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Chronic and Complex Network


The Chronic and Complex Medicine Network is a multidisciplinary network that includes Diabetes, Endocrinology, Renal medicine and Pain Management with focus on both clinical and basic research.  Important partnerships our network has formed include with the Karolinska and Mass General, Stanford Pain Group, Monash Health, University of Sydney, Melbourne Health, The Baker, Kings College, WEHI, JDRF, National Institutes of Health, Peter MCallum Cancer Centre, University of Technology Sydney, and NHMRC Clinical Trial Centre, the Endocrine Surgical Group, NSW Health Pathology athology and Macquarie University.

Our Research Committee emphasises the importance of embedding research into clinical practice is a focus.
Key highlights from across this diverse network include:

  • Over 70 clinical trials currently underway across our key areas of diabetes, renal, endocrinology and pain management
  • High volume of successful grant applications, including seven recent NHMRC Grants, four Hillcrest Foundation Grants, four MRFF Grants,  and various grants from MOH, iCare, JDRF,  The Ernest Heine Family Foundation and Diabetes Australia
  • Over 100 peer reviewed papers published in high impact journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, Diabetes Care, The Lancet, Stroke, Circulation, Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, Kidney International, Diabetologia, Cancer, Thyroid, Cell, American Journal of Kidney Disease, Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Pain, PLOS One, Neuropharmacology, The Journal of Pain, Science, JAMA Neurology.
  • Supervision of five recently graduated PhD students and eight ongoing PhD students.  All clinicians are regular supervisors of MD research projects.

 Renal Medicine

In Renal Medicine, Professor Carol Pollock’s laboratory aims to improve the lives of patients with chronic kidney disease.  The team continue to produce high quality research that has led to publications in high impact journals and led to the securing of two patents for original discovery.  Specifically, the Renal Laboratory studies the role of epigenetics in renal disease, the impact of maternal factors on the health of the offspring and the factors that are associated with renal fibrosis. Importantly, the mechanisms, and factors leading to the progression of chronic kidney disease has been studied at both a basic and clinical level and has translated into changes in clinical practice, to improve the lives of patients.


The Endocrine Laboratory co-directed by Professor Bruce Robinson and Associate Professor Rory Clifton-Bligh has a major interest in Endocrine Malignancies with a special focus on the thyroid gland, particularly the area of Medullary Thyroid Cancer.   Adrenocortical Carcinoma is also a major interest of Professor Robinson who has an international reputation that has led to successful international collaborations, as well as collaboration with the Endocrine Surgical Unit at RNSH. Christian Girgis has been a key researcher in the field of Metabolic Bone Disorders, and studies on Osteoporosis Refracture Prevention has led to important multi-disciplinary, multi-institution collaborations.


Our Diabetes Research Group has also basic and clinical research activities. The lab based research involves epigenetic changes, while clinical research has focussed on diabetes complications, obesity and the impact of diabetes on both pregnancy and resultant offspring. Our Diabetes Education Unit is currently planning Audits of 1) a novel way to optimise insulin management and 2) A new approach to integrated care for diabetes management.

 Pain Management

The Pain Management Research Institute (PMRI) includes 38 academic and 11 professional staff that work across clinical, research and education. The PMRI has lab facilities at within the Kolling Institute, and clinical space in the Douglas Building at RNSH.  The focus has been on chronic pain that has both a biological (neuroscientific) and aversive (emotional) experience with key research streams including pain pathways, cancer survivor pain, trials of new therapies, brain behaviour and society, and social aspects of pain.​