Associate Professor David Mahns

Associate Professor David Mahns

Associate Professor, Integrative Physiology,
School of Medicine


David Mahns is a Senior Lecturer in Integrative Physiology at the School of Medicine, University of Western Sydney. After completing his doctoral work in Cardiovascular Physiology (1999) David undertook post-doctoral work in sensory physiology under the direction of Professor Mark Rowe as a NHMRC research officer. In 2003 he was appointed as Lecturer & Course coordinator (2003-2006). In 2007 David was appointed as a senior lecturer in Integrative Physiology at the University of Western Sydney. David specializes in quantifying the contribution of sensory nerves arising from skin and deep structures such as muscle and bone to perception. Recent work has focused on defining how we distinguish between non-painful (eg innocuous touch) and painful stimuli. These questions are addressed using psychophysical observations and detailed electrophysiological recording. In collaboration with Professor Macefield we are examining the contribution of different sensory nerves to the abnormal condition of allodynia where gentle touch is perceived painful.

Professional Activities:

Member, Australian Neuroscience SocietyMember, UWS School of Medicine Executive CommitteeMember, UWS School of Medicine Research CommitteeHigher Degrees Research Coordinator, UWS School of MedicineHonours Coordinator, UWS School of MedicineDoctoral Supervisor: Saad Nagi, Matthew Barton, Allan Lotfizadeh, Carol GanoHonours Supervisor: Mariam MamozaiMasters Supervisor: Larah Jarque

Community Engagement:

Hosting high-school work experience students in research laboratoryPublic and school lectures on careers in medical researchAnnual participation, UWS Youth Science ForumAnnual participation/promotion, Australian Brain Bee Challenge

This information has been contributed by Associate Professor Mahns.


  • PhD University of New South Wales


  • Integrative physiology
  • Microneurography
  • Neuroscience
  • Pain and Tactile sensibility
  • Sensory physiology

Organisational Unit (School / Division)

  • School of Medicine


Phone: (02) 4620 3784
Location: 30.2.16

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Journal Articles

  • Asgarov, R., Sen, M., Mikhael, M., Karl, T., Gyengesi, E., Mahns, D., Malladi, C. and Muench, G. (2022), 'Characterisation of the mouse cerebellar proteome in the GFAP-IL6 model of chronic neuroinflammation', Cerebellum, vol 21, no 3 , pp 404 - 424.
  • Sen, M., Mahns, D., Coorsen, J., Shortland, P. and Shortland, P. (2022), 'The roles of microglia and astrocytes in phagocytosis and myelination : insights from the cuprizone model of multiple sclerosis', Glia, vol 70, no 7 , pp 1215 - 1250.
  • Barman, S., Zaman, M., Veljanoski, F., Malladi, C., Mahns, D. and Wu, M. (2022), 'Expression profiles of the genes associated with zinc homeostasis in normal and cancerous breast and prostate cells', Metallomics, vol 14, no 8 .
  • Almuslehi, M., Sen, M., Shortland, P., Mahns, D. and Coorssen, J. (2022), 'Histological and top-down proteomic analyses of the visual pathway in the cuprizone demyelination model', Journal of Molecular Neuroscience, vol 72, no 6 , pp 1374 - 1401.
  • Zagami, A., Shaikh, S., Mahns, D. and Lambert, G. (2021), 'A potential role for two brainstem nuclei in craniovascular nociception and the triggering of migraine headache', Cephalalgia, vol 41, no 2 , pp 203 - 216.
  • Kiriaev, L., Perry, B., Mahns, D., Shortland, P., Redwan, A., Morley, J. and Head, S. (2021), 'Minocycline treatment reduces mass and force output from fast-twitch mouse muscles and inhibits myosin production in C2C12 myotubes', Frontiers in Physiology, vol 12 .
  • Sen, M., Almuslehi, M., Shortland, P., Mahns, D. and Coorssen, J. (2021), 'Proteomics of Multiple Sclerosis : inherent issues in defining the pathoetiology and identifying (early) biomarkers', International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol 22, no 14 .
  • Dunn, J., Nagi, S. and Mahns, D. (2020), 'Minocycline reduces experimental muscle hyperalgesia induced by repeated nerve growth factor injections in humans : a placebo-controlled double-blind drug-crossover study', European Journal of Pain, vol 24, no 6 , pp 1138 - 1150.
  • Sen, M., Almuslehi, M., Coorssen, J., Mahns, D. and Shortland, P. (2020), 'Behavioural and histological changes in cuprizone-fed mice', Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, vol 87 , pp 508 - 523.
  • Almuslehi, M., Sen , M., Shortland, P., Mahns, D. and Coorssen, J. (2020), 'CD8 T-cell recruitment into the central nervous system of cuprizone-fed mice : relevance to modelling the etiology of Multiple Sclerosis', Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, vol 14 .
  • Sen, M., Almuslehi, M., Shortland, P., Coorsen, J. and Mahns, D. (2020), 'Revisiting the pathoetiology of Multiple Sclerosis : has the tail been wagging the mouse?', Frontiers in Immunology, vol 11 .
  • Dunn, J., Mahns, D. and Nagi, S. (2020), 'Modulation of muscle pain is not somatotopically restricted : an experimental model using concurrent hypertonic-normal saline infusions in humans', Frontiers in Pain Research, vol 1 .
  • Sliow, A., Ma, Z., Gargiulo, G., Mahns, D., Mawad, D., Breen, P., Stoodley, M., Houang, J., Kuchel, R., Tettamanzi, G., Tilley, R., Frost, S., Morley, J., Longo, L. and Lauto, A. (2019), 'Stimulation and repair of peripheral nerves using bioadhesive graft-antenna', Advanced Science, vol 6, no 11 .
  • Gebremedhn, E., Shortland, P. and Mahns, D. (2019), 'Variability of oxaliplatin-induced neuropathic pain symptoms in each cycle and its implications on the management of colorectal cancer patients : a retrospective study in South Western Sydney Local Health District Hospitals, Sydney, Australia', Journal of Oncology, vol 2019 .
  • Birznieks, I., McIntyre, S., Nilsson, H., Nagi, S., Macefield, V., Mahns, D. and Vickery, R. (2019), 'Tactile sensory channels over-ruled by frequency decoding system that utilizes spike pattern regardless of receptor type', eLife, vol 8 .
  • Sen, M., Mahns, D., Coorssen, J. and Shortland, P. (2019), 'Behavioural phenotypes in the cuprizone model of central nervous system demyelination', Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, vol 107 , pp 23 - 46.
  • Sen, M., Almuslehi, M., Gyengesi, E., Myers, S., Shortland, P., Mahns, D. and Coorssen, J. (2019), 'Suppression of the peripheral immune system limits the central immune response following cuprizone-feeding : relevance to modelling Multiple Sclerosis', Cells, vol 8, no 11 .
  • Ng, K., Montes-Adrian, N., Mahns, D. and Gladman, M. (2018), 'Quantification and neurochemical coding of the myenteric plexus in humans : no regional variation between the distal colon and rectum', Neurogastroenterology and Motility, vol 30, no 3 .
  • Cui, C., Faraji, N., Lauto, A., Travaglini, L., Tonkin, J., Mahns, D., Humphrey, E., Terracciano, C., Gooding, J., Seidel, J. and Mawad, D. (2018), 'A flexible polyaniline-based bioelectronic patch', Biomaterials Science, vol 6, no 3 , pp 493 - 500.
  • Gebremedhn, E., Shortland, P. and Mahns, D. (2018), 'The incidence of acute oxaliplatin-induced neuropathy and its impact on treatment in the first cycle : a systematic review', BMC Cancer, vol 18 .
  • Dunn, J., Mahns, D. and Nagi, S. (2017), 'Why does a cooled object feel heavier? Psychophysical investigations into the Weber's Phenomenon', BMC Neuroscience, vol 18 .
  • Samour, M., Nagi, S., Shortland, P. and Mahns, D. (2017), 'Minocycline prevents muscular pain hypersensitivity and cutaneous allodynia produced by repeated intramuscular injections of hypertonic saline in healthy human participants', The Journal of Pain, vol 18, no 8 , pp 994 - 1005.
  • Samour, M., Shaikh, S., Mahns, D. and Shortland, P. (2017), 'Noxious, but not innocuous, thermal stimuli evoke pERK expression in dorsal horn neurons after spared nerve injury in adult rats', Neuroscience Letters, vol 654 , pp 49 - 55.
  • Shaikh, S., Shortland, P., Lauto, A., Barton, M., Morley, J. and Mahns, D. (2016), 'Sensory perturbations using suture and sutureless repair of transected median nerve in rats', Somatosensory and Motor Research, vol 33, no 1 , pp 20 - 28.
  • Shortland, P. and Mahns, D. (2016), 'Differing roles for parvalbumin neurons after nerve injury', Neural Regeneration Research, vol 11, no 8 , pp 1241 - 1242.
  • Ng, K., Brookes, S., Montes-Adrian, N., Mahns, D. and Gladman, M. (2016), 'Electrophysiological characterization of human rectal afferents', American Journal of Physiology: Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, vol 311, no 6 , pp 1047 - 1055.
  • Barton, M., StJohn, J., Tatian, A., Riches, J., Mograby, O. and Mahns, D. (2016), 'Morphological and morphometric analysis of the distal branches of the rat brachial plexus', Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology, vol 121, no 3 , pp 240 - 252.
  • Barton, M., Morley, J., Stoodley, M., Shaikh, S., Mahns, D. and Lauto, A. (2015), 'Long term recovery of median nerve repair using laser-activated chitosan adhesive films', Journal of Biophotonics, .
  • Mawad, D., Warren, C., Barton, M., Mahns, D., Morley, J., Pham, B., Pham, N., Kueh, S. and Lauto, A. (2015), 'Lysozyme depolymerization of photo-activated chitosan adhesive films', Carbohydrate Polymers, vol 121 , pp 56 - 63.
  • Nagi, S., Dunn, J., Birznieks, I., Vickery, R. and Mahns, D. (2015), 'The effects of preferential A- and C-fibre blocks and T-type calcium channel antagonist on detection of low-force monofilaments in healthy human participants', BMC Neuroscience, vol 16, no 1 .
  • Shaikh, S., Nagi, S., McGlone, F. and Mahns, D. (2015), 'Psychophysical investigations into the role of low-threshold C fibres in non-painful affective processing and pain modulation', PLoS One, vol 10, no 9 .
  • Samour, M., Nagi, S. and Mahns, D. (2015), 'Cav3.2-expressing low-threshold C fibres in human hairy skin contribute to cold allodynia : a non-TRPV1- and non-TRPM8-dependent phenomenon', Pain, vol 156, no 8 , pp 1566 - 1575.
  • Condon, M., Birznieks, I., Hudson, K., Chelvanayagam, D., Mahns, D., Olausson, H. and Macefield, V. (2014), 'Differential sensitivity to surface compliance by tactile afferents in the human finger pad', Journal of Neurophysiology, vol 111, no 6 , pp 1308 - 1317.
  • Barton, M., Morley, J., Stoodley, M., Lauto, A. and Mahns, D. (2014), 'Nerve repair : toward a sutureless approach', Neurosurgical Review, vol 37, no 4 , pp 585 - 595.
  • Barton, M., Morley, J., Mahns, D., Mawad, D., Wuhrer, R., Fania, D., Frost, S., Loebbe, C. and Lauto, A. (2014), 'Tissue repair strength using chitosan adhesives with different physical-chemical characteristics', Journal of Biophotonics, vol 7, no 11-12 , pp 948 - 955.
  • Arabzadeh, E., Clifford, C., Harris, J., Mahns, D., Macefield, V. and Birznieks, I. (2014), 'Single tactile afferents outperform human subjects in a vibrotactile intensity discrimination task', Journal of Neurophysiology, vol 112, no 10 , pp 2382 - 2387.
  • Nagi, S. and Mahns, D. (2013), 'C-tactile fibers contribute to cutaneous allodynia after eccentric exercise', Journal of Pain, vol 14, no 5 , pp 538 - 548.
  • Mahns, D. and Nagi, S. (2013), 'An investigation into the peripheral substrates involved in the tactile modulation of cutaneous pain with emphasis on the C-tactile fibres', Experimental Brain Research, vol 227, no 4 , pp 457 - 465.
  • Nagi, S. and Mahns, D. (2013), 'Mechanical allodynia in human glabrous skin mediated by low-threshold cutaneous mechanoreceptors with unmyelinated fibres', Experimental Brain Research, vol 231, no 2 , pp 139 - 151.
  • Barton, M., Morley, J., Stoodley, M., Ng, K., Piller, S., Duong, H., Mawad, D., Mahns, D. and Lauto, A. (2013), 'Laser-activated adhesive films for sutureless median nerve anastomosis', Journal of Biophotonics, vol 6, no 11-12 , pp 938 - 949.
  • Rubin, T., Lake, S., Van der Kooi, S., Lucas, N., Mahns, D., Henderson, L. and Macefield, V. (2012), 'Predicting the spatiotemporal expression of local and referred acute muscle pain in individual subjects', Experimental Brain Research, vol 223, no 1 , pp 11 - 18.
  • Barton, M., Piller, S., Mahns, D., Morley, J., Mawad, D., Longo, L. and Lauto, A. (2012), 'In vitro cell compatibility study of rose bengal-chitosan adhesives', Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, vol 44, no 9 , pp 762 - 768.
  • Lauto, A., Stoodley, M., Barton, M., Morley, J., Mahns, D., Longo, L. and Mawad, D. (2012), 'Fabrication and application of rose bengal-chitosan films in laser tissue repair', Journal of Visualized Experiments, , no 68 .
  • Nagi, S., Rubin, T., Chelvanayagam, D., Macefield, V. and Mahns, D. (2011), 'Allodynia mediated by C-tactile afferents in human hairy skin', Journal of Physiology, vol 589, no 16 , pp 4065 - 4075.
  • Ivanusic, J., Sahai, V. and Mahns, D. (2009), 'The cortical representation of sensory inputs arising from bone', Brain Research, vol 1269, no 0 , pp 47 - 53.
  • Weerakkody, N., Mahns, D., Taylor, J. and Gandevia, S. (2007), 'Impairment of human proprioception by high-frequency cutaneous vibration', The Journal of Physiology, vol 581, no 3 , pp 971 - 980.
  • Mahns, D., Ivanusic, J., Sahai, V. and Rowe, M. (2006), 'An intact peripheral nerve preparation for monitoring the activity of single, periosteal afferent nerve fibres', Journal Of Neuroscience Methods, , pp 140 - 144.
  • Mahns, D., Perkins, N., Sahai, V., Robinson, L. and Rowe, M. (2006), 'Vibrotactile Frequency Discrimination in Human Hairy Skin', Journal of Neurophysiology, vol 95, no 3 , pp 1442 - 1450.
  • Sahai, V., Mahns, D., Perkins, N., Robinson, L. and Rowe, M. (2006), 'Vibrotactile coding capacities of spinocervical tract neurons in the cat', Journal of Neurophysiology, vol 95, no 3 , pp 1465 - 1477.
  • Sahai, V., Mahns, D., Perkins, N., Robinson, L., Coleman, G. and Rowe, M. (2006), 'Processing of vibrotactile inputs from hairy skin by neurons of the dorsal column nuclei in the cat', Journal of Neurophysiology, vol 95, no 3 , pp 1451 - 1464.
  • Ivanusic, J., Mahns, D., Sahai, V. and Rowe, M. (2006), 'Absence of Large-diameter sensory fibres in a nerve to the cat humerus', Journal of Anatomy, vol 208, no 2 , pp 251 - 255.
  • Rowe, M., Tracey, D., Mahns, D., Sahai, V. and Ivanusic, J. (2005), 'Mechanosensory perception : are there contributions from bone-associated receptors', Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology, vol 32, no 1-2 , pp 100 - 108.
  • Mahns, D., Coleman, G., Ahswell, K. and Rowe, M. (2003), 'Tactile sensory function in the forearm of the monotreme Tachyglossus aculeatus', The Journal of Comparative Neurology, vol 459, no 2 , pp 173 - 185.
  • Coleman, G., Mahns, D., Zhang, H. and Rowe, M. (2003), 'Impulse propagation over tactile and kinaesthetic sensory axons to central target neurones of the cuneate nucleus in cat', The Journal of Physiology, vol 550, no 2 , pp 553 - 562.
  • Rowe, M., Mahns, D., Bohringer, R., Ashwell, K. and Sahai, V. (2003), 'Tactile neural mechanisms in monotremes', Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part A: Molecular and Integrative Physiology, vol 136, no 4 , pp 883 - 893.
  • Zachariah, M., Coleman, G., Mahns, D., Zhang, H. and Rowe, M. (2001), 'Transmission security for single, hair follicle-related tactile afferent fibers and their target cuneate neurons in cat', Journal of Neurophysiology, vol 86, no 2 , pp 900 - 911.

Conference Papers

  • Sen, M., Shortland, P., Myers, S., Coorsen, J. and Mahns, D. (2017), 'Treatment with pertussis toxin does not induce a multiple sclerosis-like phenotype in cuprizone-treated mice', Society for Neuroscience. Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., Wash..

Current Projects

Title: Development and validation of early diagnostic test screens for dementia
  • The Ainsworth Foundation
Western Researchers: Mourad Tayebi, David Mahns, Morven Cameron and Paul Hurley
Years: 2021-07-01 - 2025-06-30
ID: P00027520
Title: Linking individualised cell signatures and personalised medicine
  • The Ian Potter Foundation Limited
Western Researchers: David Mahns
Years: 2022-05-01 - 2023-06-01
ID: P00027722

Previous Projects

Title: Finding the key to the migraine riddle
  • Brain Foundation
Western Researchers: Geoffrey Lambert and David Mahns
Years: 2015-03-30 - 2015-12-31
ID: P00022768
Title: Peripheral encoding of forces associated with manipulation by tactile afferents in the human finger
  • University of Western Sydney
Western Researchers: John Morley and David Mahns
Years: 2007-12-10 - 2008-12-09
ID: P0015935
Title: Neural Mechanisms of Bone Pain
  • National Health and Medical Research Council (ACRG)
Western Researchers: David Mahns
Years: 2007-02-23 - 2010-12-31
ID: P0015480
Title: Neural mechanisms of muscle pain in humans: referral, hypoalgesia and allodynia
  • University of Western Sydney
Western Researchers: David Mahns
Years: 2009-12-16 - 2011-09-30
ID: P00018008
Title: Impact of Stochastic Noise on Nocioception - Can Protective Sensation be Enhanced without Affecting Pain Perception?
  • South West Sydney Limb Preservation and Wound Research
Western Researchers: Paul Breen, Jorge Serrador and David Mahns
Years: 2021-02-01 - 2022-02-07
ID: P00027041
Title: Pleasure & Pain: Defining The Origin and Contextual Boundaries
  • University of Western Sydney
Western Researchers: David Mahns
Years: 2010-11-17 - 2014-08-31
ID: P00019329


Associate Professor Mahns is available to be a principal supervisor for doctoral projects

Current Supervision

Thesis Title: Neurophysiology of Human Pelvic Viscera
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Antenna Design using Intrinsically Conducting Polymers (ICPs)
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Assessment of the Impact of Dietary Factors in the Control of PSA in Men with Advanced Prostate Cancer
Field of Research:

Previous Supervision

Thesis Title: Acute Experimental Muscle Pain: Spatiotemporal Expression of Local and Referred Pain in Human Subjects
Field of Research: Medical Science
Thesis Title: Low-Threshold Unmyelinated Mechanoreceptors: A Novel Substrate of Allodynia in Human Skin
Field of Research: Medical Science
Thesis Title: Laser Activated Chitosan Adhesives for Sutureless Median Nerve Repair
Field of Research: Surgery
Thesis Title: Sutureless repair of transected nerves using photochemically bonded collagen membranes
Field of Research: Surgery; Other Health
Thesis Title: Allodynia: Mechanisms and Treatment
Field of Research: Medical Science; Other Health
Thesis Title: Chitosan-Based Nano-Structured Biomaterials for Sutureless Tissue Repair
Field of Research: Biological Sciences; Physics; Biological Sciences, N.e.c.; Other Natural And Physical Sciences

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