and translational research of the highest quality and should be of mutual benefit to both member and the Centre. Collectively the members of the Centre are expected to contribute to sustaining the research goals of the Pain Centre Versus Arthritis via publications, presentations, grant applications and other communications. The Centre will acknowledge and publicise its member’s successes through its reports and this website. 

Current Centre members are: 

Abhishek Abhishek

Clinical Associate Professor of Rheumatology, School of Medicine

Dr Abhishek profile picture

Dr Abhishek is a Clinical Associate Professor of Rheumatology at the University of Nottingham and Honorary Consultant Rheumatologist at the Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust since September 2014. Prior to that he was a Consultant Rheumatologist at the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for one and a half years. 

He completed higher specialist training in February 2013, gaining dual Certification in General Internal Medicine and Rheumatology from East Midlands Healthcare Workforce Deanery. His higher specialist training was interspersed with a PhD at Nottingham University and post-doctoral experience at The University of Birmingham.

He has diverse research interests including epidemiology of rheumatic diseases, clinical studies in crystal arthritis, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. Over the last 3 years he has had research funding to the tune of £650,000 from Versus Arthritis, National Institute of Health Research, Rosetrees Charitable Trust, AstraZeneca, Oxford Immunotech, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust Charity, and the European League Against Rheumatism. He was the lead for musculoskeletal diseases and disability (MDD) module for undergraduate medical education at the University of Nottingham. 

 Find out more about Abhishek Abhishek


Professor Dorothee Auer

Professor of Neuroimaging, Faculty of Medicine & Health Science

Dorothee Auer

Dorothee's current research interest is to develop imaging biomarkers in the field of Clinical Neurosciences by using advanced MRI techniques. The aims are (1) to understand the pathophysiology of diseases or complex symptoms across diseases, (2) to improve diagnostic accuracy, and (3) to predict and assess therapeutic interventions. Methods used are MR proton spectroscopy, diffusion tensor imaging, perfusion, relaxometry, high resolution carotid imaging and combined electrophysiological/functional MRI with special interst in brian connectivity analysis. The clinical applications are for prediction of risk of stroke, monitoring neurodegeneration, classification and response prediction in paediatric and adult brain cancer, and understanding the neural basis of pain and depression treatment.  

Find out more about Professor Dorothee Auer


Professor Dave Barrett

Professor of Analytical Bioscience, School of Pharmacy

Dave BarrettDave's expertise are in: Metabolic profiling of biofluids and tissues, lipid analysis, metabolomics, biomarker discovery, mass spectrometry imaging. 

Find out more about Professor Dave Barrett


Dr Tobias Bast

Associate Professor, School of Psychology

Tobias-BastTobias studies the brain mechanisms of cognition and behaviour. To this end, he mainly combines in vivo neurobiological methods with behavioural testing in rodent models. More recently, he has also begun using similar behavioural assays in human participants to facilitate translation of findings from rodent models to people.  Tobias’ research focuses on how a brain circuit consisting of the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex and connected subcortical regions mediates and integrates important cognitive functions – including memory and attention – and other behavioural processes (emotional, motivational, sensorimotor). In addition, he studies how dysfunction in this brain circuit causes cognitive and behavioural deficits.  

Find out more about Dr Tobias Bast


Professor Mark Batt

Consultant Sport & Exercise Medicine Centre Director, Queen's Medical Centre 

Mark BattProf Mark Batt is a Consultant in Sport and Exercise Medicine at The Centre for Sports Medicine, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. He has private practice at The Spire Hospital Nottingham. He is Director of The Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis Versus Arthritis.

He graduated from Cambridge University Medical School in 1984 and trained in Family Medicine. He obtained a Diploma in Sports Medicine from the University of London in 1991 and completed a fellowship in Sports Medicine at the University of California, Davis (UCD) in 1993. The next two years were spent as a faculty member in Family Medicine at UCD and as a team physician at the University of California, Berkeley.

Since 1995, he has been in Nottingham as a Consultant/Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Medicine at the Nottingham University Hospitals: appointed Special Professor in 2004. He served for 2½ years as clinical director for Trauma and Orthopaedics. He was the Q-Active programme director – a workplace health and wellness programme based at The Queens Medical Centre. He is a past Fellow at The NHS Institute for Innovation & Improvement.

He has served as a consultant for The England and Wales Cricket Board, The Rugby Football League, British Gymnastics and The English Institute of Sport. Since 2000 he has been a physician for The Wimbledon Tennis Championships, ATP and the WTA.

He is a past-President of the Faculty of Sport & Exercise Medicine and is a past Chairman of the Specialist Advisory Committee in SEM. He chaired the work-group that produced the successful case for Sport & Exercise Medicine as a specialty of medicine (2005).

He is married with two children. He enjoys a variety of sports, outdoor pursuits and gardening, none of which he does tremendously well! 

Find out more about Professor Mark Batt


Nick Beazley-Long

Research Fellow, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences

Nick Beazley-LongNick is a research fellow and principal investigator (PI) with current research interests in the mechanisms driving central and peripheral changes in inflammatory pain that underlie chronic pain states, with a focus on neurovascular-immune mechanisms. Nick completed a Neuroscience with Industrial Placement BSc at the University of Manchester with a year in industry spent in the Protein Expression and Purification laboratories of Boehringer Ingelheim, Biberach an der Riss, Germany. Nick then undertook a PhD in Physiology, in the Microvascular Research Laboratories (MVRL) at the University of Bristol, headed by Profs David Bates and Steven Harper. He investigated the role of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor-A (VEGF-A) in models of neurodegeneration and pain using an in vivo nerve injury model, pain behavioural assays, and in vitro cytoprotection assays.

Having had post-doctoral research stints at both King’s College London and Bristol, Nick is now the lead PI on a grant funded by Versus Arthritis investigating whether targeting endothelial activation can suppress the development of pain in inflammatory arthritis, working with Profs Lucy Donaldson and David Bates. 

Find out more about Nick Beazley-Long


Dr Andrew Bennett

School of Life Sciences, Queen's Medical Centre

Andrew BennettInterests:

  • Nutrient regulation of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism.

  • Regulation of gene expression by lipids and carbohydrate.

  • Role of steroid hormone transcription factors in health and disease

Find out more about Dr Andrew Bennett


Dr Holly Blake

Associate Professor of Behavioural Science, Queen's Medical Centre

Holly BlakeHolly is a chartered health psychologist and Associate Professor of Behavioural Science at the University of Nottingham School of Health Sciences. Her research primarily focuses on (a) promoting health and wellbeing to prevent chronic disease (e.g. healthy lifestyle and/or psychological intervention); (b) assisting people in the self-management of long-term conditions through health promotion and self-care, psychological approaches, behavioural intervention and education. 

She is a member of the Centre for Healthcare Technologies and is interested in how we can use technology (e.g. online learning tools, website, email and mobile phone messaging, wearables) to improve services and patient experience, promote health and wellbeing, and help people to manage chronic conditions. 

Find out more about Dr Holly Blake


Prof Meritxell Canals

Professor of Cellular Pharmacology, School of Life Sciences

Meritxell CanalsMeritxell is a biochemist/pharmacologist with expertise in the interactions between G Protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCRs) and intracellular proteins, and their consequences for receptor signalling and trafficking. She is a basic researcher with particular interest in the molecular and cellular mechanisms of pain transmission. 

Meritxell did her PhD in biochemistry at the University of Barcelona, Spain and at Karolinska Institute in Sweden. Her PhD was part of a EU-funded multidisciplinary project that examined the interactions between adenosine and dopamine receptors in Parkinson’s Disease. Dr Canals completed postdoctoral training in a series of leading pharmacology groups. In the laboratory of Prof G Milligan in Glasgow, she focused on the functional consequences of GPCR co-expression and oligomerisation for which she developed novel RET techniques. As a senior post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Profs R Leurs and M Smit in Amsterdam, she focused on the regulation, pharmacology and medicinal chemistry of chemokine receptors. In 2010, Meritxell was awarded a Monash Fellowship to start her independent line of research within the Drug Discovery Biology (DDB) Theme at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS). In 2017 she took a sabbatical year to work with her long time collaborators at the departments of surgery, psychiatry and pharmacology at Columbia University, New York. At the end of 2018, Meritxell moved to the University of Nottingham, to join the Centre of Membrane Protein and Receptors, (COMPARE) a joined venture between the University of Birmingham and the University of Nottingham. 

The main focus of her research is peptide receptors involved in pain transmission (opioid, neurokinin and calcitonin gene-related peptide receptors) and immune response (chemokine receptors). While these GPCRs are undisputed targets for the treatment of pain and inflammation, and have an extensive pharmacological toolbox, the use of drugs targeting these receptors is still limited by the development of side effects (such as opioid-induced tolerance or respiratory depression) or by lack of efficacy. Her lab uses sophisticated biochemistry and imaging techniques combined with analytical pharmacology and drug delivery approaches to address these issues and provide a path for improved and safer pain management therapeutics.

Find out more about Professor Meritxell Canals


Professor Victoria Chapman

Professor of Neuropharmacology, Life Sciences

Vicky Chapman photoVicky is Deputy Director of the Pain Centre Versus Arthritis and has responsibility for the management of pre-clinical studies. Her research has contributed to advances in the understanding of peripheral and central processing of nociceptive inputs and the mechanisms associated with the manifestation of aberrant pain responses associated with chronic pain states. She has a background in neuropharmacology (PhD under the supervision of Professor Anthony Dickenson), which provides a strong foundation for her interest in the investigation of disease specific mechanisms of chronic pain responses, and the identification of novel analgesic targets in particular relevant to osteoarthritis pain. Vicky has experience of being PI, managing and delivering on inter-disciplinary research projects, funded by the Welcome Trust, the MRC and pharmaceutical industry.  

Find out more about Professor Victoria Chapman


Will Cottam

Research Fellow, School of Medicine

Will CottamWilliam is a Research Fellow within the Pain Centre Versus Arthritis. He works within the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre at the University of Nottingham. Prior to attaining his MSc and PhD at the University of Nottingham, William studied BSc Medical Sciences at the University of Leeds. Will’s research interests are in using neuroimaging to better understand the central (brain-based) components underlying chronic pain. Will’s current work is looking at phenotyping and longitudinal assessments of people with chronic knee osteoarthritis pain. 

Find out more about Will Cottam


Federico Dajas-Bailador

Assistant Professor, School of Life Sciences

Federico Dajas-BailadorFederico is a neuroscientist with expertise in the mechanisms that control neuron connectivity. Having studied for his undergraduate degree at the Universidad de la Republica, in Uruguay, Federico moved to the UK to undertake his PhD at the University of Bath and then to a postdoctoral position at the University of Manchester, which culminated in work as Co-Investigator in an MRC funded project. In 2013, he was appointed Assistant Professor at the University of Nottingham, where he formed the Axon Biology Lab at the School of Life Sciences.      

His work focusses on the cellular and molecular processes that take part in axon development and function, both in the central and peripheral nervous system. Work in the lab investigates signal integration and the regulation of protein levels in the axon, including the study of the mechanisms controlling local protein translation by microRNAs and the specific regulation of axonal protein expression by selective degradation. This work has led to significant advances in the understanding of miRNA function in the development of cortical primary neuronal networks. 

In pain research, the overarching aim of his lab is to identify those microRNAs that might have a role in the control of nociceptor neuron function and the chronification of pain, to investigate how they work and to understand their potential as targets for pain treatment.

Find out more about Federico Dajas-Bailador


Cornelia de Moor

Associate Professor in RNA Biology, School of Pharmacy

Cornelia De MoorCornelia is Associate Professor in RNA Biology at the School of Pharmacy in Nottingham. Her work focusses on post-transcriptional mechanisms of gene expression, especially mRNA polyadenylation, stability and translation. There is increasing evidence that these processes play a large role in the regulation of inflammation, neuronal plasticity and tissue remodelling, and that they can be targeted in diseases where such processes are dysregulated, such as in arthritis. Her work also has relevance for cancer. Indeed, her work has shown that an inhibitor of polyadenylation, cordycepin, is effective for pain and halts joint deterioration in models of osteoarthritis and reduces cell proliferation. Cordycepin is now under investigation as a lead compound for the treatment of osteoarthritis and cancer. 

Find out more about Cornelia de Moor


Professor Michael Doherty

Professor of Rheumatology, City Hospital Campus

Michael DohertyMichael is Professor of Rheumatology, based in Academic Rheumatology at Nottingham City Hospital.. His main research interests are osteoarthritis (OA), gout, calcium pyrophosphate crystal deposition (CPPD), placebo/contextual response and evidence based medicine (EBM). He has expertise in clinical and epidemiological studies, community-based clinical trials, systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

He has over 350 original research publications and was awarded the OA Research Society International (OARSI) Clinical Research Award for 2012. He is a past editor of Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases (1992-99), has co-chaired EULAR Task Forces for evidence-based recommendations for OA, gout and CPPD arthritis, and has been involved as a clinical expert in NICE appraisals relating to OA and gout.  He was awarded a Lord Dearing prize for teaching and learning in 2001 and was the Royal College of Physicians Watson Smith Lecturer in 2011. 

Find out more about Professor Michael Doherty


Professor Lucy Donaldson

Professor of Sensory Physiology, School of Life Sciences and Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Graduate School and Researcher Career Development

Lucy DonaldsonLucy is a neurophysiologist with expertise in neuronal function in acute and chronic pain, particularly in arthritis. Lucy studied for her undergraduate (Dentistry BDS, Neuroscience BSc (Hons) and postgraduate (PhD, Pharmacology) degrees at the University of Edinburgh. From there she moved to a post-doctoral position at the University of California, working on several projects including tachykinin receptor expression and function (with Michael Hanley), neuronal cation-chloride co-transporters (with John Payne) and protein kinases (with Don Walsh).

In 1996 she was appointed to a Lectureship at the University of Leicester, where she worked on neuronal prostaglandins in collaboration with Blair Grubb. In 1999 she moved to the Dept of Physiology, University of Bristol. She has worked on multiple projects since then including TRP channel, cyclooxygenase and galanin contributions to primary afferent nociceptor function (MRC, Versus Arthritis funded), neuronal mechanisms in arthritic symmetry (Wellcome Trust funded), descending prostanergic facilitatory control systems (BBSRC, MRC funded, with Prof Bridget Lumb), mTOR peripheral translation mechanisms (MRC funded, with Profs Lumb and Hunt), and most recently vascular endothelial growth factors in neuroprotection and pain (funded by Diabetes UK and Versus Arthritis). 

Find out more about Professor Lucy Donaldson


Professor Avril Drummond

Professor of Healthcare Research and Occupational Therapist

Avril DrummondAvril is an occupational therapist by professional background. She is Professor of Healthcare Research in the School of Health Sciences. She is primarily interested in evaluating rehabilitation interventions after joint replacement, in falls reduction and management and with the ageing population. Her expertise is in evaluating complex interventions particularly using mixed methods and randomized controlled trial designs.

She is currently involved in several trials; HippotyHop- evaluating hip precautions after hip replacement; OPAL- Occupational Advice for patients undergoing Arthroplasty of the lower limb: CORKA- Community based rehabilitation after knee arthroplasty and OTIS-Occupational therapist home assessment and modification for prevention of falls and ASSERT, a feasibility trial of treating Acute Sacral Insufficiency Fractures in Older People.  

Find out more about Professor Avril Drummond


Professor Eamonn Ferguson

Professor of Health Psychology, University Park campus

Eamonn-Ferguson-newEamonn Ferguson (BSc PhD) is Professor of Health Psychology at the University of Nottingham (chartered health and occupational psychologist). His research focuses on the role of personality traits with respect to health outcomes (e.g., symptom perceptions, drug taking, and adherence), pro-social behaviour (charitable donations, blood/organ donation) and medical selection and training.

He is the co-founding president of the British Society for the Psychology of Individual Differences ( His work incorporates a mixture of lab based experiments using economic games and pain perception, field based work using ecological momentary sampling methods and intervention studies. He also has a long standing interest in the structure and assessment of traits using a variety of psychometric and taxometric procedures. 

Find out more about Professor Eamonn Ferguson


Dr Pavel Gershkovich

Associate Professor of Biopharmaceutics, School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham

Pavel GershkovichPavel Gershkovich is an Associate Professor of Biopharmaceutics in the School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham.

His research interests include the following areas:

1. Improvement of the efficiency, selectivity and safety profile of pharmacological therapy based on knowledge of pathophysiology of disease states.

2. Intestinal absorption of drugs, including the mechanisms of intestinal absorption and novel methods to overcome barriers to systemic bioavailability of orally administered drugs.

3. Effects of disease states on pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of drugs.

4. Effect of food and its composition on absorption, disposition, action and toxicity of drugs.

Research in his laboratory has direct clinical significance, i.e., translational research. It is accomplished by an active collaboration with medical clinicians, including at hospital interface. 

Find out more about Dr Pavel Gershkovich


Professor Penny Gowland

School of Physics and Astronomy

Penny GowlandPenny has worked on developing quantitative MR techniques to answer a variety of biomedical questions for more than 30 years. She has particular interests in techniques for structural and functional neuroimaging at 7T, and the interactions of electromagnetic fields with the human body.

She has worked at Nottingham most of her career having initially done her PhD at the Institute of Cancer Research in Sutton. 

Find out more about Professor Penny Gowland


Peter Gowler

Research Fellow, School of Life Sciences

Peter GowlerPeter is a research fellow in the Pain Centre Versus Arthritis. Previously, he had completed his bachelor’s degree in neuroscience at the University of St Andrews.  

Peter completed his PhD within the centre, supervised by Professor Victoria Chapman. His thesis was particularly interested in the role of the neurotrophins in mediating chronic joint pain in preclinical models of osteoarthritis. Peter also established a slow progressing murine model of osteoarthritis in the Pain Centre Versus Arthritis. He is currently investigating the therapeutic potential of Omega -3 and -6 metabolites for treating chronic joint pain. 

Find out more about Peter Gowler


Professor Paul Greenhaff

Professor of Muscle Metabolism, School of Life Sciences

Paul Greenhaff photo 2020Paul Greenhaff is Professor of Muscle Metabolism in the Division of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience, School of Life Sciences at the University of Nottingham. He is deputy director of the MRC Versus Arthritis Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing Research, a member of the Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis Research Versus Arthritis and metabolism strand lead for the musculoskeletal disease theme of the Nottingham NIHR Biomedical Research Centre.

Current research interests are centred on the loss of muscle mass and the dysregulation of muscle metabolism in ageing, immobilisation, acute trauma and inflammation and chronic disease, and strategies (including exercise, nutrition and pharmacological interventions) to offset these negative and pathophysiological effects. He has maintaining continuous research funding for nearly 30 years from government, charities and industry, and has published >170 original, peer-reviewed papers to date, and numerous review articles and book chapters. 

Find out more about Professor Paul Greenhaff 


Dr Michelle Hall

Lecturer, Health Sciences, City Hospital

Michelle HallMichelle is a physiotherapist who has worked extensively in the field of musculoskeletal rehabilitation and rheumatology and is currently a lecturer in the Division of Physiotherapy at the University of Nottingham.  In 2009 she was awarded a 3 year Allied Health Professionals Fellowship by Versus Arthritis to investigate the relationships between knee pain, radiographic severity and ultrasound features of inflammation in the community.

Michelle’s research interests include developing effective strategies for managing knee pain and knee OA, improving outcome for people following total knee replacement, enhancing the contextual effect of therapeutic interventions, management of fibromyalgia.  She is a co-investigator on a study developing a nurse-led package of care for knee pain (Nottingham NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, Musculoskeletal Theme).

Find out more about Dr Michelle Hall


Dr John Harris

Division of Animal Sciences, Sutton Bonington campus 

John HarrisJohn is a neurophysiologist who studies spinally organised reflex responses in acute and chronic pain states with the aim of developing improved analgesic therapies. His research group is therefore interested in studying the organisation of withdrawal reflexes per se to see how their organisation may change in chronic pain as well as looking pharmacologically at molecular mechanisms underlying chronic pain using electrophysiological recordings of spinal reflexes as a measure of central nervous system excitability. In particular his group is interested in the modulation of spinal cord excitability by inhibitory and facilitatory supraspinal pathways and how this changes in chronic pain states, as well as the potentially confounding effect anaesthesia may have on experimental outcomes.

In addition to measuring reflexes in pre-clinical models of osteoarthritis (OA), his current research is investigating potential changes in reflexes in client-owned dogs and cats with OA/chronic joint disease in collaboration with vets at the University of Bristol and North Carolina State University. In addition his group is investigating spontaneous OA in commercial pigs in the hope of improving welfare and the treatment of OA in this farm species, as well as the use of the pig as a potential model for human OA. 

Find out more about Dr John Harris


Dr Gareth Hathway

Life Sciences, Queen's Medical Centre

Gareth HathwayDr Hathway’s research group is sited within newly refurbished and equipped laboratories within the School of Life Sciences at the University of Nottingham. The broad focus of his research is to understand the underlying neurobiological processes that occur when an individual experiences pain. In particular he is interested in the contribution that supraspinal brainstem centres, the rostral ventral medial medulla (RVM) and the periaqueductal grey (PAG) play in the induction and maintenance of chronic pain and also how these centres influence the postnatal maturation of pain processing and maintain chronic pain states. These supraspinal sites are central to the action of opioid analgesics, and neurones within these regions are able to powerfully inhibit or facilitate the excitability of neurones within the dorsal horn of the spinal cord and therefore are able to decrease or increase the amount of pain an individual experiences. His group has pioneered the use of multi-electrode array electrophysiology in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord to seek to understand how networks of pain processing neurons change during the life course and in the establishment of chronic pain.

Another avenue of his research is in understanding the interaction of neurons with non-neuronal cells in the CNS especially over early life. His lab utilises in vivo neurophysiological techniques, immunohistochemical anatomical methods and quantitative PCR. He is the Editor of the Oxford Textbook of Pediatric Pain, serves on grants panels for Versus Arthritis and is the Director of Neuroscience Degrees at The University of Nottingham. 

Find out more about Dr Gareth Hathway.


Mr Paul Hendrick

Assistant Professor, Health Sciences, Queen's Medical Centre

Paul HendrickPaul graduated as a Physiotherapist from Guys Hospital (London) in 1989.  Paul worked in a range of fields including musculoskeletal and sports rehabilitation and chronic pain management.  Paul undertook his graduate Diploma in Manipulative Theraphy in 1999 and his Masters in 2002 at the University of Otago in New Zealand.  Paul taught on the undergraduate and postgraduate Physiotherapy courses at the University of Otago and completed his PhD in 2011 on the role of physical activity in recovery from low back pain. 

Paul is a Lecturer in the Division of Physiotherapy at the University of Nottingham in musculoskeletal rehabilitation, manual therapy, pain management and evidence based practice.  Paul's teaching and research interests include the role of physical activity in chronic disease prevention and management, the link between pain mechanisms and treatment intervention and outcomes in chronic pain and the development and testing of exercise and physical activity interventions to improve msk outcomes and promote self management. 

Find out more about Mr Paul Hendrick


Professor Marilyn James

Professor of Health Economics, School of Medicine 

Marilyn JamesMarilyn has worked as a health economist across a number of different sectors including the NHS at unit and district levels, a large inner city PCT; academia and the private sector, as senior global health economist to AstraZeneca pharmaceuticals. The focus of her research work is applied economic evaluation where she has published and presented widely.

She was the Health Economics Advisor to the National Diabetic Retinopathy Network “Four Nations Group” and was economics advisor to the Department of Health’s National Screening Committee’s Ante Natal Sub Group. She has for many years provided technical and policy advice to Regional R&D directorates in health economics and is a respected health economic reviewer for a number of government bodies and research councils nationally and internationally.  

Her current research portfolio is wide and is concentrated upon the practical application of economic evaluation in a number of research settings. These include evaluation in Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs), ophthalmology, orthopaedics, orthotics, pharmaceuticals and primary care. She was responsible for producing the economic guidance for the National Service Framework in Screening for Diabetic Retinopathy based on original research, economic modelling and evidence review and has recently been awarded a 5 year programme grant in this field. Cost utility analysis has been a further focus using health utility indices such as EuroQol to assist purchasers in making prioritisation decisions. 

Find out more about Professor Marilyn James


Dr Julie Jones-Diette

Translational Research Facilitator, Rheumatology, City Hospital Campus

Julie Jones-Diette photoJulie is the Translational Research Facilitator for the Pain Centre Versus Arthritis based in Academic Rheumatology in the School of Medicine. Julie’s role is to support the expansion of the Centre’s research activities developing and facilitating research collaboration, identifying research opportunities and assisting with the preparation of grant applications and publications. Julie also provides leadership in Public and Patient Involvement and Engagement (PPI/E) for the Pain Centre as well as the NIHR Nottingham Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Centre and has responsibility for specific research projects utilising her skills and training in systematic review and meta-analysis.

Julie was awarded a PhD in Evidence-based medicine and practice based research from University of Nottingham and following this joined the NHS as a Research Associate for the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network (EMAHSN) at Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) focusing on clinical epidemiology and Public and Patient Involvement. In 2015 Julie accepted a NIHR Research Fellowship in Health Technology Assessment at the University of York Centre for Reviews and Dissemination and was the scientific lead for the NIHR PROSPERO database of International prospective register of systematic reviews in addition to assisting with teaching on the CRD Introduction to systematic review and critical appraisal training course.


Professor Joe Kai

Professor and Head of Primary Care 

Joe KaiJoe Kai has been an inner city GP (family physician) since 1991 and Professor of Primary Care at Nottingham since 2003. He heads a large and top performing primary care department which is part of the NIHR School of Primary Care Research, and which delivers medical undergraduate teaching across all years of the BM BS course at Nottingham.

He leads a range of health professional training, and related research to reduce ethnic inequalities in health care, and in applied genetics, using qualitative, primary care database and trial methods. 

Find out more about Professor Joe Kai


Dr Robert Kerslake

Faculty of Medicine & Health Science, Queen's Medical Centre

Robert KerslakeDr Robert Kerslake trained in medicine and radiology in London. After a travelling scholarship to the USA, he took up a research post at the newly formed Magnetic Resonance Research Centre in Hull prior to commencing as a consultant musculoskeletal radiologist in Nottingham. His professional interests include all aspects of musculoskeletal radiology and sports medicine imaging.

His research interests have included spinal trauma, lumbar stress injuries and currently encompass various aspects of osteoarthritis imaging, working with the Pain Centre and the Versus Arthritis Centre for Sports, Exercise and Osteoarthritis in Nottingham.


Dr Roger Knaggs

Associate Professor in Clinical Pharmacy

Roger KnaggsRoger is Associate Professor in Clinical Pharmacy Practice at the University of Nottingham and an advanced pharmacy practitioner at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, where he works as a member of the multidisciplinary pain management service. He is a Council member of the British Pain Society and regularly provides media comment on issues relating to pain management on behalf of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

Roger’s research interests relate to prescribing of analgesic medicines and associated clinical outcomes and healthcare utilisation. Current research is focussing on understanding the implications of the changes in opioid prescribing over recent years and their geographical variation, together with understanding the impact of recent legislative changes related to controlled drugs. 

Find out more about Dr Roger Knaggs


Dr Rob Lane

Assistant Professor in Molecular Pharmacology, Life Sciences

Rob LaneRob Lane joined the Centre of Membrane Protein and Receptors (COMPARE) in the School of Life Sciences in October 2018. Rob’s work focuses on G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) with a particular emphasis on developing novel approaches to treat CNS disorders. These GPCR tagets inlcude dopamine and opioid receptors. These receptors are the target of approximately one third of clinically used drugs. There remains, however, a high attrition rate of GPCR drug discovery that in part reflects our limited understanding of the function of these proteins.

One main line of research in his laboratory is aimed at understanding the structural basis of drug binding and specificity in these receptors, how they modulate receptor function and ultimately dictate their physiological effect. A particular focus is on two paradigms of GPCR drug action that may be exploited to develop new drugs with greater target or tissue selectivity, allosteric modulation and biased agonism. The lab combines analytical pharmacology with advanced biochemical and imaging techniques to interrogate receptor function and signaling. Through close collaborations with structural biologists, medicinal chemists and neuroscientists his lab is developing novel chemical and genetic tools and use them to gain fundamental insights regarding the physiological effect of  GPCR signalling in a particular cell population or tissue.

Find out more about Dr Rob Lane


Professor Ravi Mahajan

Professor and Honorary Consultant of Anaesthesia & Critical Care, Queen's Medical Centre 

Ravi MahajanRavi's research interests are patient safety, outcomes and quality improvement, neuro-vascular regulation and muscle energy regulation.  

His international and national roles include, President, Royal College of Anaesthetists, UK; Chairman of Board of Trustees, Royal College of Anaesthetists, UK; Council Member, Academy of Medical Royal Colleges; and Trustee, Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. 

Find out more about Professor Ravi Mahajan


Dr Daniel McWilliams

Post-doctoral Research Fellow, City Hospital campus

Dan McWilliamsDaniel McWilliams is a post-doctoral research fellow within the Pain Centre Versus Arthritis. He has interests in studies of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, musculoskeletal pain and central sensitisation/pain mechanisms. His published studies include epidemiological data analysis in longitudinal studies of rheumatoid arthritis, pain mechanisms in rheumatoid arthritis, structural progression of rheumatoid joint damage and osteoarthritis.

He also works as part of a team that manages the collection, storage and research into biological samples taken from people with musculoskeletal conditions, or taken post-mortem. 

Find out more about Dr Daniel McWilliams


Paul Millns 

Senior Research Technician, Life Sciences

Paul MillnsPaul is a senior research technician in the Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience Division of the School of Life Sciences and carries out and supports research within the Pain Centre Versus Arthritis. Current research involves studying the role of TLR3 in the development and maintenance of inflammatory and neuropathic pain. Paul’s previous research has been centred on the role of cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids in modulating neuropathic pain; the research involved the induction of neuropathic pain in a preclinical model and the subsequent study of the modulation of capsaicin evoked changes in intracellular calcium concentration in dorsal root ganglion neurons.

Paul has experience in a broad spectrum of laboratory techniques some of which include: the culture of primary cells, calcium imaging in cultured cells, phagocytosis assays, radio-isotope based pharmacological assays,
immunohistochemistry, image analysis and is a personal license holder (ASPA) modules I-IV. Paul is also a deputy radiation protection officer, an assistant safety officer and has trained and supervised under graduates, post graduates and members of staff. 

Find out more about Paul Milns


Professor Roshan das Nair

Professor of Clinical Psychology and Neuropsychology, Medicine

Roshan Das NairRoshan das Nair is Professor of Clinical Psychology & Neuropsychology. He is a British Psychological Society Chartered Clinical Psychologist and a Health and Care Professions Council Registered Practitioner Psychologist.

After qualifying as a clinical psychologist from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in Bangalore, India, he obtained his PhD from the University of Nottingham. Between 2001-2003, Prof das Nair worked as a Lecturer at the University of Zambia, and until November 2016, he was a Consultant Clinical Psychologist with Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Roshan’s research focuses on the evaluation and implementation of complex interventions within health and social settings. 

Find out more about Professor Roshan das Nair


Dr Galina Pavlovskaya 

Associate Professor, Translational Imaging, Medicine 

Galina PavlovskayaGalina is a MR physicist with the expertise in sodium MRI and microimaging (UTE, MQF) at ultra-high field (9.4T), particularly in applying these techniques in exploring new imaging markers in diseases associated with physical stresses i.e. arthritis and injuries in sports medicine. Galina studied for her undergraduate (Soft Condensed Matter Physics) degree at Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia and postgraduate (PhD, Chemical Physics) degree at Clark University, Massachusetts, USA. From there she moved to a post-doctoral position at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Tallahassee, Florida, USA working on MRI of fluid flows in tissues following a second post-doctoral post in MRI of bio-fluid flow in stenotic geometries at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, USA.  She continued as an independent Researcher at Colorado State University developing hyperpolarised MRI methodology for lung studies and sodium MRI methodology for soft tissues characterisation.

In 2009 she was appointed as an Assistant Professor at the University of Nottingham, where she continued to work on hyperpolarisation techniques, sodium methodology developments including novel technology of sodium sensing in joints using pocket-sized MRI.   She was promoted to an Associate Professor in 2017, her research is currently funded by MRC, BBSRC, EPSRC and charities. She also contributes to UG teaching in the School of Medicine with a module “Physics of the body” and in the School of Physics and Astronomy with 3rd and 4th year research project students. She is currently Postgraduate teaching and training lead for Doctoral Programmes in the School of Medicine. 

Find out more about Professor Galina Pavlovskaya


Dr Richard Pearson

Medicine, Queen's Medical Centre

Richard PearsonRichard's interest in pain stems from research into osteoarthritis initiated at the Institute of Orthopaedics, Stanmore, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital. This was subsequently complemented by investigating peripheral and central nervous system repair strategies in the School of Pharmacy (UoN) in collaboration with the National Institute of Medical Research. In 2003, he moved to the Division of Orthopaedic & Accident Surgery, where he commenced his research into osteoarthritic pain. Within the field of osteoarthritic pain, his specialities are primarily in two quite diverse areas; quantified histological change in the osteoarthritic knee and measurement of pain thresholds. He is currently investigating the change in an individual’s sensitivity to pain evoked by exercise.

In addition to his pain related research he specializes in the biology of bone repair, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Having recently been awarded a Technology Strategy Board – EPSRC grant to develop nano-enabled intranasal delivery of PTH (1-34) for the treatment of osteoporosis. 

Find out more about Dr Richard Pearson 


Dr Anna Piccinini

Assistant Professor in Inflammation Biology, Faculty of Science

Anna PiccininiAnna joined the University of Nottingham in 2015 as Anne McLaren Fellow and is now Assistant Professor in Inflammation Biology in the School of Pharmacy. Her research has contributed to advances in the understanding of how endogenous inflammatory molecules that signal tissue damage drive pathological inflammation during chronic joint inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis (Imperial College London 2008-2011; University of Oxford 2011-2015). Recently, Anna has uncovered a novel regulatory mechanism by which molecules of the extracellular matrix, the major component of the cellular microenvironment, influence immune cell behaviour and response to infection by regulating microRNA biogenesis and, thus, inflammatory gene expression.

Her research interests include: posttranscriptional regulation of inflammatory gene expression, regulation of microRNA biogenesis by the extracellular matrix, innate immune response to injury and infection and macrophage biology and function. 

Find out more about Dr Anna Piccinini


Dr Stephen Ryder

Director of Research and Innovation, Nottingham University Hospitals

Stephen RyderSince June 1994 Dr Ryder has been a consultant Physician in Hepatology and Gastroenterology at the Nottingham Digestive Diseases Centre and Biomedical Research Unit. He became Director of Research and Innovation at Nottingham University Hospitals in April 2016.

His major clinical and research interest is hepatitis C infection and large clinical trials in hepatology. He was recognised as one of the leading recruiters to commercial clinical trials in the “NIHR at 10” awards. Dr Ryder was the national lead for the Hepatology Clinical Research Network until 2015 and is the East Midlands lead for Division 6 of the CRN.

He is currently Hepatology Vice President of the British Society of Gastroenterology.

He graduated from Nottingham University Medical School and trained in hepatology at St Mary’s Hospital and Kings College Hospital London. 

Find out more about Dr Stephen Ryder


Professor Brigitte Scammell

Professor in Orthopaedics, Faculty of Medicine & Health Science, Queen's Medical Centre

Bridgitte ScammellBrigitte is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon in adult foot and ankle surgery at The City Hospital, Nottingham and Professor of Orthopaedic Sciences at the University of Nottingham. She heads the Academic Orthopaedic Unit and is the Admissions Sub-Dean for the Faculty of Medicine. Her clinical interests are in adult orthopaedics, especially of the foot and ankle, with a particular emphasis on the reconstruction of severe deformity and treatment of infection in patients with diabetic foot disorders.

In 1996 she moved to the University of Nottingham as a Senior Lecturer. She became Head of the Division of Orthopaedic and Accident Surgery in 1999. Initially she concentrated on undergraduate education and went on to complete an MMedSci degree in clinical education at the university. She has dedicated much of her professional life to teaching and helping others realise their full potential, from medical students, supervision of BMedSci, DM and PhD students, to running Basic Science and Statistics courses for orthopaedic registrars. She was presented with a Lord Dearing Award in recognition of her teaching and learning excellence in 2004.

She is a founding member of the Pain Centre Versus Arthritis which opened in Nottingham in 2010 with a £2.5m grant and of the Versus Arthritis Sports, Exercise and Osteoarthritis Centre which started this year. In 2010 she was promoted to Professor, becoming the first woman in the UK to be a professor of orthopaedics. She is the Admissions Sub-Dean for the Faculty of Medicine and she continues to work for the NHS 50% of her time. 

Find out more about Professor Brigitte Scammell


Dr Mohsen (Seyed) Shahtaheri

Histology Technician, Rheumatology, City Hospital

Mohsen ShahtaheriMohsen works as Histology Technician for both the Pain Centre and the NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre. He undertakes qualitative, quantitative and semi-quantitative analysis as well as developing methods and techniques of protocols and training aids for histological processes.  He also trains students, academic staff and junior technicians in the use of histology equipment and techniques. 

Find out more about Dr Mohsen (Seyed) Shahtaheri


Dr Virginie Sottile

Associate Professor in Stem Cell Biology & Cell Differentiation, School of Medicine

V SottileVirginie is Associate Professor in the School of Medicine. Her group is part of the Wolfson STEM Centre, and works on tissue-derived stem cells to understand how these progenitor cells can be used to model and treat disease. The research focus of the group revolves around the control of cell differentiation, and the identification of molecular and environmental factors regulating fate decisions in progenitor cells. In particular, the group develops new bone and cartilage repair strategies based on the activation of resident progenitors to improve tissue repair and regeneration.

Virginie’s group uses in vitro models of osteogenic and chondrogenic differentiation in 2D and 3D, and collaborates with colleagues in the Advanced Materials Research Group and in the Orthopaedics Unit on novel products for bone and joint repair. The group also studies how neural progenitors respond to treatment or damage, for application in CNS modelling and repair. 


Dr Joanne Stocks

Assistant Professor in Sports And Exercise Medicine, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences

Joanne Stocks_001-02Joanne is Assistant Professor of Sports and Exercise Medicine in the Department of Academic Orthopedics, Trauma and Sports Medicine.

Jo is currently working on a number of projects including a collaboration with the OA Trial Bank to identify placebo responders and predictors of response to osteoarthritis treatment using individual patient data, and a clinical trial to investigate responders to topical treatments for painful knee osteoarthritis.  

Find out more about Dr Joanne Stocks


Dr Michael Stocks

Pharmacy, University Park

Michael StocksMichael is a synthetic medicinal chemist with a PhD in organic chemistry and has over 20 years' experience in preclinical drug discovery in the pharmaceutical industry through his careers at Fisons’ Pharmaceuticals, Astra AB and then AstraZeneca. He has worked in most areas of medicinal chemistry concentrating recent efforts on GPCR-based drug discovery projects. In April 2012, he made the transition into academia and was appointed as Associate Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and is head of the division of Biomolecular Science & Medicinal Chemistry within the School of Pharmacy based in the Centre for Biomolecular Sciences.

His research interests centre on pre-clinical drug discovery and the investigation of novel drug delivery systems thus building on his expertise from working in the pharmaceutical industry designing novel, high quality drug-like chemical starting points to allow translational investigation of new biological mechanisms. Specific therapeutic target areas of interest are in GPCR-based drug discovery - for example designing novel antagonists of the chemokine CCR5 receptor for indications in HIV and oncology and using chemical biology methods to design and synthesise molecular probes to unravel cell signalling pathways in, for example, the challenging purinergic P2Y receptor area to enable initiation of new drug discovery projects in areas of unmet medical need. 

Find out more about Dr Michael Stocks 


Dr Ana Valdes 

Associate Professor and Reader, Medicine, City Hospital

Ana Valdes photoAna Valdes is a genetic epidemiologist with extensive expertise in osteoarthritis and other complex diseases.  She is currently investigating the links between exercise, sleep, cognition and OA pain and within this the role of microbiome, nutrition and metabolic factors that contribute to pain in OA.  Understanding these components is key to unravel the discordance between structural disease and pain presence and severity in osteoarthritis and for advancing clinical management of osteoarthritis. 

Find out more about Dr Ana Valdes


Michel Valstar

Professor, Faculty of Science

Michel Valstar smiling at the cameraMichel Valstar is a researcher in Automatic Visual Understanding of Human Behaviour. This encompasses Machine Learning, Computer Vision, and a good idea of how people behave in this world.

He studies the relation between medical conditions and expressive behaviour, and what role affective computing and social signal processing can have to help diagnose, monitor, or treat these conditions. (Behaviomedics).

Find out more about Michel Valstar


Professor Kavita Vedhara 

Professor of Health Psychology, Medicine, Queen's Medical Centre

Kavita VedharaKavita is a health psychologist with expertise in experimental and applied research examining the diverse ways psychological factors influence health and disease outcomes and the development of psychological interventions to improve these outcomes. This research has included investigations into the effects of psychological interventions on disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis; the placebo effect in pain and interventions to promote medication adherence. 

Find out more about Professor Kavita Vedhara 


Professor David Walsh

Director, Pain Centre Versus Arthritis, Honorary Consultant Rheumatologist

David WalshDavid Walsh is Professor of Rheumatology at the University of Nottingham and Consultant Rheumatologist at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, where he directs the Back Pain Unit which provides diagnostic assessment and multidisciplinary Pain Management Programmes for people with chronic low back pain. In 2010 he established the Pain Centre Versus Arthritis in Nottingham, together with a multidisciplinary research team including preclinical neurosciences, psychology, neuroimaging, orthopaedics and evidence synthesis. The Centre aims to develop new and improved treatments through a translational research programme into the mechanisms by which changes within the joint and in the nervous system interact with psychosocial factors to produce arthritis pain.

His preclinical research has focused on structural changes that contribute to joint pain, in particular angiogenesis, nerve growth and inflammation in the synovium and subchondral bone. His clinical research is defining the spectrum of pain phenotypes in people with arthritis based on underlying pain mechanisms, in order to better target treatments to those most likely to benefit. He is Phenotyping Research Area Lead for the Musculoskeletal research theme of the NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre.  

Find out more about Professor David Walsh


Deborah Wilson

Specialist Nurse, Rheumatology Research, Kings Mill Hospital Sherwood Forest Hospital's NHS Foundation Trust

Deborah WilsonDebbie is a Specialist research nurse working at Sherwood Forest Hospitals. 

She is a member of the Trust’s R&D committee and Clinical ethics committee, Coordinator of the Tissue repository at SFH and responsible for the consent process. 






Dr Steve Woodhams 

Post-doctoral Researcher, School of Life Sciences

Steve WoodhamsSteve is a Research Fellow studying spinal mechanisms of arthritis pain in pre-clinical models. Steve completed a Neuroscience MSci at the University of Nottingham and followed onto a PhD with a focus on studying spinal cord mechanisms of pain. He then undertook a 5 year post-doctoral position at the Institute of Experimental Medicine in Budapest, Hungary, where he learned complementary anatomical techniques, including super-resolution microscopy.

Now back at the Pain Centre Versus Arthritis, Steve is combining expertise in behavioural, physiological, and anatomical approaches to further study the intricate changes in central neuronal circuitry which underlie arthritic chronic pain states. 

Find out more about Dr Steve Woodhams


Dr Laura Wyatt

Research Fellow, Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis Research Versus Arthritis

Laura WyattLaura is a Research Fellow in the Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis Research Versus Arthritis. Laura is currently the study manager and Principal Investigator at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust on the multi-centre Significant Ankle Ligament Injury (SALI) cohort study. The SALI study seeks to identify the prevalence and risk factors for incomplete recovery of normal function and poor patient reports outcome measures following significant ankle injury.  In addition to identifying the incidence, and individual risk factors for the development of ankle OA following significant ankle injury.

Laura undertook her PhD within the Pain Centre Versus Arthritis and graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2015.  Her thesis investigated structural associations of symptomatic knee osteoarthritis. Laura's research interests include causes of pain in osteoarthritis and risk factors for poor patient reported outcomes. 

Find out more about Dr Laura Wyatt


Professor Weiya Zhang 

Professor in Musculoskeletal Epidemiology, Medicine, City Hospital campus

Weiya Zhang photoWeiya qualified as a Bachelor of Medicine (BMed) 1978-1983, and Master of Epidemiology (MEpi) 1983-1986 from Sichuan University Medical School. He received his PhD in Evidence Based Medicine in 1997 from the University of Nottingham. He was jointly funded scholar by the Chinese Education Ministry and British council Technology Scheme and honorary research officer in the WHO MONICA Belfast 1991-1992, research fellow and course tutor 1997-2002 in Aston University.  He took up a Senior Lectureship from the University of Nottingham in 2002, became Associate Professor and Reader in 2005, then Professor of Epidemiology since 2015.

Weiya is the Research Lead of the Division of Rheumatology, Orthopaedics and Dermatology, and the Head of the Evidence Based Medicine Group in the Pain Centre Versus Arthritis. He has led the development of the European evidence based recommendations for osteoarthritis, gout and CPPD, and the Osteoarthritis Research Society International Treatment Guidelines. He was a member of the NICE osteoarthritis Clinical Guideline Development Committee, a member of the British Society of Rheumatology Gout Working Group, a member of the Versus Arthritis Fellowship Implementation Committee.  He is an Associate Editor of BMC Rheumatology and an Editorial Board Member of Osteoarthritis & Cartilage. He has published over 200 papers with a H index of 71 (Google Scholar 16 Dec 2019). 

Find out more about Professor Weiya Zhang


Administration team

Bonnie Millar

Musculoskeletal Project Manager, NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre MSK Communications Lead and Recruitment Co-ordinator for the Pain Centre

Bonnie MillarBonnie Millar is the Musculoskeletal Project Manager for the NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre, NIHR
Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre MSK Communications Lead and Recruitment Co-ordinator for the Pain Centre Versus Arthritis. Bonnie holds a B.A and M.A. from Trinity College Dublin and a M.A. and PhD. from the University of Nottingham.

She joined the NIHR Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit in 2014 to work on the QUIET-1 clinical trial, co-ordinating recruitment and trial activities. In 2016-7 Bonnie brought together her expertise in critical theory, research methodology, textual analysis and audit to facilitate the transfer of research data pertaining to studies conducted within the Tinnitus etiology and management research area into a single research data repository. In addition she has a proven record in scoping reviews, working as part of the Clinical Hearing Sciences team on literature reviews pertaining to Cisplatin and Carboplatin induced ototoxicity.

Currently, she is co-ordinating a number of musculoskeletal and osteoarthritis studies, including the Investigating Musculoskeletal Health and Wellbeing Cohort Study. Bonnie is actively involved in disability studies, medical humanities, story-telling for health and qualitative research.  

Find out more about Bonnie Millar






Pain Centre Versus Arthritis

Clinical Sciences Building
City Hospital
Nottingham, NG5 1PB

telephone: +44 (0) 115 823 1766 ext 31766
fax: +44 (0) 115 823 1757