Dr Saurab Sharma
Research Associate

Dr Saurab Sharma

2020           PhD in Medicine (University of Otago, New Zealand)

2013          Master of Physiotherapy, Specialisation in Musculoskeletal conditions (Manipal University, India)

2008          Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Bangaluru, India)

Medicine & Health
School of Health Sciences

Dr Saurab Sharma is a Postdoctoral Researcher supported by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) John J. Bonica Fellowship. He completed his PhD at the University of Otago, New Zealand which was marked as the "Thesis of Exceptional Quality" in 2020. He also received the University of Otago "Emerging Pain Researcher Award" in 2021. 

He has published >56 peer-reviewed papers and has received more than Australian $400,000 worth of research grants. He is one of the Commissioners for the Lancet Commission on Osteoarthritis. He has also contributed to the World Health Organisation initiatives to develop rehabilitation interventions. He has co-authored a book chapter on pain. He is also an active member of three IASP committees. He has presented invited talks at premier conferences including World Pain Congress, World Physiotherapy Congress and Osteoarthritis Research Society International Conference. 

Dr Sharma aims to improve the lives of people with pain and other long-term conditions by developing culturally appropriate, inexpensive, effective and safe interventions. His current research focuses on understanding the role of culture in chronic pain, developing global strategies to improve musculoskeletal health, developing and testing interventions for complex pain conditions, and developing interventions for culturally and linguistically diverse communities and low-resourced settings/countries. 

Dr Sharma is currently leading a consortium for low back pain in low- and middle-income countries (learn more, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35536248/)

139 Barker St, Randwick NSW 2031
  • Journal articles | 2022
    Moseley AM; Fernández Hernando D; Saragiotto BT; Sharma S; Maharjan E; Elkins MR, 2022, 'The Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) has better free full-text access than PubMed: An observational study', Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy, vol. 26, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bjpt.2022.100392
    Journal articles | 2022
    Reis FJJ; Nijs J; Parker R; Sharma S; Wideman TH, 2022, 'Culture and musculoskeletal pain: strategies, challenges, and future directions to develop culturally sensitive physical therapy care', Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy, vol. 26, pp. 100442 - 100442, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bjpt.2022.100442
    Journal articles | 2022
    Sharma S; Mcauley JH, 2022, 'Low Back Pain in Low- and Middle-Income Countries, Part 1: The Problem', Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, vol. 52, pp. 233 - 235, http://dx.doi.org/10.2519/jospt.2022.11145
    Journal articles | 2021
    Briggs AM; Jordan JE; Kopansky-Giles D; Sharma S; March L; Schneider CH; Mishrra S; Young JJ; Slater H, 2021, 'The need for adaptable global guidance in health systems strengthening for musculoskeletal health: a qualitative study of international key informants', Global Health Research and Policy, vol. 6, pp. 24, http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s41256-021-00201-7
    Journal articles | 2021
    Sharma S; Wilson R; Pryymachenko Y; Pathak A; Chua J; Gwynne-Jones D; Bennell KL; Metcalf B; Hinman RS; Hunt MA; Lim B-W; Abbott JH, 2021, 'Reliability, Validity, Responsiveness, and Minimum Important Change of the Stair Climb Test in Adults With Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis.', Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken), http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/acr.24821
    Journal articles | 2019
    Brown P; Zhou Y; Tan AC; El-Esawi MA; Liehr T; Blanck O; Gladue DP; Almeida GMF; Cernava T; Sorzano CO; Yeung AWK; Engel MS; Chandrasekaran AR; Muth T; Staege MS; Daulatabad SV; Widera D; Zhang J; Meule A; Honjo K; Pourret O; Yin CC; Zhang Z; Cascella M; Flegel WA; Goodyear CS; van Raaij MJ; Bukowy-Bieryllo Z; Campana LG; Kurniawan NA; Lalaouna D; Hüttner FJ; Ammerman BA; Ehret F; Cobine PA; Tan EC; Han H; Xia W; McCrum C; Dings RPM; Marinello F; Nilsson H; Nixon B; Voskarides K; Yang L; Costa VD; Bengtsson-Palme J; Bradshaw W; Grimm DG; Kumar N; Martis E; Prieto D; Sabnis SC; Amer SEDR; Liew AWC; Perco P; Rahimi F; Riva G; Zhang C; Devkota HP; Ogami K; Basharat Z; Fierz W; Siebers R; Tan KH; Boehme KA; Brenneisen P; Brown JAL; Dalrymple BP; Harvey DJ; Ng G; Werten S; Bleackley M; Dai Z; Dhariwal R; Gelfer Y; Hartmann MD; Miotla P; Tamaian R; Govender P; Gurney-Champion OJ; Kauppila JH; Zhang X; Echeverría N; Subhash S; Sallmon H; Tofani M; Bae T; Bosch O; Cuív PO; Danchin A; Diouf B; Eerola T; Evangelou E; Filipp F; Klump H; Kurgan L; Smith SS; Terrier O; Tuttle N, 2019, 'Large expert-curated database for benchmarking document similarity detection in biomedical literature search', Database, vol. 2019, pp. 1 - 67, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/database/baz085
    Journal articles | 2019
    Sharma S; Jensen MP; Pathak A; Sharma S; Pokharel M; Abbott JH, 2019, 'State of clinical pain research in Nepal: A systematic scoping review', Pain Reports, vol. 4, pp. e788, http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PR9.0000000000000788
    Journal articles | 2018
    Pathak A; Sharma S; Jensen MP, 2018, 'The utility and validity of pain intensity rating scales for use in developing countries', Pain Reports, vol. 3, pp. 1 - 8, http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PR9.0000000000000672
    Journal articles | 2018
    Sharma S; Abbott JH; Jensen MP, 2018, 'Why clinicians should consider the role of culture in chronic pain', Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy, vol. 22, pp. 345 - 346, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bjpt.2018.07.002

2021                         Co-Investigator, Research Grant from the International Association for the Study of Pain to develop pain education resources and train physiotherapists on pain in Nepal, July 2021 [funding: US$ 9900]

2020 - 2022              Fellowship, John J. Bonica Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), 31st July, 2020 [funding: US$ 100,000]

2020                         University of Otago Publishing Bursary, February – April 2020 [funding: NZ$ 6750]

2019                         Grant, Maurice and Phyllis Paykel Travel Grant to attend Back and Neck Pain Forum to present a paper, 3 – 6 July 2019 [NZ$ 1000 toward travel support and registration]

2019                         Scholarship, North American Pain School (NAPS) Scholarship to attend Pain Training in Montebello, Quebec, Canada; 23 – 28 June 2019 [Can$ 1500]

2018 – 2020             Research Grant(s), Global Challenge Research Funds (x2) from the University of Dundee to collaborate on chronic pain and neuropathic pain research in Nepal [GBP 21,500]

2019                         Travel grant from Pain, Mind, and Movement Special Interest Group of International Association for the Study of Pain to attend and present at Pain Science in Motion Conference on 1 – 2 June 2019, in Savona, Italy [US$ 1000]

2019                         Grant, Pain@Otago (Pain Research theme of University of Otago) Conference travel grant, 7th March 2019 [NZ$1000]

2019                         Conference travel grant from University of Otago to present at the World Physiotherapy Conference, 10 – 13 May 2019 [NZ$ 2000]

2018                         Financial award, International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) to attend World Pain Congress in Boston, the USA; 12 – 16 September 2018 [US$ 1,600 and registration waiver]

2017                         Bursary, World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) to attend and present papers at World Physical Therapy Congress 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa; 2 – 4 July 2017 [US$ 950 and registration waiver].

2017                         Scholarship, International Federation of Physiotherapy Regulator Authorities (INPTRA) to deliver a talk at INPTRA conference; 30th June and 1st July 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa [US$ 2,500 and registration waiver].

2017 – 2020             The University of Otago Doctoral Research Scholarship to pursue a PhD in Medicine at the Otago Medical School, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand; February 2017 to January 2020 [NZ$ 79,000 in Stipend and NZ$ 29,000 tuition fee scholarship].

2016                         Financial award, International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) to attend World Pain Congress in Yokohama, Japan; 26 – 30 September 2016 [US$ 1,000 and registration waiver]

2016                         Bursary, International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Physical Therapists (IFOMPT), IFOMPT Congress in Glasgow, Scotland; 4th – 8th July 2016 [GBP 2,000 and registration waiver]

2015 – 2019             Developing Countries Collaborative Research Grant, International Association for Study of Pain (IASP); July 2015 – December 2019 [US$ 15,000].

2014                         Bursary, Developing country stipend for attending Cochrane Colloquium in Hyderabad, India, September 2014.




Most Promising Emerging Pain Researcher Award from Pain Research Theme at the University of Otago, New Zealand judged by an independent international review team, 9th November 2021.


John J Bonica Postdoctoral Fellowship, International Association for the Study of Pain, Washington DC, USA [US$ 100,000].


Exceptional PhD Thesis Award (top 10% theses) titled, “Improving pain assessment, management, and research in low-income countries: An example of Nepal”, at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.


First Prize, Poster Presentation at Pain Adelaide Conference, Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide, Australia, 29 March 2015 [Aus$ 500].





As CIA, I led a research program on "Role of sociocultural factors on pain" which led to 12 peer-reviewed papers. The project was supported by the International Association for the Study of Pain Developing Countries Collaborative Research Grant (2015-2019). I am currently leading an international project to advance low back pain care in low- and middle-income countries by developing Consortium for Low Back Pain in Low- and Middle-Income Countries with >40 members from 30 countries. The project is supported by the Journal of Orthopaedics & Sports Physical Therapy. The first paper in the series can be found here (or https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35536248/).

My Research Supervision

I am currently supervising a PhD student, Rodrigo Rizzo at the UNSW 

I am also currently (co-)supervising Masters and PhD students internationally (e.g., India, Malaysia, Nepal)