ESSA Research Committee

The Research Committee has been established to oversee and define ESSA’s research priorities and activities, as well as assist with the translation and dissemination of Australian exercise and sports science research.

Research Committee Members

  • Chair – Professor Belinda Beck 
  • Deputy Chair - Dr Ria Arnold
  • Members – Professor Pazit Levinger, Associate Professor Kevin Netto, Associate Professor Matt Driller, Dr Carolina Sandler, Associate Professor Naroa Etxebarria

Professor Belinda Beck

Belinda Beck is a Professor at Griffith University (Gold Coast, QLD) and the Menzies Health Institute Queensland. She founded The Bone Clinic, a translational research facility and clinical practice providing evidence-based exercise for patients with osteoporosis. She graduated from The University of Queensland (BHMS[Ed]) and the University of Oregon (MSc and PhD) and completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in the Stanford University School of Medicine (CA, USA).  Her work, primarily related to the effects of mechanical loading on bone, has involved both animal and human models, from basic to clinical research. Her particular focuses have been exercise interventions across the lifespan for the prevention of osteoporotic fracture, and the management of bone stress injuries in athletes and military recruits. Recent projects have included the LIFTMOR clinical trials, the findings of which inform the Onero exercise program implemented at The Bone Clinic and licensed for delivery by exercise physiologists and physiotherapists around the world.

Professor Pazit Levinger, AES, AEP
Professor Pazit Levinger is an Allied Health researcher (Accredited Exercise Physiologist) from the National Ageing Research Institute in Melbourne. She has more than 15 years’ experience, skills and expertise in active ageing, physical activity and falls prevention, quantitative gait analysis and clinical biomechanics with the focus on people with osteoarthritis. Professor Levinger’s research focuses on research translation and she leads several projects in the community to improve older people health and well-being through change in the built environment and physical activity promotion intervention for older people.

Professor Kevin Netto

Professor Kevin Netto is the Professor of Sport Science at Curtin University. His training is in biomechanics, sports science and mechanical engineering. Kevin is interested in optimising human performance. He uses contemporary biomechanical techniques to assess, augment and enhance occupational and sporting tasks. His findings resonate with industry and government who generously support his work. 

Dr Ria Arnold, AES, AEP

Ria Arnold is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist and Associate Professor in the Discipline of Exercise Science and Rehabilitation at the University of Wollongong. Her research is focused on reducing the impact of complications and multimorbidity for people chronic kidney disease and diabetes through exercise and physical activity interventions. She has more than 30 peer reviewed publications, >1.2million in research funding, and numerous awards. Dr Arnold leads a research team to expand the evidence base for inclusion of Exercise Physiology in the multidisciplinary care team for chronic kidney disease. In addition, she has active collaborative endeavours with researchers in Population Health aimed at improving primary prevention of metabolic diseases by evaluating the use of Exercise Physiology Medicare item numbers in different health districts across NSW.

Associate Professor Matt Driller, ASpS 2

Matt Driller is an Associate Professor in Sport and Exercise Science at La Trobe University in Melbourne. Matt has both academic and industry experience and has worked as a Sports Physiologist at the Australian Institute of Sport and as the Head of Performance Physiology at High Performance Sport New Zealand. Matt has worked with a range of sports spanning from age group/development athletes through to Olympic and Paralympic medallists. Matt has published over 120 peer-reviewed journal articles, with the majority of these papers in the area of recovery and sleep in elite athletes.

Dr Carolina Sandler, PhD, BSc, AES, AEP

Dr Sandler is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, clinical-researcher, and Lecturer at Western Sydney University. Her program of research focuses on understanding the pathophysiology, management (incl. physical activity & multidisciplinary interventions), clinician and patient education of fatigue as a sequalae of acute infection (post-infective fatigue) and cancer (post-cancer fatigue). Her other program of research focuses on the role of physical activity in cancer survivors. She holds adjunct positions at The Kirby Institute UNSW, Menzies Health Institute Queensland at Griffith University, and The University of Queensland. She was awarded a Cancer Institute NSW Early Career Fellowship (2022-2025).


Associate Professor Naroa Etxebarria, ASpS 2

Associate Professor Naroa Etxebarria is an Accredited Sports Scientist (II) from the Research Institute for Sport & Exercise at the University of Canberra. She has more than 15 years of experience in applied sports physiology in triathlon performance and endurance physiology. A/Prof. Etxebarria’s research focuses on translating research and applying it to the everyday training and competition environment for athletes and coaches to improve performance in elite and sub-elite sport.

For more information about the Research Committee, please contact Jessica Muir, ESSA's Policy & Advocacy Project Coordinator: [email protected]