Obesity and musculoskeletal pain

The mechanistic links between obesity and obesity-related factors and musculoskeletal pain

Degree type


Closing date

18 July 2022



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Musculoskeletal pain is a major public health burden worldwide. It is common in the general population with a prevalence estimated as high as 70%, leading to restrictions in physical function and mobility impairments including reduced quality of life and disability. Obesity is often comorbid with musculoskeletal pain. We have demonstrated that obesity and fat mass are associated with musculoskeletal pain occurring in non-weightbearing joints and obesity-related factors (e.g., metabolic syndrome) increase the risk of experiencing severe pain. However, the two conditions may be related reciprocally in a bidirectional manner and the precise mechanisms underlying the two phenomena have not been clear. This project will address this gap and examine the mechanistic links between obesity and obesity-related factors and musculoskeletal pain based on two large population-based cohorts. It will utilize genetic and observational longitudinal data.

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.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

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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