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Professor Alan Breen

Current Role: Since 2002 I have been Professor of Musculoskeletal Health Care and Director of the Institute for Musculoskeletal Research and Clinical Implementation at the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic, which is an associate college of Bournemouth University.

Background: I have been a chiropractor since the 1970s and a musculoskeletal researcher and research supervisor since the 1990s. I have supervised 12 doctorates to successful completion, including one NIHR Doctoral Fellow, and examined 9. Most of these have been allied health professionals.

Clinical/academic interests: My current interests centre around the pathophysiology of persistent low back and neck pain disability and their diagnosis. I am a founder member of the Society of Back Pain Research and also belong to the International Forum for Primary Care Research in Low Back Pain, the Spine Society of Europe and the Institute for Physics and Engineering in Medicine. My interests have divided into the biomechanical explanations for various spinal problems and the research evidence and its synthesis into guidelines and the process of care. I am a Visiting Professor in the Centre of Postgraduate Medical Research and Education at Bournemouth University.

Research interests: My academic and clinical interests in the diagnosis of functional impairments in the spine have largely been the driver for my research and innovative imaging solutions for spinal diagnostic problems for which I have received national grants. I often work in multidisciplinary collaborations with allied health professionals, radiologists, engineers and surgeons.

Motivations for mentoring: In my career as a research supervisor and department head, I have frequently had a mentorship role at doctoral level. As a member of research collaborations I have also been asked for help and advice by post-doctoral researchers.  I have found that I had networks and solutions to many common problems that these colleagues encountered and what sometimes sounded like a challenge is in fact an opportunity for greater empowerment as an independent researcher.   I find their successes after these encounters very satisfying and worth celebrating.

My mentoring style:   I am a good listener and ‘rememberer’ once I have committed to a mentoring relationship. I keep notes as well as confidences and I try to respond in a timely way. I am good at finding innovative suggestions for academic problems and like to think ‘out of the box’ to help people to reach their real potential as career researchers.

Last three publications:

Branney, J. and A. C. Breen (2014). “Does inter-vertebral range of motion increase after spinal manipulation? A prospective cohort study.” Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 22:24.

Mellor F.E., P. Thomas, et al. (2014). “Proportional lumbar spine inter-vertebral motion patterns: A comparison of patients with chronic, non-specific low back pain and healthy controls.” European Spine Journal 23(10): 2059-2067.

Mellor, F. E. and A. C. Breen (2014). “Discrimination of Biomechanical Back Pain Patient Subgroups from Continuous Inter-Vertebral Motion Data – A Protocol.” Bone and Joint Journal 96-B(Supp 4): 5.