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Dr Negin Hesam-Shariati


Postdoctoral Researcher

+612 9399 1883

Dr Negin Hesam-Shariati (BSc and MSc in biomedical engineering, PhD in medical sciences) is an early career postdoctoral researcher in the Centre for Pain IMPACT at NeuRA. She has recently been awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation for two years. The Neilsen Foundation is a renowned US foundation dedicated to support research to improve the quality of life of people with spinal cord injury (SCI).

Negin started a postdoctoral position in 2019, as a part of A/Prof Gustin’s group and received a project grant from the Frontiers Technology Clinical Academic Group. Her project is focused on developing a Brain-Computer Interface as a neurofeedback system to reduce neuropathic pain in people with SCI. This approach is a novel intervention in which individuals will be trained to gain control over their maladaptive brain activity in a way that results in pain reduction.

In 2014, she was awarded a UNSW International Postgraduate Award for PhD, and a NeuRA supplementary award. Her thesis was titled “Neurophysiological and kinematic correlates of improved motor-function in complex therapy movements in chronic stroke”. She developed multiple quantitative approaches to investigate the correlates and potential predictors of changes in chronic stroke.

Projects Dr Negin Hesam-Shariati is currently involved with


The No Worries Trial

Researchers: Associate Professor Sylvia Gustin, Nell-Norman-Nott, Dr Negin Hesam- Shariati, Dr. Chelsey Wilks (University of Washington).

Emerging evidence has shown that negative emotional states play a key role in the development and maintenance of chronic pain. The No Worries Trial will evaluate the effectiveness of a four-week internet-delivered Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) skills training to help chronic pain sufferers cope with painful, fearful, worrisome, anxious, and negative thoughts and emotions. Moreover, by having the DBT skills training online it is more accessible to those in remote communities, to those with restricted mobility, and more broadly it adds to the knowledge of internet-delivered therapies at a time when online is increasingly necessary to deliver treatment due to COVID-19.


The No Worries Trial

The STOPain Study: Using brain-computer-interface intervention for people with neuropathic pain

Chronic pain is a significant problem worldwide affecting nearly 8 million Australians. Unfortunately, despite the availability of analgesics and other pain therapies, no treatment has been found that benefits the majority of individuals, and most of the available treatments have significant side effects or risks for serious adverse events, e.g. kidney failure.


The STOPain Study: Using brain-computer-interface intervention for people with neuropathic pain

Unravelling the link between chronic pain and mental health disorders

Chronic pain is a significant problem worldwide that results in enormous suffering and costs to affected individuals, their loved ones, and society. The experience of chronic pain is so much more than a sensation. Chronic pain impacts our emotions, cognition and social life.


Unravelling the link between chronic pain and mental health disorders

A Multi-Site Randomized Clinical Trial to Examine the Efficacy and Mechanisms of Immersive Virtual W

Chronic neuropathic pain (NP) can be a debilitating secondary condition for persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) and effective pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments remain elusive. This project brings together international experts in basic science and clinical approaches to SCI NP for a rigorous multisite randomized clinical trial to examine the efficacy and mechanisms of an advanced interactive virtual reality (VR) walking intervention (VRWalk).


A Multi-Site Randomized Clinical Trial to Examine the Efficacy and Mechanisms of Immersive Virtual Walking Treatment for Neuropathic Pain in Spinal Cord Injury


NELL NORMAN-NOTT Honours Student Psychology

BROOKE NAYLOR Masters Student, Clinical Psychology


ANTON PAULSON Medical Student

DAVID KANG Medical Student


Reduced Glutamate in the Medial Prefrontal Cortex Is Associated With Emotional and Cognitive Dysregulation in People With Chronic Pain.

Naylor B, Hesam-Shariati N, McAuley JH, Boag S, Newton-John T, Rae CD, Gustin SM

Improved Kinematics and Motor Control in a Longitudinal Study of a Complex Therapy Movement in Chronic Stroke.

Hesam-Shariati N, Trinh T, Thompson-Butel AG, Shiner CT, Redmond SJ, McNulty PA

A Longitudinal Electromyography Study of Complex Movements in Poststroke Therapy. 2: Changes in Coordinated Muscle Activation.

Hesam-Shariati N, Trinh T, Thompson-Butel AG, Shiner CT, McNulty PA

Fine motor control is achieved through the coordinated activation of groups of muscles, or "muscle synergies." Muscle synergies change after stroke as a consequence of the motor deficit. We investigated the pattern and longitudinal changes in upper limb muscle synergies during therapy in a largely unconstrained movement in patients with a broad spectrum of poststroke residual voluntary motor capacity. Electromyography (EMG) was recorded using wireless telemetry from 6 muscles acting on the more-affected upper body in 24 stroke patients at early and late therapy during formal Wii-based Movement Therapy (WMT) sessions, and in a subset of 13 patients at 6-month follow-up. Patients were classified with low, moderate, or high motor-function. The Wii-baseball swing was analyzed using a non-negative matrix factorization (NMF) algorithm to extract muscle synergies from EMG recordings based on the temporal activation of each synergy and the contribution of each muscle to a synergy. Motor-function was clinically assessed immediately pre- and post-therapy and at 6-month follow-up using the Wolf Motor Function Test, upper limb motor Fugl-Meyer Assessment, and Motor Activity Log Quality of Movement scale. Clinical assessments and game performance demonstrated improved motor-function for all patients at post-therapy (p < 0.01), and these improvements were sustained at 6-month follow-up (p > 0.05). NMF analysis revealed fewer muscle synergies (mean ± SE) for patients with low motor-function (3.38 ± 0.2) than those with high motor-function (4.00 ± 0.3) at early therapy (p = 0.036) with an association trend between the number of synergies and the level of motor-function. By late therapy, there was no significant change between groups, although there was a pattern of increase for those with low motor-function over time. The variability accounted for demonstrated differences with motor-function level (p < 0.05) but not time. Cluster analysis of the pooled synergies highlighted the therapy-induced change in muscle activation. Muscle synergies could be identified for all patients during therapy activities. These results show less complexity and more co-activation in the muscle activation for patients with low motor-function as a higher number of muscle synergies reflects greater movement complexity and task-related phasic muscle activation. The increased number of synergies and changes within synergies by late-therapy suggests improved motor control and movement quality with more distinct phases of movement.

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