Associate Professor Zhen Zheng
Dr Zhen Zheng has two main research areas: 1) translating research into practice and knowledge translation; 2) identifying the optimal acupuncture protocols for acute and chronic pain.
Teaching and administration
In the past 15 years, Dr Zheng has taught, coordinated and developed courses and programs in Chinese medicine.
Dr Zheng’s key areas of interest are teaching students to develop critical thinking skills and make informed clinical decisions. She is committed to improving School of Health and Biomedical Sciences students’ knowledge of pain.
On average, it takes 17 years to put evidence into practice. Translational medicine facilitates this process and aims to implement quality evidence into clinical practice in a timely fashion and to improve the health care.
Dr Zheng has deep interests in translating research into practice or knowledge translation. As an NHMRC TRIP Fellow (National Health and Medicine Research Council, translating Research Into Practice), Dr Zheng collaborates with Northern Health to co-lead the implementation of acupressure as part of the management plan of post-operative nausea and vomiting. As the interim group leader for musculoskeletal pain research, Dr Zheng leads a team of staff from 7 health disciplines to implement evidence for pain management into clinical practice at the primary care level.
Another research focus of Dr Zhneg is individual responses to pain therapies. In Dr Zheng’s laboratory, staff and students have developed methods to examine the key factors that contribute to varied responses to pain and pain therapies. They have also studied the optimal acupuncture treatment protocols for pain.
This research explores a range of questions, including:
- What types of pain respond to acupuncture?
- Does peripherally mediated pain respond to acupuncture better than centrally mediated pain?
- Is electroacupuncture more effective than manual acupuncture?
- Are there differences between local and distal acupuncture?
- Does individual adaptability to pain affect their response to acupuncture?
- Does acupuncture modulate endogenous pain control and pain adaptability?
- What are the key Chinese medicine patterns of chronic pain?
- Do Chinese medicine patterns of chronic pain affect acupuncture analgesia?
Dr Zheng’s expertise is well recognised by her peers and the broad health community. She was a member of the Primary Care Group for the development of the National Pain Strategy, and was invited to update two units in the “Acute Pain Management: Scientific Evidence” that was published by the Australian and New Zealand College and Anaesthetists and endorsed by NHMRC. She has been invited to deliver lectures to Chinese medicine practitioners, chiropractors, nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists, general practitioners, osteopathic practitioners, pain specialists, rheumatologists, surgeons and complementary medicine practitioners.
- 2016-2017: NHMRC TRIP Fellow
- 2013: Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning (Team member), Office for Learning & Teaching, Australian Government
- 2012: Innovation in Curriculum Learning and Teaching Award (Team member), RMIT University
You can find out more about Dr Zheng’s research.
- Lecturer: Acupuncture neurophysiology, pain management, evidence-based research methods, COTH2112 Classic Literature in Chinese Medicine and Clinical Conference (Acupuncture)
- Supervising Master degree by research and PhD candidates
- Lead an implementation project: Implementing acupressure for post-operative nausea and vomiting
- Interim group leader: Lead a multidisciplinary team to improve musculoskeletal pain research and management. The team includes academics and practitioners from Chinese medicine, chiropractor, exercise physiology, neuroscience, osteopath, pharmacy and psychology
Research methods used
- Implementation science
- Clinical trials
- Systematic reviews
- Psychophysical studies
- Qualitative research
- Questionnaire development and validation
Clinic conditions researched
- Post-operative nausea and vomiting
- Post-operative pain
- Tension type headache
- Chronic musculoskeletal pain
- Chronic non-specific low back pain
- Knee osteoarthritis
- Human pain models
Available for research supervision, collaborative research, media comments, expert advice, and student consultation.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
- Bachelor of Medicine, Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, China
- Doctor of Philosophy, University of Melbourne, Australia
- Knowledge Translation Professional Certificate (KTPC™) , SickKids Learning Institute, University of Toronto
- National Ageing Research Institute, University of Melbourne, Victoria
- Royal Melbourne Hospital, Victoria
- Caulfield Hospital, Victoria
- Northern Health, Victoria
- St Vincent’s Hospital, Victoria
- Australian Acupuncture Research Network, National Institute of Complementary Medicine, New South Wales
- Beijing Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China
- Jiangsu Provincial Hospital of Chinese Medicine, Nanjing, China
- European Cooperation in Science and Technology Action TD1005
- Member, Professional Standard Panel, Chinese Medicine Board of Australia
- Member, Couse assessment experts , Chinese Medicine Board of Australia
- Member, Australian Pain Society
- Member, International Association for the Study of Pain
- Member, Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association
- Director, Norlane Healing Hand Inc (a not-for-profit organisation provides low-cost alternative and complementary medicine to marginalised people in our society)
- Director, Rotary Club of Corio Bay, Rotary International
- Member of the Editorial Board, Acupuncture and Moxibustion Research (Zhen Ci Yan Jiu)
- Member of Editorial Board, Integrative Medicine Research
- Founding and past Editor-in-Chief, Australian Journal of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
- Acupuncture in Medicine
- Australasian Medical Journal
- BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
- BMJ Open
- Chinese Medicine
- Clinical Journal of Pain
- European Journal of Integrative Medicine
- Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
- Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
- Journal of Nursing
- Journal of Pain
- Neurochemistry International
- Pain Medicine
- Plos One
- Research in Sports Medicine
Conference presentations (delivered) since 2010
Dr Zheng gave more than 20 keynote or invited presentations at national and international conferences, including the Annual Conference of Australia Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association (AACMAC), International Symposium for Acupuncture Research (South Korea), International Symposium on Acupuncture, and World Pain Clinic Congress.
She has also given conference presentations at the International Association for the Studies of Pain (IASP), Annual Conference of Society for Acupuncture Research, International Congress on Complementary Medicine Research, and Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australian Pain Society (APS).
- Zheng, Z., et al, Z.,Stelmach, W.,Ma, J.,Briedis, J.,Layton, J.,Xue, C., et al, . (2023). Health professionals’ attitudes towards acupuncture/acupressure for post-operative nausea and vomiting: a survey and implications for implementation In: Acupuncture in Medicine, 41, 16 - 26
- Lea, A.,Collett, J.,Cribb, L.,Zheng, Z.,Sai Durga Vara Prasada Rao, P. (2023). A cross-sectional study of factors associated with psychosocial wellbeing among older Tai Chi practitioners In: European Journal of Integrative Medicine, 57, 1 - 8
- Teo, J.,Zheng, Z.,Bird, S. (2022). Identifying the factors affecting ‘patient engagement’ in exercise rehabilitation In: BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation, 14, 1 - 11
- Zhu, J.,Li, S.,Zheng, Z.,Zheng, M., et al, . (2022). Preoperative electroacupuncture for postoperative nausea and vomiting in laparoscopic gynecological surgery: a randomized controlled trial In: Acupuncture in Medicine, 40, 415 - 424
- Zhao, F.,Kennedy, G.,Spencer, S.,Conduit, R.,Zhang, W.,Fu, Q.,Zheng, Z. (2022). The Role of Acupuncture in the Management of Insomnia as a Major or Residual Symptom Among Patients With Active or Previous Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis In: Frontiers in Psychiatry, 13, 1 - 26
- Zhang, M.,Daly, D.,Terblanche, M.,Vesty, G.,Zheng, Z., et al, . (2022). Doctors’ and Nurses’ Attitudes of Acupuncture and Acupressure use in Perioperative Care: An Australian National Survey In: Pain Management Nursing, 23, 1 - 11
- Law, R.,Wong Lit Wan, D.,Cleary, S.,Stelmach, W.,Mori, K.,Zheng, Z. (2022). Measuring surgical patient engagement: A scoping review In: Journal of Perioperative Nursing, 35, 38 - 49
- Zheng, Z.,Bird, S.,Layton, J.,Hyde, A.,Moreland, A.,Wong Lit Wan, D.,Stupans, I. (2022). In press - Patient engagement as a core element of translating clinical evidence into practice- application of the COM-B model behaviour change model In: Disability and Rehabilitation, , 1 - 10
- Harman, S.,Zheng, Z.,Kendall, J.,Vindigni, D.,Polus, B. (2021). Does My Neck Make Me Clumsy? In: Frontiers in Pain Research, 2, 1 - 25
- Zhao, F.,Zhang, W.,Kennedy, G.,Conduit, R.,Zheng, Z.,Fu, Q. (2021). The role of acupuncture in treating perimenopausal insomnia: An overview and quality assessment of systematic reviews and meta-analyses In: Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 17, 3325 - 3343
4 PhD Current Supervisions and 1 Masters by Research Current Supervisions7 PhD Completions and 6 Masters by Research Completions
- Engaging patients in the prevention and management of post-operative nausea and vomiting. Funded by: Northern Health Foundation - Scholarship from (2018 to 2021)
- Closing the gap: Implementing effective treatments to improve post-operative nausea and vomiting. Funded by: NHMRC Translating Research Into Practice (TRIP) Fellowships Grant 2015 from (2016 to 2018)
- Patient attitudes to usage and reduction of opioid medications for chronic pain. Funded by: Helen Macpherson Smith Grant pre-2014 from (2010 to 2011)
- RMIT Foundation International Visiting Fellowship - Dr. Charlotte Paterson. Funded by: RMIT Foundation from (2010 to 2011)
- Randomised controlled trials of acupuncture vs. pharmacotherapy for acute pain relief in emergency departments. Funded by: National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Project Grant Pre-2014 from (2009 to 2011)