Welcome from our Director

Welcome to the Australian Institute for Musculoskeletal Science (AIMSS). Our Institute was initially created by our three stakeholders (The University of Melbourne, Victoria University, and Western Health) as a “virtual” platform to bring researchers closer and to improve the health and well-being of the communities in which we live and work through innovative and integrative musculoskeletal research and advocacy.
After its re-structuring in 2016, AIMSS is now a vibrant research institute which occupies an important area of the Western Centre for Health, Research and Education (WCHRE). Our renewed mission is to develop and promote collaboration between our members, while focusing on performing high quality multi-disciplinary and translational research on ageing and musculoskeletal diseases. Whereas we maintain our original mission to serve our local communities, results from our translational research activities go beyond our borders. AIMSS is now an internationally projected research institute with more than 50 academic members, and ongoing collaborations with more than 85 universities and research groups around the world. We are members of the Research Ageing Network of the IAGG and the WHO, the Capture the Fracture Program of the IOF, and of many other international initiatives dedicated to the promotion of healthy ageing and musculoskeletal research around the world.
Our research goes from biomedical to clinical sciences. We also run a busy clinical trials unit and a state-of-the-art imaging facilities with capacity to analyse any component of the musculoskeletal system from the cell to the organ. Our Gait and Balance Gym (Gabagym) is a unique research program in which our participants are trained to maintain their independence, improve their quality of life, and prevent falls and fractures. We also perform high-class research on population health, clinical epidemiology and health economics.
This web page summarises some of our activities and research programs. Our Program Directors are leaders in the field with strong networks of collaborators locally and around the world. Our Postgraduate programs, which are run by the University of Melbourne and Victoria University, bring many fantastic opportunities to students at all levels, and from many different nationalities.
In summary, AIMSS is intended to become one of the most important musculoskeletal research institutes worldwide. Thanks for visiting our webpage. I hope you will also have the opportunity of visiting our facilities and meet our members. We are a happy and very productive team of researchers working to improve the quality of life of our communities.
Enjoy your visit!


Prof. Gustavo Duque, MD, PhD, FRACP, GSAF
Director, AIMSS
AIMSS Advisory Committee 2018
Professor Warren Payne, VU | view profile
Professor Karen Dodd, VU | view profile
Dr Arlene Wake, WH | view profile
Professor Gustavo Duque, Director AIMSS | view profile
Professor Mike McGuckin, UoM | view profile
Russell Harrison, WH | view profile
Dr Paul Eleftheriou, WH | view profile
Professor Alan Hayes, Deputy Director AIMSS | view profile
AIMSS Management Committee 2018
Professor Gustavo Duque | view research program
Professor Alan Hayes | view research program
Dr Sharon Brennan-Olsen | view research program
A/Prof Damian Myers | view research program
James Sorensen, Members-In-Training (MIT) Coordinator
Dr Liz Liberts, Clinical Research Manager
AIMSS Scientific Advisory Committee 2018
Gustavo Duque, Chair
Alan Hayes, Deputy Chair
Andrea Maier, Director – Head – Geriatric Medicine, RMH
Keith Lim, HOU Rheumatology, WH
Michael McKenna, Director – ISEAL, VU
Natalie Sims, Director – Director, MSK Research at SVH, UOM
Phong Tran, Head of Orthopaedics, WH
Shane Hamblin, Head of Endocrinology, WH
Tissa Wijeratne, Head of Neurology, WH

Prof Gustavo Duque (Director AIMSS)
Program Director, Geroscience, Ageing & Osteosarcopenia: Biomedical & Translational
Prof Alan Hayes (Deputy Director AIMSS)
Program Director, Sarcopenia: Biomedical & Translational
A/Prof John Price (Graduate Program Director Basic Sciences)
Program Director, Cancer & Musculoskeletal
A/Prof Damian Myers
Program Director, Imaging: Biomedical & Translational
Dr Lakshman Singh (Director Basic Sciences)
Program Director, Bone: Biomedical & Translational
A/Prof Christine Rodda
Program Director, Musculoskeletal Research In Children & Adolescents
A/Prof Keith Lim
Program Director, Joint: Clinical
Prof Kim Bennell
Program Director, Joint: Translational
Dr Sharon Brennan-Olsen
Program Director, Social Epigenomics & Population Health
Dr Ebrahim Bani Hassan
Program Director, Imaging: Clinical
A/Prof Shane Hamblin
Program Director, Endocrinology: Clinical
A/Prof Kris Ghosh
Program Director, Ageing: Clinical
Mr Phong Tran
Program Director, Bone: Surgical
Prof Tissa Wijeratne
Program Director, Neurosciences & Musculoskeletal System: Clinical & Translational
A/Prof Itamar Levinger
Program Director, Sarcopenia: Clinical
Prof Natalie Sims
Program Director, Bone: Biomedical & Clinical
A/Prof Nigel Stepto
Project Director
Dr Emma Rybalka
Project Director
Dr Craig Goodman
Project Director
Dr David Rouffet
Project Director
Dr Rachel Duckham
Project Director
Prof Andrew McAinch
Project Director
Dr David Scott
Project Director
Dr Alison Beauchamp
Project Director
A/Prof Cathy Said
Project Director
Dr Ali Ghasem-Zadeh
Project Director
Dr Sean Yan
Project Director
Western CHRE
AIMSS is housed within state-of-the-art facilities at the Centre for Health Research and Education (CHRE) at Sunshine Hospital, a $51.6 million development provides unprecedented opportunities for researchers from Western Health, Victoria University, and The University of Melbourne. The centre also provides training facilities for undergraduate and postgraduate doctors, and a centre for the education and training of nurses and allied health professionals.
Musculoskeletal Imaging Facility
The Bone Density Unit (through Western Health and The University of Melbourne) offers diagnostic tools to support a comprehensive platform for bone health assessment including DXA (Dual-emission X-ray absorptiometry) densitometer, used primarily to evaluate bone mineral density and total body composition, and pQCT (Peripheral Quantitative Computed Tomography) for measuring peripheral bone mineral density, volumetric bone mineral density, plus other measures such as the stress-strain index (SSI) and the geometry of the bone. The bone density unit is available to both clinical and research patients.
Gait and Balance Gym (Gabagym)
The Gait and Balance Gym is a novel model of care that provides comprehensive evaluation and treatment programs to improve gait and balance and to prevent falls and fractures in high risk patients. Our tools are directed to study the effects of exercise on muscle function, body composition, glucose uptake and bone density. It also provides the opportunity to develop exercise interventions into disease states such as sarcopenia and frailty.
The Gabagym contains a broad suite of modern equipment including resistance and cardio-training equipment, 3D virtual reality balance training, gait assessment mats, and whole-body vibration platforms.
Clinical room
The Western CHRE building boasts eight clinical consulting rooms facilitating the large numbers of clinical trials conducted by AIMSS and other Western Health and University staff. We have the capacity to run Phase II, III and IV clinical trials.
AIMSS has access to state-of-the-art laboratory space within the WCHRE building including PC2 containment, cell culture, imaging, flow cytometry, bone histomorphometry, muscle biology and function, living cells imaging, and animal holding facilities.

Western Health is a foundation partner of AIMSS which is located in the Western Centre for Health Research and Education (WCHRE) at Sunshine Hospital. In addition, all hospitals affiliated to Western Health (Sunshine, Footscray and Williamstown) are research hubs attached to AIMSS.

Victoria University is a foundation partner of AIMSS through the College of Health and Biomedicine and College of Sport and Exercise Science.

The University of Melbourne is a foundation partner of AIMSS through the Department of Medicine-Western Health and Melbourne Medical School.
AIMSS is a multi-profession and inter-disciplinary research Institute. All our research programs focus on ageing and/or musculoskeletal research. Our Program and Project Directors are leaders in the field developing strong collaborations between their disciplines and areas of expertise.
Biomedical Research Victoria (BioMedVic) is the state’s leading network of universities, academic hospitals, medical research institutes, CSIRO and other research organisations. Our vision is for the Victorian health and medical research sector to be a global leader in innovation, to improve health and to create wealth.
We help our members develop mutually beneficial relationships with one another, with industry and with government that ensure that Victoria has a stronger and sustainable research future.

Established by the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG), the Global Ageing Research Network (GARN) aims to promote research on health issues related to ageing, in order to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of old people around the world. The network brings together the world’s best research centres dedicated to biological and clinical gerontology
GARN aims to:
  • foster scientific development in geriatrics and gerontology research around the world,
  • develop an international research capacity in ageing,
  • disseminate the latest research findings,
  • promote clinical research in gerontology.