ANZCA grant to further research chronic pain management

Professor Peter Drummond, Professor Eric Visser and Associate Professor Philip Finch received an ANZCA Grant to conduct further studies on chronic pain management and patient treatment.

18 November 2016

Professor Eric Visser, Churack Chair of Chronic Pain Education and Research at The University of Notre Dame Australia, is part of a research team to receive an ANZCA Academic Enhancement Grant of nearly $100,000 to conduct further studies on chronic pain management and patient treatment.

Professor Visser, and Professor Peter Drummond and Associate Professor Philip Finch from Murdoch University, will use the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) grant to create a flagship post-doctoral research position at Murdoch University’s pain research centre known as The Churack Post-Doctoral Pain Research Fellowship.

“The position will not only contribute to the advanced pain research program at Murdoch, but will also underpin the new research/education programs of Notre Dame’s Churack Chair, particularly in basic pain neurosciences,” Professor Visser said.

A major research focus of the pain research centre is to clarify the involvement of the sympathetic nervous system in complex regional pain syndrome. The grant, from the ANZCA Research Foundation, aims to further this research with a specific focus on:

  • looking for pain targets in tissue samples taken from the site of chronic pain;
  • clarifying the role of these pain targets under tightly controlled cell culture conditions in terms of inflammatory processes that might contribute to pain; and
  • determining whether similar processes can be identified in healthy human participants.

“Chronic pain is a major cause of worldwide suffering and for many patients the mechanisms that drive their pain are poorly understood and effective therapies are therefore often lacking. Identifying these mechanisms is crucial for the advancement of pain management and the development of new treatments for certain forms of intractable pain,” Professor Visser said.

“By providing access to technical expertise, research facilities and equipment at Murdoch University, there will be opportunities for medical, health and science graduates and, specifically, ANZCA and Faculty of Pain Management (FPM) trainees and Fellows, to complete a Master or Doctor of Philosophy in Pain Research at Notre Dame or Murdoch under the direction of staff from both universities.

“With the involvement of the Churack Chair, these studies will establish a strong base upon which to build a distinctive and clinically relevant research program across Notre Dame and Murdoch universities and links with ANZCA and the FPM.”

Through the generosity of Geoff and Moira Churack and their family, the Churack Chair of Chronic Pain Education and Research was launched by Notre Dame in 2013 to reduce the impact of chronic pain in the community through research and the education of medical students in the area of chronic pain management.

For more information about the Churack Chair at The University of Notre Dame Australia, including research projects, educational resources and how to donate, please visit

Leigh Dawson: Tel (08) 9433 0569; Mob 0405 441 093;