About us

Meet our team members

Monash Musculoskeletal Research Unit consists of a growing team of researchers, research assistants, higher degree students and collaborators. Our team is involved in multiple randomised controlled trials evaluating interventions for musculoskeletal disorders, telerehabilitation and laboratory research integrating imaging, biomechanics, wearable sensor technology and neurophysiological techniques. Our research projects involve national and international collaborations. Find out more about our team members.

A/Prof Peter Malliaras, Co-director, MMRU

Associate Professor Peter Malliaras is a physiotherapist and clinical researcher. His practice focuses on the management of people with lower limb tendinopathy and he has an international reputation in this area. He has been active in tendinopathy research for over 15 years. He has published a substantial amount of related original research (>120 publications) which has led to changes in practice via guideline development and invited narrative clinical reviews published in high-impact clinical journals. His current research focus is on understanding exercise mechanisms and improving exercise and education interventions for common and troublesome tendinopathies, primarily rotator cuff-related shoulder pain, Achilles and patellar tendinopathy.

Dr Luke Perraton, Co-director, MMRU

Dr Luke Perraton is an Australian Physiotherapy Association titled sports and exercise and musculoskeletal physiotherapist and a physiotherapy educator and researcher in the department of Physiotherapy at Monash University. He has a special interest in knee and anterior cruciate ligament injuries and mechanisms of neuromuscular control following knee injury/surgery. He has published >40 peer reviewed journal articles on the management and diagnosis of injuries, pain, orthopaedic surgery and exercise interventions. Luke developed and leads the @MonashMRU podcast team to help translate musculoskeletal research for clinicians.

  Dr Alessandro Garofolini

Dr Alessandro Garofolini is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the IHES at Victoria University and a collaborator within the Monash Musculoskeletal Research Unit. His studies focus on biomechanics and motor control with an interest in understanding if movement coordination is controlled by the nervous system or intrinsically embodied in the physical structure of our bodies. He has published >20 peer reviewed journal articles. He employs anatomical, biomechanical, and motor control experiments to better understand voluntary movement control and its physiological basis, generating new knowledge to improve theoretical as well as practical applications in the areas of motor learning, rehabilitation, and assistive technologies.
  Dr Peter Nicklen

Dr Peter Nicklen is a physiotherapist and physiotherapy educator and researcher in the Department of Physiotherapy at Monash University. Clinically, Peter has experience with a wide range of musculoskeletal and sporting presentations, with a special interest in complex pain and spine and lower limb conditions. Peter's PhD explored blended learning within physiotherapy education. His more recent research has focused on the management of tendinopathies, in particular gluteal and rotator cuff related shoulder pain.

  Dr Melanie Farlie

Dr Melanie Farlie is a physiotherapist with clinical experience primarily in the field of gerontology, a health professional educator and researcher.  Currently Lecturer & Unit Coordinator (PTY4282) in the Physiotherapy Department at Monash University, Melanie is also a titled Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) Research Physiotherapist and an Associate Fellow of the Australian & New Zealand Association of Health Professional Educators (ANZAHPE).

Clinically Melanie has provided physiotherapy services for adults in acute, subacute, community, and residential care settings, and developed research experience in balance exercise intensity measurement, scale development, Rasch analysis, and Interpretive Description.

Current Monash Musculoskeletal Research Unit HDR students

  Fernando Sousa

Project title: Telehealth for people with rotator cuff tendinopathy: implementation and adherence to exercise and advice

Higher degree: PhD
Year commenced: 2022
PT or FT: Full time
Location: Monash University, Victoria, Australia

About Fernando: Fernando is a physiotherapist and PhD student in the Department of Physiotherapy at Monash University. He completed a Master’s by Research in Physical Education and has experience in musculoskeletal pain field. His research interests are focused on the assessment and management of musculoskeletal conditions such as tendinopathies. His PhD research will investigate the adherence and implementation of a telerehabilitation strategy for people with rotator cuff tendinopathy.

  Andy Smythe

Project title: Creation, validation and evaluation of an interactive website testing rotator cuff related pain

Higher degree: PhD
Year commenced: 2021
PT or FT: Part time
Location: Mackay, Queensland, Australia

About Andy: Andy is a sports physiotherapist and PhD student in the Department of Physiotherapy at Monash University. He has previously worked with Hockey Victoria, Hockey Queensland, Australian soccer team Melbourne City and worked with the boxing and squash teams at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Currently, Andy works clinically in Mackay and works part time consulting with sporting organisations. Outside of sport he has a keen interest in the management of shoulder injuries. This interest led him to his PhD which aims to develop resources to help people manage shoulder pain.

  Jaryd Bourke

Project title: Heel lifts and Achilles tendinopathy

Higher degree: PhD
Year commenced: 2021
PT or FT: Part time
Location: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

About Jaryd: Jaryd is a podiatrist and PhD student in the Department of Physiotherapy at Monash University with a special interest in strength and conditioning and the management of Achilles tendinopathy. His PhD is investigating the effects different heel lifts (height and density) on patient outcomes in people with Achilles tendinopathy.

  Josh Naunton

Project title: Should patients with rotator cuff tendinopathy be lifting heavier and smarter?

Higher degree: PhD Candidate
Year commenced: 2019
PT or FT: Full time
Location: Bendigo, Victoria, Australia

About Josh: Josh is an experienced APA titled Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist and PhD candidate in the Department of Physiotherapy at Monash University. He has experience working privately, as an advanced practice physiotherapist (Emergency Department and Musculoskeletal) and in national level sport. He has a strong passion for best practice care in musculoskeletal and sports injury management. He is particularly interested in seeing high value care delivered for patients and improved outcomes for people with rotator cuff tendinopathy.

  Tim Trevail

Project title: Searching for the Goldilocks zone: understanding daily physical activity workloads in persistent greater trochanteric pain syndrome

Higher degree: PhD
Year commenced: 2019
PT or FT: Part time

About Tim: Tim is an adjunct research associate with Monash University. His PhD project is exploring the associations of physical activity with patient-reported pain, quality of life, disability, and objectively measured functional outcomes for people living with greater trochanteric pain syndrome. Clinically, his background in the UK and Australia has focused on sporting populations, with a more recent clinical interest in persistent tendon pain where he focuses on helping people to lead more active lives.

  Yanran Jiang

Project title: Understanding and classifying fatigue through machine learning/deep learning techniques

Higher degree: PhD
Year commenced: 2019
PT or FT: Full time
Location: Monash University, Victoria, Australia

About Yanran: Yanran is a PhD student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Monash University. Her PhD research focuses on developing and applying algorithms to predict human motion and exercise-related fatigue levels. Her research interests include human motion analysis, machine learning, deep learning, and rehabilitation.

  Pat Vallance

Project title: Pain and motor neurophysiological function in lower limb locomotive tendinopathies

Higher degree: PhD
Year commenced: 2018
PT or FT: Part time
Location: Monash University, Victoria, Australia

About Pat: Pat is an experienced physiotherapist and physiotherapy educator in the Department of Physiotherapy at Monash University. Pat is also a research associate at the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Digital Transformation of Health. Pat’s PhD research is supervised by A/Prof Peter Malliaras, Dr Dawson Kidgell and Prof Bill Vicenzino (University of Queensland). His research uses advanced neurophysiological techniques to investigate whether pain and motor neurophysiological function is altered in people with lower limb tendinopathies.

Joel Martin

Project title: The biomechanical measurement of hopping in the recreational runner with Achilles tendinopathy.

Higher degree: PhD
Year commenced: 2019
PT or FT: PT
Location: Clayton/Peninsula

About Joel: Joel is a physiotherapist and PhD student in the department of physiotherapy at Monash University. Clinically, Joel works predominantly with patients with lower-limb running-related injuries including tendinopathy. Joel has an interest in understanding the mechanisms that cause Achilles tendon pain, particularly in runners, and the treatment options to manage this condition. Joel has experience working in the sporting setting, large-scale research projects and biomechanical gait analysis labs, and uses these experiences to help guide his current research interests and clinical practice.

Eman Merza

Project title: Is Achilles tendinopathy reversible?

Higher degree: PhD
Year commenced: 2019
PT or FT: PT
Location: Clayton

About Eman: Eman is a full time PhD student in the department of physiotherapy at Monash University. Eman’s PhD research is investigating how different doses of acute isometric loading affect biomechanical properties of the Achilles tendon in people with Achilles tendinopathy. She is also investigating factors that could influence or predict rehabilitation outcomes.

Sanam Tavakkoli Oskouei

Project title: The Contribution of Mechanical properties of Achilles tendon and Sensorimotor Characteristics on Balance and Mobility in Non-Athletic People with Achilles Tendinopathy.

Higher degree: PhD
Year commenced: 2019
PT or FT: FT
Location: Clayton

About Sanam: Sanam is a physiotherapist and PhD student in the department of physiotherapy at Monash University. Her research focus is on understanding the influence of calf muscle impairments on function in people with Achilles tendinopathy by studying sensorimotor and tendon mechanical properties, balance, and physical activity. Sanam’s PhD research also includes novel methods for remote monitoring of pain and load related to physical activity and their influence on rehabilitation outcomes.

  Baraa Alsulaimani

Project title: Immediate and short-term effects of radial extracorporeal shockwave therapy on insertional Achilles tendinopathy.

Higher degree: PhD
Year commenced: 2019
PT or FT: FT

About Baraa: Baraa is a physiotherapist and PhD student in the department of physiotherapy at Monash University. His PhD research is centred around a large clinical trial investigating the effects of extracorporeal shockwave therapy on clinical outcomes for people with insertional Achilles tendinopathy.

Overseas students

  Diego Ruffino

Higher degree: PhD
Year commenced: 2017
PT or FT: Part time
Location: Córdoba, Argentina

About Diego: Diego is a physiotherapist and professor in the School of Physiotherapy at Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (Argentina), and he has a special interest in managing tendinopathy and pain. His PhD research focuses on a large clinical trial investigating the efficacy of inertial flywheel and heavy slow resistance training on clinical outcomes for people with patellar tendinopathy.

Igor Sancho

Project title: Development of a novel approach to treating recreational runners with Achilles tendinopathy

Higher degree: PhD
Year commenced: 2016
PT or FT: PT
Location: San Sebastian, Spain

About Igor: Igor is an experienced physiotherapist and PhD student at Queen Mary University of London supervised by Dr Peter Malliaras and Dr Dylan Morrissey. Igor combines clinical work in his own clinic in San Sebastian with teaching within the Physiotherapy Department of the University of Deusto. He has a special interest in the management of Achilles tendinopathy in active people and his PhD research is investigating how to improve current rehabilitation programs in recreational runners with Achilles tendinopathy.