About the Good Life Series
The Good Life Series is a program of talks by Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts that will give you the tools to get most out of life.Taking a holistic view of health, wealth, well-being and lifestyle, these talks will also cover everything from fitness, health, travel, recreation, volunteering and financial and legal matters. If you’d like to see a particular topic covered, let us know.
NeuRA (Neuroscience Research Australia) is a leading research institute whose vision is to prevent and cure disease and disability of the brain and nervous system.
About the Guest Speakers
James McAuley, Senior Research Scientist
Dr James McAuley is a psychologist, senior research scientist at NeuRA and A/Prof in the School of Medical Sciences at UNSW. James completed his PhD at Brunel University, London (2002) investigating psychological influences on chronic low back pain. After immigrating to Australia in 2004 he took up a post doc at the University of Sydney and then at the George Institute for Global Health.
In 2010 he moved to NeuRA where he set up the Pain Research Education and Management (PREM) program. In 2017 James was appointed as A/Prof to the Exercise Physiology department at UNSW.
James’ research combines experimental, clinical and translational methods to develop and test new interventions to manage low back pain. He has published 135 articles in general medical journals such as the Lancet, the BMJ, Annals of Internal Medicine and PLoS Medicine. He has an H-index of 42 and is the third most productive researcher in his field. He holds over $3.5M in research funding, and has given invited presentations at 7 national conferences and 7 international scientific meetings in the last 5 years. James has supervised 17 PhD students and mentored 4 postdocs. In 2015 James founded the NSW network for pain PhD students/ECRs (SPRiNG). He is the current chair of the back pain group of STREAM Health and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Group (SAG) for the Australian and New Zealand Musculoskeletal Clinical Trials Network (ANZMUSC).
Matthew Bagg, Physiotherapist and Scientist
Matthew Bagg is a clinical scientist completing his doctorate on the RESOLVE Trial. A major theme in his research is meta-analysis, which combines the results of studies in order to provide more information than is possible from a single study. Matt has used meta-analysis to understand the effect of low back pain on brain structure and biochemistry.
Using network meta-analysis, Matt’s research also aims to establish which medications for low back pain are most effective and best tolerated. This series of studies will use published clinical trial information to create a hierarchy of medicines to guide clinical decision-making.
Edel O’Hagan, Physiotherapist and Scientist
Edel O’Hagan is an experienced clinical physiotherapist and early career researcher. Her clinical career over 15 years has included roles in the public and private settings in Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. Edel completed her Research Masters at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), Sydney in 2016 with Dr James McAuley and Dr Markus Huebscher. Edel’s research includes the first systematic review of hypnotics for postoperative pain, which identified that hypnotics should be considered for the management of postoperative pain. She completed a cohort study which has shown that reduced slow wave sleep (SWS) is associated with subsequent high pain intensity and worse sleep quality for the same night. She conducted a pilot randomised controlled trial of a hypnotic for acute low back pain which identified recruitment barriers to address in a large trial.
Edel’s research has been presented at national (APS) and major international conferences (International Low Back and Neck Pain Forum, International Association for the Study of Pain).
Her more recent research concerns the attitudes and beliefs of health care professionals and the general public toward treatment selection in patients presenting with low back pain.
Aidan Cashin, Exercise Physiologist and Scientist
Aidan Cashin is a PhD Candidate at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA). A member of the pain research group headed by Dr James McAuley, his research deals with investigating the mechanisms of treatments for chronic low back pain. He is also interested in increasing the openness and transparency of research and is involved in developing a reporting guideline for mechanisms evaluation studies.
Prior to commencing research, Aidan pursued a successful clinical career as an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, practicing primarily in the field of chronic musculoskeletal pain. Within his clinical practice, Aidan mentors undergraduate exercise physiology students and co-investigated a pilot study investigating the effects of physical activity levels on outcomes for patients following spinal surgery. Aidan also has a casual academic position at the University of New South Wales, within the School of Medical sciences and is involved in the teaching and evaluating of undergraduate exercise physiology students.