Nicholas Vasilis Karayannis

Nicholas Vasilis Karayannis
Assistant Professor
Grover Center W295


  • Bachelor of Science, Biological Sciences, Ohio University, 1995
  • Master’s in Physical Therapy, Ohio University, 2000
  • Philosophy of Doctorate, Physiotherapy, University of Queensland, 2013
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship in Interdisciplinary Pain Medicine, Stanford University, 2017

Research Interests

The mission of the Akesó Laboratory is to provide precise patient-treatment matching of adaptive mind-body interventions for people living with persistent spinal pain. To achieve this goal of identifying for whom treatments work, we leverage clinical trials that are theory-driven, process-focused, and combined with physiological measures of trunk motor control, brain activity, and pain sensitivity. Ultimately, we intend to refine the content and delivery of somatic-based rehabilitation approaches (Physical Therapy, Yoga, Tai Chi) integrated with neuroscience-based mind-training practices to reduce suffering and cultivate activity engagement and wellbeing.

Akesó Lab Website

Teaching Experience

Pain education to manage musculoskeletal pain which centers upon: (1) screening for biopsychosocial factors and health comorbidities, (2) embracing of patient-centered communication, (3) active learning approaches to facilitate behavioral change, and (4) coaching towards self-management.


A complete list of published work is available at NCBI My Bibliography:

Selected peer-reviewed

Karayannis, NV, Jull, GA, and Hodges, PW. Physical therapy-based classification approaches to low back pain: Comparison of subgroups through review and developer/expert survey. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 2012; 13(24): 1-33, PMID: 22348236

Karayannis, NV, Smeets, RJEM, van den Hoorn, W, and Hodges, PW. Fear of movement is related to trunk stiffness in low back pain. PLOS One, 2013; 8(6): e67779, PMID: 23826339

Karayannis, NV, Jull, GA, and Hodges, PW. Movement-based subgrouping in low back pain: synergy and divergence in approaches. Physiotherapy, 2016, 102(2): 159-69, PMID: 26126426

Karayannis, NV, Nicholas, MK, Jull, GA, and Hodges PW. Psychological features and their relationship to movement-based subgroups in people living with low back pain. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 2017, 99(1): 121-128, PMID: 28989073

Zheng, P, Kao, MC, Karayannis, NV, Smuck, M. Stagnant physical therapy referral rates alongside rising opioid prescription rates in patients with low back pain in the United States 1997-2010. Spine, 2017, 42(2): i-i-E61-E129, 71-134, PMID: 28441685

Karayannis, NV, Sturgeon, JA, Chih-Kao, M, Cooley, C, Mackey, S. Physical function and pain interference demonstrate poor longitudinal association in people living with chronic pain: A PROMIS investigation. Pain, 2017, 158(6): 1063-1068, PMID: 28221284

Karayannis, NV. A focus on the science of behavior change would provide a deeper understanding of pain-related activity interference and the ability to sustain engagement in valued physical activities. Pain Medicine, 2019, 20(2): 210-2011, PMID: 30247692

Karayannis, NV, Baumann, I, Sturgeon, JA, Melloh, M, Mackey, SC. The impact of social isolation on pain interference: A longitudinal study. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 2019, 53(1): 65-74, PMID: 29668841


  • National Health and Medical Research Council Doctoral Scholarship in Physiotherapy
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy Cardon Research Grant
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse T32 Postdoctoral Fellowship in Interdisciplinary Pain Research

Awards and Honors

  • Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist, American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties
  • Fellow American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists
  • Certified Yoga and Tai Chi Teacher
  • Stanford Chronic Pain Self-Management Program Leader
  • Qualified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Teacher
  • International Association for the Study of Pain, North American Pain School Award
  • The Mind and Life Summer Research Institute New Investigator Award
  • Honors Scholar and Certificate in Medical Education, Stanford University School of Medicine Clinical Teaching and Mentoring Academy

University/Professional Service

  • Ohio University Wellness Champion
  • Honors Tutorial College Translational Health Program Mentor