Evaluating the clinical utility of osteoarthritis pain phenotypes

The impact of osteoarthritis pain phenotypes on health outcomes and their mechanisms

Degree type


Closing date

18 July 2022



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and is the leading cause of pain and disability. With the growing aging population, along with the increase in obesity, OA has become a huge societal and economic burden in the developed world. Despite this, there are no effective disease-modifying OA drugs and the existing pain therapies have limited efficacy and a substantial risk of adverse events. OA pain is highly heterogeneous, with pain presentations varying among patients. Therefore, it is not surprising to see far disappointing results from “one-size fits all” treatment approaches in OA pain patients. This project will directly address this need by identifying pain phenotypes and providing an optimal patient selection tool.

We have demonstrated that OA pain consists of distinct phenotypes/subgroups, and their clinical prognoses (e.g., joint replacement, fractures) differ among distinct pain phenotypes in a longitudinal population-based cohort study --Tasmanian Older Adult Cohort Study (TASOAC). These phenotypes appear to be clinically useful for stratifying patients and improving the clinical management of OA pain patients. This project is to evaluate and validate the clinical prognoses of distinct pain phenotypes in TASOAC and an international large cohort study to verify the clinical utility of pain phenotypes, and to explore the underlying mechanisms of the links.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Feng Pan


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,854 per annum (2022 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Feng Pan to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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