Siobhan Schabrun, PhD

Siobhan Schabrun

Professor and William and Lynne Gray Research Chair in Mobility and Activity


  • PhD - Neuroscience (University of Adelaide)
  • B.Physio Hons (University of South Australia)

Academic Appointments

  • William and Lynne Gray Research Chair in Mobility and Activity

Graduate Program Supervision

Research In Profile

Professor Schabrun’s research interests include the discovery of cortical biomarkers that can predict who will develop chronic pain – even before pain begins, investigation of the neurobiological mechanisms that underpin the transition from acute to chronic pain and the development and testing of non-invasive brain stimulation treatments for pain. Her lab uses cutting-edge research techniques to probe and modulate human neuroplasticity including non-invasive brain stimulation (e.g. transcranial magnetic stimulation, transcranial direct/alternating current stimulation), combined TMS-EEG, peripheral electrical stimulation and quantitative sensory testing. Her work uses both human pain models and clinical trial/cohort study methodology to investigate clinical pain populations.

Current Grants and Research Projects

  • Validation of a Novel Cortical Biomarker Signature for Pain. National Institutes of Health, USA. 2019-2024.
  • The Physiological Basis of Motor Adaptation in Pain. National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia. 2018-2022.
  • Repetitive Transcranial magnetic stimulation to bolster analgesic effects of exercise in knee osteoarthritis. ANZMUSC Clinical Trials Network. 2022-2023.
  • Why Does Quadriceps Weakness Persist after Total Knee Replacement? An Exploratory Investigation of Neuroplastic Mechanisms. Physiotherapy Research Foundation. 2022-2023.

Additional Information

Featured Publications/Projects

Visit Google Scholar for a comprehensive list of publications.

  • Fitzgibbon B, Schabrun SM (2019): Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) for Pain Disorders: Challenges and New Frontiers. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics 106:717-719.
  • Jenkins L, Chang W, Buscemi V, Liston M, Skippen P, Cashin A, McAuley J, Schabrun SM (2021). Low somatosensory cortex excitability in the acute stage of low back pain causes chronic pain. J.Pain: S1526-5900(21)00319-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2021.08.003.
  • Thapa T. Graven-Nielsen T, Schabrun SM (2021). Aberrant plasticity in musculoskeletal pain: a failure of homeostatic control? Exp Brain Res: 129(5):1090-1096. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2018.01.060
  • Cavaleri R, Chipchase L, Summers S, Schabrun SM (2019). Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation of the primary motor cortex expedites recovery in the transition from acute to sustained experimental pain: a randomised, controlled study. PAIN 160:2624-2633.
  • Seminowicz D, Thapa T, Schabrun SM (2019). Corticomotor depression is associated with higher pain severity in the transition to sustained pain: a longitudinal exploratory study of individual differences. J.Pain 20:1498-1506.
  • Summers S, Chipchase L, Hirata R, Graven-Nielsen T, Cavaleri R, Schabrun SM (2019). Motor adaptation varies between individuals in the transition to sustained pain. PAIN 160:2115-2125.
  • Thapa T, Graven-Nielsen T, Chipchase L, Schabrun SM (2018). Disruption of cortical synaptic homeostasis in individuals with chronic low back pain. Clin Neurophys 129:1090-96.

Research Affiliations

Teaching Areas

  • Pain Neuroscience


  • Ulf Lindblom Young Investigator Award for Clinical Pain Science (2021)
  • Western Sydney Research Impact Award (2016)
  • Fulbright Scholarship (2014)\
  • National health and Medical Research Council R.D Wright Biomedical Fellowship (2014-2019)
  • National health and Medical Research Council Early Career Fellowship (2010-2014)
  • Young Tall Poppy Science Award (2011)

Professional Activities