Our research experts

Our La Trobe University researchers and The Australian Ballet health and medical team are all leading specialists in their fields. Our unique partnership offers an environment where experts from both La Trobe and The Australian Ballet are able to collaborate in a dedicated environment.

Professor Jill Cook

La Trobe University: Professor in musculoskeletal health

Professor Jill Cook is a professor in musculoskeletal health in the La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre (LASEM).Professor Cook’s research areas include sports medicine and tendon injury. After completing her PhD in 2000, she has investigated tendon pathology, treatment options and risk factors for tendon injury. Professor Cook currently supplements her research by conducting a specialist tendon practice, and by lecturing and presenting workshops both in Australia and overseas.

Dr Sue Mayes AM

The Australian Ballet: Director of Artistic Health and Principal Physiotherapist

Dr Sue Mayes AM has been the Principal Physiotherapist of The Australian Ballet since 1997. She manages the Artistic Health department of The Australian Ballet and treats the diverse injuries of the professional ballet dancers. Sue graduated from La Trobe University in 1990 with a Bachelor of Science (Physiotherapy), a Graduate Diploma in Sports Physiotherapy in 1996 and PhD in 2017, titled Hip joint health in professional ballet dancers. Sue is currently an Adjunct Research Fellow and was awarded a La Trobe University Distinguished Alumni Award in 2018. Sue consults for elite athletes in the Australian Football League, Cricket Australia and for other professional sports teams internationally. Sue has been invited to present at conferences, including International Association of Dance Medicine and Science conferences, and the IOC World Conference on Prevention of Injury and Illness in Sport. She also lectures regularly throughout Australia and internationally. Sue was awarded an Order of Australia in 2020.

Dr Katia Ferrar

La Trobe University and The Australian Ballet: Research Fellow

Dr Katia Ferrar is the first dedicated Research Fellow appointed to coordinate and direct the research activities of the La Trobe University and The Australian Ballet Partnership. Dr Ferrar joined the partnership in March 2020. Katia is a musculoskeletal physiotherapist and completed her PhD in 2012. Her research is focussed on physical activity, exercise and wellbeing.

Dr Jodie McClelland

La Trobe University: Discipline Lead Physiotherapy

Dr Jodie McClelland is a lecturer and researcher in physiotherapy at La Trobe, and a registered physiotherapist with more than 15 years of clinical experience. After completing her PhD in 2009, Jodie continued her research training through a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Delaware (USA) in the Physical Therapy and Biomechanics and Movement Science programs.

Jodie has collaborated with sporting organisations such as the Australian Football League, A-League and Australian Rugby League.  She publishes her research regularly and has presented at many international conferences. Jodie is collaborating with The Australian Ballet to evaluate how biomechanics in dancing may relate to dancer injury.

Dr Ebonie Rio

La Trobe University: Sports physiotherapist and postdoctoral research fellow

Dr Ebonie Rio completed a PhD in tendon pain, with her novel research leading to changes in rehabilitation practise around the world. She is a postdoctoral researcher in the La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre (LASEM), and is currently involved in a variety of projects investigating tendon pain (particularly in the lower limb), as well as other areas including innovative new rehabilitation techniques. Her experience includes involvement with the Australian Institute of Sport, The Australian Ballet, the Commonwealth Games and Winter Olympics, and 18 months travelling with Disney’s The Lion King stage show.

Dr Adam Semciw

La Trobe University: Associate Professor

Dr Adam Semciw is a physiotherapist and Associate Professor at La Trobe University and Northern Health. His research interests include musculoskeletal conditions, osteoarthritis and orthopaedics, with a particular focus on the lower limb. He uses innovative techniques (e.g. electromyography and MR imaging) to examine the response of lower limb muscles to assessment and intervention, as well as their relationship to symptoms and quality of life.

Professor Kay Crossley

La Trobe University: Director of the La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre (LASEM)

Professor Kay Crossley’s main research focus is on the prevention and management of patellofemoral pain and early-onset osteoarthritis after sports-related injuries. Kay is a physiotherapist with many years of experience in clinical sports physiotherapy. She has contributed to a number of sports medicine and physiotherapy texts, including every edition of Brukner and Khan's Clinical Sports Medicine.


Partnership-affiliated researchers

Professor Russ Hoye is the Dean of Allied Health, Human Services and Sport, La Trobe University. His research interests are in corporate governance, public policy, volunteer management and the impact of sport on individuals and society. He has secured more than A$3.75 million in research funding and has been chief investigator on three Australian Research Council grants and two Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grants.

Dr Pam Kappelides is a senior lecturer in sport management at La Trobe University. Her research is focused on volunteer management; sport participation and inclusion of disadvantaged and minority groups (such as females, culturally and linguistically diverse people, and people living with a disability); community engagement; and the impact of sport participation and development in sport, health and recreation. She specialises in qualitative research methodology and evaluations.


La Trobe University postgraduate students

Ana Azevedo is a PhD candidate and recipient of the inaugural Bronwyn Schlotterlein Scholarship at La Trobe University. Ana is a musculoskeletal physiotherapist with an interest in dance physiotherapy and research. Her PhD body of work focusses on the role intrinsic foot muscles play in injury prevention and performance optimisation in dancers, sportspeople and clinical populations.

Matt Wirdnam is a physiotherapist and Masters candidate who works clinically with general and sporting populations. His project investigates mental fatigue in dancers.

Jess Frydenberg is a physiotherapist (pelvic floor physiotherapy expertise) and Masters candidate. Her project explores the prevalence and impact of pelvic floor disorders in performing artists.