Brian Freeman

Professor Brian Freeman


Adelaide Medical School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.

Professor Brian Freeman is Head of Spinal Services at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and Professor of Spinal Surgery at University of Adelaide (2008-present). He was appointed Research Director at the Adelaide Centre for Spinal Research, and Co-director of the Centre for Orthopaedic and Trauma Research, University of Adelaide, in 2012. Professor Freeman is the senior clinician responsible for the management of traumatic spinal cord injured patients for Central Australia (South Australia and Northern Territories).

Professor Freeman graduated from medical school in 1988 and pursued higher surgical training in Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, obtaining Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1997 and Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 2010. Professor Freeman has completed two internationally recognised Fellowships in Spinal Surgery; The British Orthopaedic Association National Fellowship in Spinal Surgery (1999) in Nottingham, UK and The Clinical/Research Fellowship in Spinal Surgery at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, Australia (2000). Research conducted during this Fellowship (2000) led to the award of a Doctorate of Medicine to Professor Freeman from the University of Nottingham, UK (2006). Dr Freeman commenced as Consultant Spinal Surgeon at Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham, UK in 2000. In 2007, he was awarded the position of Special Professor of Spinal Surgery by the University of Nottingham, UK (2007-2010).


I am the author of 93 peer-reviewed publications (first author in 25). I have published 19 book chapters as first author. I am an author of 142 published abstracts from 208 podium presentations and 94 poster presentations to national and international meetings. I have been awarded 40 national and international prizes for my research and audit.

I have supervised to completion; five higher degree candidates (three Doctorates of Medicine (DM), two Doctorates of Philosophy (PhD),  two Masters’ candidates and two Bachelor of Medical Science candidates.

I currently supervise two PhD candidates at the University of Adelaide, one PhD at Flinders University and one PhD at the University of Melbourne.

I have examined four higher degrees (2 from Australia, 2 from South Africa) as an external examiner. I have held grants to the total of GBP 41,048 in the United Kingdom and AUS$ 3,290,688 in Australia. RG Score 36.86, h-index 27 (10 August 2017) 

Grants and Funding
CI Team Title Period of Support Funding Source

CIA - Brian Freeman

CIB - Anant Kamat

CIC - Robert Fraser

Treatment of discitis following discectomy 1999-2000

The Adelaide Bone and Joint Research Foundation Inc.

ID 181/99

CIA - Anant Kamat

CIB - Brian Freeman

CIC - Robert Moore

Complications resulting from intra-thecal injection of epidural steroids 1999-2000

The Adelaide Bone and Joint Research Foundation Inc.

ID 182/99

CIA - Rebecca Walters

CIB - Brian Freeman

CIC - Robert Moore

Timing of prophylactic antibiotics for the prevention of iatrogenic discitis 1999-2000

The Adelaide Bone and Joint Research Foundation Inc.

ID 183/99

CIA - R Arun

CIB - Brian Freeman

CIC - Brigitte Scammell

CID - Donal McNally

CIE - Penny Gowlaand

The effect of mechanical loading on diffusion of solutes in the human intervertebral disc 2004-2005

Pump Priming Grant

Queen’s Medical Centre   Trustees

ID  M/9/2004


CIA - Brian Freeman

CIB - Geoffrey Burwell

Evaluation of brain development in girls with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS): A pilot study 2005-2007 British Scoliosis Research Foundation (BSRF)

CIA - Claire Jones

CIB - Brian Freeman

CIC - Robert J Moore

Investigating the mechanical response of the developing spine to spondylolysis loading patterns with a novel strain measurement technique 2012 Royal Adelaide Hospital Research Fund Mary Overton Project Grant

CIA - Claire Jones

CIB - Peter Cripton

CIC - Brian Freeman

CID - Robert J Moore

Understanding the biomechanical origins of pars defects – towards a biofidelic in vitro model of spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis


(Extended to 2015)

AO Foundation,

Dubendorf, Switzerland

CI - Sarah Dunlop

AI - Peter Batchelor

AI - Peter Woodland

AI - Dave Dillon

AI - Sudhakar Rao

AI - John Kerr

AI - Ann Watts

AI - John Buchanon

AI - Gary Allison

AI - James Middleton

AI - Brian Freeman 

ICED (Immediate Cooling and Emergency Decompression): Involving WA in an Australia-wide clinical trial for traumatic spinal cord injury. 2012-2013

Neurotrauma Research Programme (NRP)

Western Australian Institute for Medical Research (WAIMR)

CIA - Peter Batchelor

CIB - Doug Brown

CIC - Sarah Dunlop

CID - Brian Freeman

Assessment of the Timing of Decompressive Surgery in Spinal Cord Injury 2013

Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research (ISCRR)

Development Grant

CIA - Markus Melloh

CIB - Lukas Staub

CIC - Brian Freeman

Rate and Predictors of Complications in Spinal Surgery 2013-2014

Raine Priming Grant. The University of Western Australia

APP ID 35/2013

CIA - Claire Jones

Supervisor- B Freeman

Unravelling the riddle of spondylolysis: a biomechanical approach to improving prevention, detection and treatment of a common spinal complaint. 2014-2017


Early Career Fellowship



CIA - Peter Batchelor

CIB - Jeffrey Rosenfeld CIC - Brian Freeman

CID - Sarah Dunlop

CIE - Stephen Bernard

CIF - Andrew Nunn

CIG - Ian Mosley

CIH - James Middleton

Immediate Cooling and Emergency Decompression (ICED) for the Treatment of Spinal Cord Injury; Pilot, Safety and Feasibility Studies 2014-2016 NHMRC Project Grant

APP ID 1066217

CIA - Peter Batchelor

CIB - Ian Mosley

CIC - Jeffrey Rosenfeld CID - Brian Freeman

CIE - Sarah Dunlop

CIF - Stephen Bernard

CIG - Andrew Nunn

CIH - James Middleton

Immediate Cooling and Emergency Decompression (ICED) for the Treatment of Spinal Cord Injury; Pilot, Safety and Feasibility Studies 2014-2019

Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research (ISCRR)

Project Grant

CIA - Brian Freeman

CIB - John Slavotinek

CIC-  Ruth Marshall

To investigate serial quantitative changes in bone and muscle mass in individuals with spinal cord injury, multiple injuries and musculoskeletal disorders in general using low dose Peripheral Quantitative Computed Tomography [pQCT] 2014

RAH Research Foundation Research Infrastructure Block Grant Equipment Grant

7 Oct 2014

CIA – Brian Freeman

CIB – Julia Kuliwaba

Bone marrow pathology of Modic changes in the lumbar spine: Is there a role for bacterial infection 2014

AOSpine Australia and New Zealand

Research Award 2014

CIA - Claire Jones

CIB - Brian Freeman

CIC - John Costi

Quantitative evaluation of facet deflection and loading in the human cervical spine: ex-vivo biomechanical approach to understanting cervical facet fracture and dislocation 2015

Royal Adelaide Hospital Research Foundation Clinical Project Grant


CIA - Claire Jones

CIB - Brian Freeman

CIC -  John Costi

Towards improved understanding of the mechanisms underlying cervical facet fracture and dislocation: quantitative evaluation of facet deflection and loading 2015

AOSpine Australia and New Zealand

Research Award 2015

CIA - Brian Freeman

CIB - Jillian M Clark

CIC - Mark Hutchinson

CID - Ewa Goldys

Hyperspectral imaging as an analytical tool to predict neurological prognosis and guide practice 10 April 2015 NeuroSurgical Research Foundation Inc.

CIA - Brian Freeman

CIB - Claire Jones

CIC - Anna Leonard


Awarded 8 May 2015

To develop and characterize a large animal (sheep) survival model of traumatic spinal cord injury. Sept 2015 to Sept 2016

Johnson & Johnson Medical Pty (DePuy SynthesSpine)

CIA - Anna Leonard

CIB - Claire Jones

CIC - Brian Freeman

Awarded 20 Aug 2015

Evaluation of duraplasty surgical intervention following traumatic spinal cord injury in a clinically relevant large animal model. 2016

Conquer Paralysis Now:

A global project of  the Sam Schmidt Foundation

CIA - Julio Licinio

CIB - Parabjit S Takhar CIC - Brian J Freeman

Awarded 10 Sept 2015

Molecular imaging of the spinal cord: Technology innovation for the diagnosis and treatment of spinal cord injury 01/07/15-30/06/16 The Lifetime Support Authority of South Australia (LSA)

CIA - Tim Pointon

CIB - Tim Rayner

CIC - Hugh Grantham

CID - Claire Jones

CID – Brian Freeman 

Awarded 01 Oct 2015

Biomechanical evaluation of the efficacy of neck immobilisation techniques utilised by paramedics in the out-of-hospital setting

01/10/15 to



Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences / FMC Foundation / Flinders Fertility

CIA - Claire Jones

CIB - Erica Beaucage-Gauvreau

CIC - Dom Thewlis

CID - Will Robertson

CIE - Robert Fraser

CIF - Brian Freeman 

Validation of a full-body musculoskeletal model with detailed lumbar spine, for estimating spinal muscle and joint loads in bending and lifting tasks. 01/02/17 to 31/01/18

AOSpine Australia and New Zealand

Research Award 2017


I have enjoyed participation in both undergraduate and postgraduate teaching throughout my career. As anatomy demonstrator I taught clinical anatomy to medical students and applied neuro-anatomy to BSc students. Clinical teaching followed when I became a musculoskeletal tutor in Bristol. I have had the privilege of training 60 spinal fellows to the standard commensurate with that of a consultant spinal surgeon. I have lectured to various groups of postgraduate doctors, engineers, physiotherapists and nursing staff. I act as an examiner for undergraduate orthopaedic examinations for the University of Nottingham. I have been a faculty member for the basic and advanced AO spine course in Nottingham and lectured on the advanced AO spine course in Australia (2000) and Switzerland (2002, 2005). I commenced my appointment as Special Professor of Spinal Surgery on 1 August 2007. I am a personal tutor to four medical students. I am a member of the AOUK National Faculty and regularly teach on the AO Basic and Advanced Spine seminars in addition to Live Surgery Seminars demonstrating the use of the Universal Spine System for spinal deformity. I successfully completed the AO Tips for Teachers course in March 2003.

  • Position: Professor
  • Phone: 70742036
  • Email:
  • Fax: 70746198
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences
  • Org Unit: Surgical Specialities

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