Arthritis Research UK Pain Centre

Research team

The Centre provides a synergistic research environment within which postdoctoral scientists from a wide range of preclinical and clinical disciplines are advancing our understanding of arthritis pain.

Members of our research team:

  • Hannah Carpenter, Research Fellow
  • Thomas Kurien, Academic Clinical Fellow


Former members:

  • Simon Clarke, Clinical Psychologist
  • Yu Fu, Translational Research Facilitator
  • Paul Mapp, Research Fellow
  • James Burston, Research Fellow
  • Devi Sagar, Research Fellow
Hannah Carpenter
Commenced:  September 2014.   Supervisor:  Prof Eamonn Ferguson
Hannah's systematic review is exploring the association between depression and pain in people with knee osteoarthritis (OA). Many research studies have found that as people's levels of knee OA pain increase, so do their levels of depression. Hannah's review seeks to synthesise the existing research on this area to quantify the strength of this association. In addition, Hannah is delivering the cognitive behavior therapy intervention to participants on the HappiKnees feasibility randomised controlled trial. The aim of the trial is to evaluate the acceptability of the intervention in improving outcomes following total knee replacement for people with OA.    


Knee Pain Image
Thomas Kurien
Commenced:  August 2011.  Supervisor:  Professor Brigitte Scammell.

Tom is currently undertaking a PhD within the ARUK Pain Centre using QST and fMRI to assess the role of central sensitisation of pain pre and post total knee replacement. He is working with Professor Scammell and Professor Auer and has just started this project as part of his three year degree. He has a background of research, having completed the Academic Foundation Programme in Nottingham and  recently won the INSPIRE grant from the Wellcome Trust to further his research ideas within the University.


Previous members 


Simon Clarke

Dates: Jan 2012 - March 2015

Title: Clinical Psychologist

Simon worked as a research clinical psychologist. He obtained a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Salmons, Canterbury Christ Church University in 2009. He worked in the Institute for Work, Health and Organisations for the Arthritis Reserach UK Pain Centre at the University of Nottingham and also at Pain Mangement Suite at Kings Mill Hospital, Sutton in Ashfield for Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust. Simon developed a programme of clinically-relevant research looking at the impact of pscyhological factors and psychologically-based treament interventions on patients' experience of chronic pain. His research interests included: the development and evaluation of psychological treatments for arthritis and chronic pain through RCTs and practice-based evidence; the measurement of mood disorders in chronic pain populations; service user involvement in evaluating health services; and the impact of cognitive/emotional factors on pain perception. 


Paul Mapp

Dates: March 2010 - March 2016

Title: Research Fellow

Nerve fibre growth and inflammation are physiological processes that are important in the pathologies of many diseases. Paul's program of research into OA focussed on mechanisms and consequences of pain and joint damage in osteoarthritis. Inflammation is now recognised as a characteristic of osteoarthritis and macrophages are a key part of this process. Macrophages that are classically activated (M1) produce mediators which may sensitise nerve fibres and so increase pain behavior. Alternatively activated macrophages (M2) are thought to facilitate tissue repair. Thus, Paul developed methodologies to determine the number and activation state, M1 or M2, of macrophages within the joint may influence both the disease process and the perception of pain.



Devi Sagar

Dates: March 2010 - May 2016

Title: Research Fellow

Devi was appointed to investigate the role of the spinal cord in pain associated with osteoarthritis (OA). Devi's experience centres on models of chronic pain, using electrophysiological and behavioural techniques to look at alterations in nociceptive processing in models of OA with a view to identifying novel targets for analgesia. Recent work has demonstrated activation of spinal glial cells (doi: 10.1002/art.27698) and enhanced spinal neuronal excitability (doi: 10.1186/1744-8069-7-88) in a rat model of osteoarthritis, reminiscent of central sensitivity seen in OA patients.  She has also been investigating the role of endocannabinoids in OA, and how drugs acting via this system can alter neuronal responses in the monosodium iodoacetate model of OA pain.  Her current work looks at the role of the bone in OA pain and how altering bone turnover can impact on pain behaviour.

Yu Fu_ID photo

Yu Fu

Dates: Sep 2015 - March 2016

Title: Translational Research Facilitator

Yu was the Centre's Translational Research Facilitator for the Pain Centre. Her first degree is in medicine; she has a Master in public health and a PhD in the self-management of long term conditions (LTCs). Yu’s research focuses on pain assessment and management, the development of self-management interventions for people with LTCs, the association between LTCs and psychological disorders, interactions between patients and health professionals, and quality of life for patients with LTCs. Her research in these areas has identified that a good patient-professional partnership is positively associated with the self-management of chronic back pain. Yu used mixed method approachs (systematic reviews and meta-analyses, RCTs, observational studies, grounded theory etc.) to support her research.




James Burston

Dates: March 2010 - February 2017

Title: Research Fellow

James was appointed to investigate mechanisms of central sensitization in models of osteoarthritic (OA) pain. His current projects aim to identify new therapeutic targets for the treatment of OA related pain using a combination of complementary techniques including, behavioural pharmacology, immunofluorescence, novel imaging approaches, real time PCR and zymography. To date he (in collaboration with other members of the Pain Centre) has shown that spinal glia cells contribute to chronic pain behaviour in the monosodium iodoacetate (MIA) model of osteoarthritic pain (doi: 10.1186/1744-8069-7-88). More recently, he has been investigating the role of the cannabinoid system in the MIA model of OA pain. In addition to above work he is interested in examining differences in pain processing between the different animal models of OA, and to examine how these compare to changes that occur in OA patients. More recently he has collaborated with colleagues in the school of pharmacy to help develop a new imaging technique (DOI: 10.1039/C2AN35430F), that could be applied to study changes in lipid profiles induced by OA. Besides research activities, he is involved in mentoring and co-supervising a number of students, both at the undergraduate and graduate level as well as teaching activities within the school of health and life sciences.









Arthritis Research UK Pain Centre

Clinical Sciences Building
City Hospital
Nottingham, NG5 1PB

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