The Centre of Research Excellence in Stroke Rehabilitation and Brain Recovery has PhD students researching at both the Florey in Heidelberg and at HMRI in Newcastle. Current PhD students are working on the following projects:
- Combined Physical and SEnsOry training to improve arm function after stroke. Urvashy Gopaul
- Loss of cardiovascular fitness after stroke. Sharon Kramer
- A clinical investigation of the ArMM (Arm Movement Measurement) device. Maheshwari Aneel Kumar
- An investigation of neuroplasticity underlying the effects of combining arm task specific training and mindfulness-based meditation and yoga training intervention after stroke. Gabriel Axel
- To what extent does the built environment influence the physical, psychological and social well-being of acute neurological patients. Michelle Shannon
- Aerobic exercise to increase efficacy of task-specific training for the upper limb after stroke: a feasibility study. Sarah Valkenborghs
- Predicting recovery after stroke using neuroimaging. Milanka Visser
Urvashy (Sandhya) Gopaul graduated in Physiotherapy from the University of Mauritius in 2008. She completed a Masters in the UK and is now a PhD candidate in stroke rehabilitation in Newcastle. Her project title is Combined Physical and SEnsOry training to improve arm function after stroke.
Sharon Kramer is a PhD candidate at The Florey. Her PhD focusses on cardiovascular fitness training early post-stroke. After finishing her Masters degree she worked at the Dutch and Australasian Cochrane Centre. Currently she works part-time as a research assistant.
Michelle Shannon is a neurological physiotherapist who is interested in health architecture (the architectural and interior design features of healthcare facilities). Her PhD topic is: To what extent do healthcare built environment design features have an effect on the physical, social and emotional well-being of acute neurological patients in an Australian context? This research could inform future design of neurological facilities.
Sarah Valkenborghs is a PhD (Physiotherapy) student based at the HMRI/UoN under the supervision of Professor Paulette van Vliet, Professor Michael Nilsson and Professor Robin Callister and in collaboration with Associate Professor Kirk Erickson (University of Pittsburgh). Her project is a feasibility study to investigate the use of aerobic exercise to increase the efficacy of task-specific training for the upper limb after stroke.
Gabriel Axel is a PhD Candidate at the University of Newcastle & Hunter Medical Research Institute. Gabriel’s PhD research work focuses on (1) predictive coding models of agency in stroke patients with upper limb motor deficits and (2) how these might be modulated by mind-body practices.
Margy Galloway is currently a PhD student at the University of Newcastle. She is investigating the minimum dose of exercise required to elicit a positive effect on fitness for stroke survivors. Margy has a background in exercise science and has worked as a senior sports scientist at the Australian Institute of Sport and the NSW Institute of Sport. Her previous research has been primarily in the biomechanics in sport.
Wei Zhen Chow graduated with a distinction in Master of Medical Science (MMedSc) from the University of Malaya in 2014, focusing on the virology and evolutionary biology of HIV-1. She has received scholarship awards and travel grants to present her research findings at prestigious international HIV/AIDS conferences (CROI 2014 and IAS 2013). She joined the Brain Repair and Rehabilitation team to identify novel biomarkers for early identification and intervention of those at risk of developing post-stroke pathologies.
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Murielle Kluge is working on the molecular effects of stroke on the brain. She is particularly focused on the role of the immune cells of the brain, the microglia, and their involvement in secondary neurodegenerative processes that occur over a long period of time after the initial stroke. She has access to the multi-photon microscope at the Hunter Medical Research Institute which allows her to image live cellular movement of microglia in the context of stroke.
Ruby Lipson-Smith is a PhD student at the Florey. She is investigating rehabilitation hospital design and its impact on patients’ cognition, learning, and recovery. Ruby has a background in psychology and works as a research officer at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in patient experiences research.
Korinne Nicolas graduated in Psychology (honours) from the University of Newcastle in 2015. She is a PhD Candidate based at the UoN/HMRI under the supervision of A/Prof Frini Karayanidis, Dr Andrew Bivard and Emeritus Prof Patricia Michie. Her research focuses on cognitive abilities post neurological event and how different cardiovascular pathways can affect cognition.
Paul Mackie is a PhD Candidate (Physiotherapy) based at the University of Newcastle and Hunter Medical Research Institute. He is working under the supervision of A/Prof Coralie English looking at breaking up sitting time after stroke. His project is investigating how much less sitting is needed to improve blood pressure after stroke (BUST-BP-Dose).
Giovanni is a 3rd year PhD student at the University of Newcastle, Australia. His research interests lie in the areas of glia activation, chronic stress, stroke and stroke associated secondary neurodegeneration.
Venesha Rethnam is a PhD candidate at the Florey Institute. Venesha’s PhD research project focuses on methodically analysing the high quality AVERT (A Very Early Rehabilitation Trial) dataset to explore who should engage in early rehabilitation, how early they should engage and the intensity of this therapy. This information will be used to develop clinical practice guidelines through prospective data collection from a range of stakeholders and sophisticated clinical decision analysis models.
Dawn is a PhD candidate at the Menzies Institute for Medical research in Hobart, Tasmania. Her PhD project focuses on sedentary behaviour and physical activity after stroke, and what factors may influence these behaviours. Dawn is a physiotherapist, with 19 years clinical experience, predominantly working in rehabilitation, with a particular interest in stroke rehabilitation.
As a PhD student at the University of Newcastle, Milanka is investigating how we can use imaging of the brain (neuroimaging) to predict recovery after stroke. She is very enthusiastic about the project as it allows her to combine her background in both physiotherapy and human movement sciences.
Katarzyna is a PhD student in stroke recovery department with a special interest in neurobiology of stress at the University of Newcastle. More specifically her work examined corticosterone (stress hormone) influence on recovery after stroke. Educational backgrounds include M.Sc. in biotechnology from University of Warsaw and M.Sc. in Chemistry from Military University of Technology.
Zidan Zhao is a PhD student in A/Prof Rohan Walker’s lab, where he researches the effect of high altitude training on stroke recovery. He is building his skills in immunohistochemistry, Western blot, PCR, ELISA, animal behavioural experiment, real time imaging and other techniques.
Nicola Postol commenced her PhD (Physiotherapy) in Robotics in Neurorehabilitation in September 2016. The project team are assessing the potential benefit of the REX robotic exoskeleton with those who have severe mobility impairment due to stroke or traumatic brain injury, and Multiple Sclerosis.
Alistair Walsh Bsc(Hon) Cognitive Neuroscience, is a PhD candidate under the supervision of Prof Leeanne Carey and A/Prof Kok-Leong Ong. Alistair is using machine learning/artificial intelligence methods in the prediction of optimal treatment and recovery trajectory for chronic stroke patients.
Sonia Sanchez- Bezanilla is a PhD Student based in the stroke recovery group at HMRI. The topic of her thesis focuses on investigating the molecular reason behind cognitive impairment seen after stroke. Her project focuses on investigating the role of the waste clearance mechanisms in the brain post-stroke and its relationship with the accumulation of neurotoxic proteins and cognitive decline.
Nerida Firth is a pharmacist undertaking a PhD in stroke rehabilitation through James Cook University, Townsville. She is investigating drug interventions that have potential to promote motor recovery in stroke survivors engaging in physical rehabilitation. This project will contribute to the body of evidence regarding the use of drug interventions to optimize neurorecovery after stroke.