TORU Staff

See the listing below of TORU staff and their activities.

Unit directors

Prof. Paul Smith BMBS FRACS (Ortho)

Professor Paul Smith is an Orthopaedic Surgeon at The Canberra Hospital and at Calvary John James Hospital in Canberra. He is also Co-Director of the Trauma and Orthopaedic Research Unit at Canberra Hospital.

Prof Smith received his medical and surgical training in Adelaide before specialising in hip and knee joint reconstructive and replacement surgery. He was a Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Travelling Fellow in 1996 and 1997 with Fellowships in joint replacement surgery at the University of Western Ontario in Canada and at The Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Hospital in England.

He has recently been honoured by The Knee Society, receiving the inaugural John N Insall Travelling Fellowship in knee surgery and has been appointed as Associate Professor in Orthopaedic Surgery at the ANU Medical School. Dr Smith's particular clinical interests are in reconstruction and replacement surgery of the hip and knee, complex revision joint replacement surgery and management of pelvic and acetabular injuries.


Dr Damian McMahon MBBS FRACS

Dr Damian McMahon was the Director of the Shock Trauma Service, Senior Staff Specialist in surgery and Co-Director of TORU at The Canberra Hospital. Tragically, Damian passed away in 2012 and is very much missed by us and his clinical colleagues. His name remains here as a tribute to his determination to make this unit the success it has become.

Dr McMahon was also Director of the Clinical Skills Centre and Senior Lecturer at the Australian National University Medical School. Dr McMahon received his medical and surgical training in Melbourne where he specialised in trauma surgery. He then became trauma service coordinator at Preston and Northcote Community Hospital, in Preston Victoria in 1993. From 1994 to 1997 he worked as a Trauma and Critical Care Fellow and Attending Traumatology surgeon at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. In 1997 Dr McMahon took up his position as senior staff specialist and academic at the Canberra Hospital.

Laboratory Research Co-ordinator

Dr Rachel W. Li MD. PhD

Dr Li is a molecular pharmacologist and osteoimmunologist with interests in understanding the processes that control a ‘foreign body reaction or response’ initiated by biomaterials implanted into bone or exposed to human cells.

Dr Li worked as a surgeon and senior liver diseases specialist at China Medical University (CMU) from 1982 to 1996. She led a number of clinical trials in anti-viral and anti-inflammatory drugs and successfully transferred an intellectual property to pharmaceutical industry.

In 2003 Dr Li completed her PhD at Southern Cross University and gained her postdoctoral experience in molecular pharmacology at John A Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii.

Dr Li returned to Australia in 2006 and established the TORU Laboratory which pioneered basic orthopaedic research at the ACT region. She has made some major research contributions to the fields of osteoimmunology and also great contribution to medical education as a senior lecturer in CMU, Associate Professor (pharmacology) in University of Canberra, and Professor (Orthopaedic Surgery) in Shandong University, China.


Clinical Research Co-ordinator

Dr Diana Perriman. BAppSc (Physio), MSc., PhD

Dr Diana Perriman, BAppSc (USyd), MSc. (University of East London), PhD (ANU). Dr Perriman is currently the clinical research coordinator of TORU.

Dr Perriman is a physiotherapist who has completed her PhD at the ANU in 2011. Prior to research, Diana had an extensive clinical career in which she worked in acute hospitals, the community and private practice both in Australia and the UK. She has worked at the Trauma and Orthopaedic Research Unit both as a research officer, PhD candidate and as the coordinator since returning from the UK in 2003.

Her PhD research investigated the thoracic spine and kyphotic thoracic posture in aging, a suite of thoracic spine biomechanical and imaging studies culminating in a randomized controlled trial of the effect of conservative treatment for thoracic kyphosis.

Dr Perriman has also been the recipient of an NHMRC Dora Lush scholarship for this research. As clinical research coordinator Dr Perriman’ s research interests lie in arthroplasty, knee kinematics and fracture outcomes in accordance with the main focus of the Trauma and Orthopaedic Research Unit. She also collaborates with other researchers investigating whiplash and hamstring injury in running sports.

Dr Perriman is a senior lecturer at the ANU Medical School and an adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Canberra. In this role she supervises medical students, Physiotherapy students and higher degrees students from both disciplines. She sits on the scientific committee of the ACT Health ethics committee and is also the President of the ACT branch of the Australian Physiotherapy Association


Office Manager

Ms Debbie Kaczor

Debbie is TORU’s Office Manager. Debbie’s role is diverse and comprehensive including conference and meeting organisation, financial management and administrative duties.
Phone: 5124 3858

Research Staff

Mr Joe Lynch, Research Officer

Joe joined the team in mid 2014. He completed his Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science, and a Master of Science in Biomechanics at the University of Ottawa. He is currently a PhD scholar at the ANU investigating how healthy, osteoarthritic and total knee replacement kinematics are influenced by knee geometry.

At present Joe is involved in the running of various trials within the unit with his main interest being in functional and imaging analysis following injury and surgery.

Page last updated on: 26 May 2020