Suzanne completed her PhD at Monash University in 2008, investigating opioid and benzodiazepine interactions, and the impact of their concurrent use on the safety opioid substitution treatment. In 2010-11 she was awarded a NIDA Clinical Trials Network INVEST Fellowship, and spent 18 months in Los Angeles at UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs, working on national multisite clinical trials using medications for opioid and cocaine dependence. In 2011 Suzanne was awarded a National Health and Medical Research Council Early Career Fellowship, and she joined NDARC in 2014.
Her current work is focussed on identifying and responding to prescription and over-the-counter drug related problems. She is involved in a number of prospective cohort studies examining the complex trajectories of problematic prescription and over-the-counter drug use, in addition to clinical studies examining pain management in an important and growing clinical population of patients with concurrent pain and opioid dependence. Suzanne has 15 years clinical experience as a pharmacist in substance dependence treatment settings having worked in both specialist treatment and community based alcohol and drug settings, and is passionate about improving clinical responses to prescription and over-the-counter drug problems.
Suzanne a member of Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs (APSAD), the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD), the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) and the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP). She serves on three Editorial Boards, for Drug and Alcohol Review, the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment and the Mental Health Clinician (College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists).
She has received a number of awards including the Ian Webster Award for Research Excellence (2016), Dean of Medicines Rising Star Award, UNSW (2014), the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) Early Career Investigator Award (2011), The Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs (APSAD) Early Career Researcher Award (2011), and a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) International Forum Travel Award (2012-6).
Dr Nielsen is a current recipient of an National Health and Medical Research Council Translating Research Into Practice (TRIP) Fellowships (2017-2018).
Current research interests:
- Prescription drug problems
- Treatment and prevention strategies for pharmaceutical opioid dependence
- Over-the-counter codeine dependence
- Trajectories of pharmaceutical opioid use
- Acute and chronic pain management for opioid dependent people
- Benzodiazepine dependence
- The interface between pain and opioid dependence
- Efficacy and safety of cannabinoid therapeutics
- Clinical trials, including lab-based psychopharmacological studies
- Survey based studies including online surveys
- Prospective cohort studies