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Dr Kristy Themelis

Dr Kristy Themelis

Dr Kristy Themelis

Research Fellow
T: +44 (0)1273 873121
Location: Trafford Centre for Medical Research, University of Sussex, BN1 9RY

Areas of expertise: Experimental psychology, Behavioural Neuroscience, Chronic pain 

Research areas: Chronic pain, fatigue, psychological modulation of pain, interventions for pain management, multisensory processing, body representation and its development in healthy and clinical groups, body-awareness and embodiment. 



Dr Kristy Themelis completed her PhD in Psychology at the University of Nottingham in 2017. Her PhD used virtual reality and bodily illusions to investigate body representation and how this might be distorted in chronic pain. Kristy used to work as a physiotherapist in the Netherlands, before moving to the UK to complete a MSc in Pain; Science and Society at King’s College London. Kristy is now working as a Research fellow in the Department of Neuroscience in the Brighton and Sussex Medical School.  


Kristy's long-term research interests focus on seeking to understand individual differences in pain sensitivity. In particular, she is fascinated by why people differ markedly in their perception and experience of pain, even when stimulus intensity is controlled for within an experimental paradigm. This line of research builds upon her PhD work, where she observed considerable individual differences in the analgesic effects of multisensory illusions in people with osteoarthritis. Understanding these differences are crucial as they can have important implications for tailoring treatment and guiding decisions throughout the treatment process.

Kristy is now working on Arthritis Research UK funded project exploring mechanisms of chronic pain and fatigue alongside Dr Jessica Eccles, Prof Davies, Prof Critchley, Prof Cercignani, Dr Neil Harrison and Dr Mike Tarzi, combining Psychometrics; psychophysics, psychophysiology, autonomic testing and structural and functional MRI brain scanning. 


Selected publications

Greenfield, K., Ropar, D., Themelis, K., Ratcliffe, N., & Newport, R. (2017). Developmental Changes in Sensitivity to Spatial and Temporal Properties of Sensory Integration Underlying Body Representation. Multisensory Research.

Themelis, K., & Newport, R. (2016). “Investigating the effects of multisensory illusions on pain and body perception in people with osteoarthritis”. The British Pain Society Annual Scientific Meeting 2016 May 10-12; Harrogate, UK.

Newport, R., Auty, K., Carey, M., Greenfield, K., Howard, E., Ratcliffe, N., Thair, H., &  Themelis, K. (2015). Give it a Tug and Feel it grow: Extending Body Perception Through the Universal Nature of Illusory Finger Stretching. i-perception 6(5) 1-4. doi:10.1177/2041669515599310

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