Here we are again – summer time on top of the world and with the mercury due to top 44C this week, we are well and truly gearing up for scorching days and balmy nights, beach cricket, home-made lemonade and plenty of bubbles. We will be on what I call ‘skeleton presence’ from Christmas Eve until late January. So, as is customary here at BiM, let’s look back on 2013 and forward to 2014.
For the fourth time running, I have completed a year of feeling honoured to be a part of something really good here at BiM. I look at what we have done, and, more importantly, the way we have done it, and I reckon it goes a long way to ticking our own values-based boxes. We are very well supported by the University of South Australia and I am grateful for the opportunity to live and work in such a lovely place. Four years into BiM and our team is starting to change as PhDs and fellowships finish and new ones begin. Dr Luke Parkitny is shortly off to Stanford, with a PhD in hand, to take up a prestigious IASP post-doctoral fellowship. Flavia is on the mad dash to PhD submission. Mark is on track to submit in March and will then be coordinating the world-class pain sciences programme here at the University of South Australia. Jacki will take her first class honours into a very lucky physiotherapy practice, and Emily will put hers on the wall next to her desk (she is staying on – hoorah!) Cassie got the highest thesis mark in her year but is also staying on (hoorah again!) Helen is returning to the UK despite all my attempts to convince her to stay and Abby will make a final swing-by for a few months in 2014, also declining my offer of permanent citizenship and complementary Ashes tickets. We have been joined by Danny, Mohammad, Luzia, Ernest, Hopin, Markus, Cassie and Adrian. We look forward to welcoming Kerwin (our first podiatrist and on a posh Australian government award), Emma (an outstanding clinician on a Royal Adelaide Hospital grant) and Tim (an Explaining Pain veteran making the switch to the research world – lucky us!) We will have visits from Mark Jensen, Johan Vlaeyen, Ann Meulders, Daniela Peto and Leslie Russek.
In 2013, Hopin was awarded an Australian government Post-graduate Award and Adrian an NHMRC PhD Scholarship – these are posh and deserve their proper noun status. Tory, Tasha, Jane, Luke, Eva, Dan and Mark won grants to assist their study, research or travel. Carolyn, Tasha, Dan, Luke, Flavia, Mark, Laura & James gave invited lectures. Dan spent three months in Leuven, Belgium, with Ann Meulders and Johan Vlaeyen, and Flavia spent a month in Griefswald, Germany with Martin Lotze’s group. Jane’s paper in the Journal of Pain was the journal’s third most downloaded paper of the year and Flavia won the very excellent TOW Award for her work on S1 representations in CRPS and Valeria was runner-up in the Royal Society Prize. Dan and Mark both won Chancellor’s Awards for Experimental Research and Sarah showed courage beyond her years, and her peers, by telling me that my cycling shorts were just a bit transparent.
In 2013, our research group published 26 articles, gave 31 conference presentations and gained AU$1.5 million in competitive grant funding. Bodyinmind.org extended its editorial network – we were thrilled to have some of the brightest young minds on the planet take up Section Editor roles – our very own Tasha Stanton, as well as Giando Iannetti, Mick Thacker, Claudia Campbell, Neil O’Connell, Katja Wiech and Alberto Gallace. We have provided, free of charge and direct to your inbox, Facebook account or mobile device, 100 blog posts, 54 of which were written by guests, from 13 countries and numerous disciplines. We remain the most influential web/social media presence in the Clinical Pain Sciences, with a KLOUT score of 62, up from 54 a year ago. We also showed that blogging your research on BiM increases downloads and page views of the original article, with an effect size of about 1.
We have established PainAdelaide, a cross-institution interdisciplinary collaboration between scientists, clinicians and policy makers, that aims to tackle the world’s most burdensome health issue – chronic pain. Our first meeting – PainAdelaide 2013 (possibly the best little pain meeting in the world), was a hit, with Johan Vlaeyen, Katja Wiech, Alberto Gallace and a gaggle of local experts discussing their work. PainAdelaide 2014 will be at least as big with Mark Jensen, Ann Meulders, Neil O’Connell, Mac Christie and Michael Nicholas flying in. We are quickly establishing Adelaide as an important centre for the Clinical Pain Sciences and we aim to keep it going with more Monday Night Neuroscience (thanks Carolyn for this excellent initiative), the PainAdelaide Challenge Ride (a reincarnation of the very successful Ride for Pain), collaborative research and public lectures throughout the year.
I for one very much look forward to 2014 and take this opportunity to publicly thank the Body in mind research team for their commitment to quality, community and a values-driven process, and to thank all of you who are reading this for supporting our vision and for pursuing better outcomes for people in pain. We really do face a grand challenge, but the discoveries we have each year and the ongoing contributions from you, the wide community of True Believers, keep me very hopeful that it is a challenge we should continue to tackle.
Whatever your reason for a holiday, have a safe, happy and restful one.
Lorimer Moseley is NHMRC Senior Research Fellow with twenty years clinical experience working with people in pain. After spending some time as a Nuffield Medical Research Fellow at Oxford University he returned to Australia in 2009 to take up an NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA). In 2011, he was appointed Professor of Clinical Neurosciences & the Inaugural Chair in Physiotherapy at the University of South Australia, Adelaide. He runs the Body in Mind research groups. He is the only Clinical Scientist to have knocked over a water tank tower in Outback Australia.