Researcher spotlight: Dr Melissa Day

23 Jul 2018
Melissa Day
Dr Melissa Day

Each month we shine the spotlight on a researcher in the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences.

To coincide with National Pain Week (23-29 July 2018), we spoke to Dr Melissa Day, Senior Research Fellow in the UQ School of Psychology.

What are your key research interests?

My key area of research interest is acute and chronic pain, with a focus on developing and evaluating non-pharmacological treatment approaches for pain management.

What aspects do you enjoy most about your work?

I truly feel so lucky as I love my job and there is so much I enjoy! I value the opportunity to continue to learn, to work with amazing colleagues and collaborators, I find working with patients rewarding, and also really enjoy mentoring and teaching the next generation of clinical psychologists and pain researchers.

Has your career taken you to any interesting, far-flung locations?

I doubt that many people reading this could say that they have been to Pine Apple (yes, two words) in a rural region of good ‘ol Alabama.

What inspired you to pursue a career in academia?

Actually from a young age I trained to be a professional tennis player, and that is what originally took me over to the US. However, long story short, pain and injuries ended that career pathway for me and so I became curious about pain and volunteered as a research assistant in a lab that was focused on studying pain and its relief. I then had an amazing PhD mentor and I discovered I loved research and then later teaching, was passionate about finding better ways to manage pain, found being a therapist and helping people and training them in coping skills rewarding… and academia allows me to do all those things and more.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about a research career?

I would say find what you are passionate about, and if you can, make a research career out of that. It is a lot easier to work hard when you love what you do.

What was your first role after you graduated from university?

It was as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Washington in Seattle – it was an awesome job!

What are your interests outside of work?

Spending time with family and friends, hiking, biking, tennis, swimming, meditation, yoga and philosophy.

What do you enjoy most about living in Brisbane?

What I love most about living in Brisbane is the outdoors lifestyle – we have the most beautiful beaches and national parks in every direction that are just a couple of hours away and so recharging in nature on the weekend is where you will find me.