Adelaide Spinal Research Group

Our research aims to understand how the spine functions, how it is injured, and to devise and test methods to prevent and repair injuries.

The Adelaide Spinal Research Group is a team of experienced clinicians, engineers and scientists. Our multidisciplinary program of clinical, biomechanics and basic science research seeks to better understand the normal, diseased and injured spine and spinal cord. Our current areas of research are:

  • dislocation and fracture mechanisms of the cervical and lumbar spine
  • biomechanics of neurotrauma (spinal cord injury and brain injury)
  • musculoskeletal modelling for estimating spinal loads
  • strategies for reducing lower back pain associated with every day activities
  • cadaveric models to investigate spinal cord injury mechanisms
  • use of medical imaging for quantitative description of spinal injury
  • neck injury criteria used for crashworthiness testing
  • spine simulation in paramedic mannequins
  • spinal immobilisation for first responders
  • design and testing orthopaedic implants
  • mechanical behaviour of tissues related to skeletal maturation
  • surgical strategies for rotator cuff repair
  • tibial plateau fracture fixation

Our research uses a variety of in vitro and in vivo laboratory techniques and medical imaging modalities involving cadaveric, pre-clinical and computational models—as well as volunteer participants. It is undertaken in clinical settings, in state-of-the art biomechanics laboratories and in a pre-clinical surgical and imaging facility. 

We have local and international collaborations with researchers and clinicians from the main hospitals and universities in Adelaide, and with universities in Canada.

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  • Lead researchers

    Professor Brian Freeman

    Professor Brian Freeman is an orthopaedic surgeon with interests in both paediatric and adult spinal surgery. He is Head of Spinal Services at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and Professor of Spinal Surgery at the University of Adelaide. In 2012, he was appointed Research Director at the Adelaide Centre for Spinal Research and co-director of the Centre for Orthopaedic and Trauma Research, the University of Adelaide. Professor Freeman is the senior clinician responsible for the management of traumatic spinal cord injured patients for central Australia (South Australia and Northern Territory).


    Dr Claire Jones

    Dr Claire Jones is Head, Biomechanics Laboratory, Adelaide Spinal Research Group and Centre for Orthopaedics and Trauma Research and NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow, School of Medicine, University of Adelaide.

  • Research team

    Research team Role
    Professor Brian Freeman Lead researcher
    Dr Claire Jones Lead researcher
    Dr Jillian Clark Researcher
    Dr Julia Kuliwaba Researcher
    Professor Peter Cripton Visiting researcher
    Dr Noyel Thibbotuwawa Research support
    Adnan Mulaibrahimovic Research support
    Oana Marion Research support
    Erica Beaucage-Gauvreau PhD candidate
    Ryan Quarrington PhD candidate
    Timothy Pointon PhD candidate
    Danika Hunt Honours candidate
    Joshua De Bricassart-Brown Honours candidate
    Lochlan Campbell Honours candidate
    Matthew Ramm Honours candidate
    Rachael Killian Honours candidate
    Tsuen-Zern Lee Honours candidate
  • Partnerships

    Partner Institution/Organisation
    Centre for Automotive Safety Research University of Adelaide
      Defence Science and Technology Group
    Dr Elizabeth Clarke Kolling Institute, University of Sydney
    Dr Anna Leonard, Associate Professor Renee Turner and Dr Francis Corrigan Translational Neuropathology Laboratory, University of Adelaide
    Dr William Robertson University of Adelaide
    Dr Dominic Thewlis University of Adelaide
    Dr Ryan Doig South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI)
  • Related areas of research

Interested in a postgraduate research degree?

We offer exciting opportunities for researchers at the honours, masters and PhD levels. Our research degrees are open to students from a broad range of backgrounds, and range from basic sciences to clinical research. If you are interested in human health, consider furthering your research career with us.

Honours and Higher Degrees by Research

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