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Jim Elliott, PT, PhD

elliott-neuromuscular836x300.jpgNeuromuscular Imaging Laboratory

The primary research focus from our lab has been and continues to be determining the pathophysiological mechanisms that contribute to the transition from acute to chronic pain following head/neck trauma; in particular, whiplash injuries from a motor vehicle collision. Specifically, we utilize structural and advanced magnetic resonance imaging applications to quantify the temporal development of altered spinal cord anatomy and muscle degeneration as potential cellular and molecular substrates of persistent pain. Broad applications of our work includes preventing, diagnosing and treating trauma-related pain and its sequelae. This research is based on clinical and research experience and has expanded through interdisciplinary efforts involving the fields of magnetic resonance physics, radiology, biomedical engineering, speech language pathology, neurophysiology and physical therapy.

Elliott is currently a professor in the faculty of Health Sciences at The University of Sydney and an adjunct professor in the Department of Physical Therapy & Human Movement Sciences at Northwestern University. Collaborative education/research models between the two institutions are welcomed and available.



  • Harnessing Data for Better Health - Triangulating the Patient's Pain Experience
  • Neuromuscular Mechanisms Underlying Poor Recovery Following Head/Neck Trauma
  • Predictors and Mediators of Swallowing and Voice Deficits Following Whiplash Trauma: Is It Biology or Psychology?

Graduate Student Research

  • Mark Hoggarth, DPT, PhD: Currently completing his PhD in Biomedical Engineering, investigating white matter pathways with MRI in patients with head/neck trauma.
  • Rebecca Abbott, DPT, PhD: Currently completing her PhD in Mechanical Engineering, where she is exploring and expanding musculoskeletal models of the head/neck.


Principal Investigator

Collaborating Faculty

  • Gerard Brennan, PT, PhD (USA)
  • Michel Coppieters, PT, PhD (Australia)
  • Jon Cornwall, PhD (New Zealand)
  • Mark Courtney, MD (USA)
  • Rebecca Crawford, PhD (The Netherlands)
  • Jules Dewald, PT, PhD (USA)
  • Graham Galloway, PhD (Australia)
  • Wellington Hsu, MD (USA)
  • Gwendolen Jull, PT, PhD (Australia)
  • Sarah Linnstaedt, PhD (USA)
  • Bonnie Martin-Harris, PhD (USA)
  • Marnee McKay, PhD (Australia)
  • Sam McLean, MD (USA)
  • Katie McMahon, PhD (Australia)
  • Valentina Echeverria Moran, BCh, MS, PhD (Chile)
  • Shaun O'Leary, PT, PhD (Australia)
  • Todd Parrish, PhD (USA)
  • Gunter Siegmund, PhD (Canada) 
  • Stephanie Valentin, BSc (Hons) Phyty (Scotland)
  • Dave Walton, PT, PhD (Canada)
  • Beth Winkelstein, PhD (USA)

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