Jennie Scarvell

Professor, Associate Dean of Research and Innovation, Faculty of Health

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

- Knee motion before and after total knee replacement - Physiotherapy interventions for knee osteoarthritis within a framework for chronic disease management and better quality of life. I am currently available to supervise honours, Master or PhD students in the fields of Physiotherapy, Biomechanics, clinical sciences, health and surgery. I have a particular interest in clinical outcomes from physiotherapy and surgical interventions, as well as implementation of evidence into clinical practice and lifestyle change. One of the most important things in starting a PhD is the relationship with your supervisor. I am happy to talk to potential students, to help them think through how they choose their supervisor, university and project and act as mentor.


Research activity per year

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Personal profile


Professor Jennie Scarvell is Associate Dean of Research and Innovation, Faculty of Health, University of Canberra. She was formerly Head of School, Health Sciences, and Head of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health.

Professor Jennie Scarvell (PhD, GCert Higher Ed, BAppSc, Physiotherapy (Sydney)) was a clinical physiotherapist for 15 years, in Australia and Canada, and senior physiotherapist in outpatients and rheumatology before commencing a PhD in 2000. Her PhD (USyd) examined the development of osteoarthritis in injured knees. Jennie was one of the team that developed the Physiotherapy curriculum for the Master of Physiotherapy when it began at University of Canberra in 2004 and was deputy head and clinical education coordinator. Jennie spent 3 years as Clinical Research Coordinator in Orthopaedics at Canberra Hospital and returned to UC as Head of Physiotherapy in 2011 for the commencement of the Bachelor of Physiotherapy in 2013. She is now active in physiotherapy program development in Shanghai.

Jennie has 76 publications in SCOPUS and has supervised 7 HDR students to completion. She is a visiting fellow at the Trauma and Orthopaedic Research Unit at Canberra Hospital.

Research highlights are publications in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery and presentations at the Combined Orthopaedic Meeting and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Jennie has over $500 000 in grants funding. Her research focuses on orthopaedic physiotherapy, using medical imaging to analyse arthrokinematics. Clinical outcomes studies and intervention trials include physiotherapy for knee osteoarthritis, back pain, hip and knee replacement.


Current Projects: 

Quality of life and clinical outcomes from surgical fusion of the spine for children with neuromuscular scoliosis. Corinne Bridge, and Prof David Little, Westmead Children's Hospital. 

PICKLeS. Clinical and patient reported outcomes of three designs of total knee replacement. A randomised clinical trial of knee kinematics. Dr Diana Perriman (ACTH), Prof Paul Smith (ANU), Prof Mark Pickering (UNSW), and Joe Lynch, Catherine Galvin.


What is occupation in Occupational Therapy. Amelia Di Tommaso, Stephen Isbel, Alison Wicks.

Pilates for low back pain, a randomised controlled trial. Roopika Sodhi, Cherie Wells, Stuart Semple.


Student Projects Available

When is the right time to have a knee replacement?

People with knee osteoarthritis frequently ask physiotherapists for advice about knee replacement as they are perceived as neutral. On one hand the better, stronger you go into surgery, the better you'll be coming out. On the other hand only 80% of people are satisfied with thier knee replacement and last, they dont last forever, they wear out. Wouldnt it be great if there was a decision tool, based on the best of evidence, with which to advise people?  

Student Projects Available

How much knee flexion or extension matters? 

People with knee osteoarthritis experience stiffness that effects their ability to be active. Minimum clinically important difference is a value of what movement matters. Designing clinical research projects is based on 'what is the outcome that matters to people?' . This project works with people with knee stiffness to define the values of range of motion that matter.

Education/Academic qualification

University of Canberra

Award Date: 20 Jun 2019

PhD, University of Sydney

1 Jan 20001 Feb 2004

Award Date: 7 Apr 2004

Bachelor, University of Sydney

2 Feb 19821 Jun 1985

Award Date: 7 Jul 1985

External positions

Visiting Fellow, Canberra Hospital

1 Feb 2004 → …


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