IASP Announces 2020 John J. Bonica Fellowship Recipient

Jul 31, 2020

IASP is pleased to announce the 2020 John J. Bonica Trainee Fellowship has been awarded to Saurab Sharma, PhD. This prestigious fellowship was established in 1998 to honor the founder of IASP and support training in all aspects of pain research. Dr. Sharma will be mentored by Dr. James McAuley, University of New South Wales (UNSW) and Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), and will work to understand how memantine and graded motor imagery reduce pain and disability in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) using the MEMOIR trial.

"I am looking forward to hosting Dr Saurab Sharma in my group at UNSW and NeuRA in Sydney Australia for the next 2 years. Saurab is an outstanding early career researcher who, with the support of IASP and the Bonica Fellowship, will become an exceptional independent researcher. Saurab’s postdoctoral research will be focused on testing a new treatment approach for complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) funded by the Australian NHMRC," says his mentor, Dr. James McAuley, Associate Professor in the School of Medical Sciences at UNSW and Senior Research Scientist at NeuRA.

“I am thrilled to see Dr Sharma receive the 2020 Bonica Fellowship because he exemplifies much of what IASP is about - sharp minds, good hearts, collaboration and commitment to better outcomes for people in pain, wherever they may be” says Lorimer Moseley AO, University of South Australia, Australia.

Dr. Sharma’s research goals lie in developing novel approaches to treat chronic pain, testing their efficacy/effectiveness, and understanding treatment mechanisms so that they can be implemented in clinical practice. His overall vision “is to establish and lead the first pain research center in Nepal and conduct high-quality clinical trials.”

“It was wonderful to hear the news that Dr. Sharma was awarded the John J. Bonica Fellowship,” says Mark P. Jensen, University of Washington, USA, one of Dr. Sharma’s mentors. Given his positive spirit, high level of energy and focus, and commitment to increasing our understanding of pain in individuals living in low-income countries, this investment in Dr. Sharma and his research program will facilitate the generation of important new scientific knowledge that will advance pain care in the most under-served populations throughout the world.”

“I aspire to break the barrier I faced--no mentors on pain research or any research in Nepal--and mentor and train future pain researchers. The ultimate vision is to develop a pain research workforce in Nepal and other low-income countries,” he writes in his application.

Blair H. Smith, MD, University of Dundee, Scotland states, “I have rarely met a more passionate and hard-working clinician, researcher and teacher than Dr Sharma.  In the years that I’ve known him, I’ve been impressed by his vision and desire to improve the lives of people living with pain, particularly in his home country, Nepal.  I’m delighted that he now has the opportunity, afforded by this prestigious Fellowship, to extend his knowledge, experience and global contacts, so that he will be ideally placed to fulfil his vision.  I am looking forward to seeing the results of his continued success.”

About Saurab Sharma


Dr. Saurab Sharma is a musculoskeletal physiotherapist from Nepal. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Otago, New Zealand. His Ph.D. aimed to improve pain assessment, management, and research in Nepal. His Ph.D. was marked as a thesis of exceptional quality and was endorsed by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University.  He has 30 peer-reviewed publications. He has received numerous awards including the IASP Developing Countries Collaborative Research Grant with Professor Mark Jensen to study cross-cultural differences in chronic pain. He has delivered talks at national and international conferences. He aims to develop novel treatment approaches for the treatment of pain and adapt these for people with different cultural affiliations. His research aims to improve the lives of people living with pain conditions globally, with the primary focus on people living in low- and middle-income countries.