Research Affiliates

To create a vibrant and productive research centre we have a wide range of research affiliates who add their expertise, experience and community connections to the CRE.

Their projects are embedded in the CRE research streams – basic science, imaging, clinical trials, implementation research and date linkage.

What is the Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) in Stroke Rehabilitation and Brain Recovery?

  • Improve knowledge about recovery
  • Improve patient selection and rehabilitation research methods
  • Create training opportunities for clinicians and researchers
  • Provide a trials platform to help build clinical trials
  • Build a translation community to help drive future activity
  • Effectively implement proven cost effective interventions
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Research Affiliates – Stroke Rehabilitation & Brain Recovery

Conjoint A/Prof Andrew Searles
Conjoint A/Prof Andrew SearlesAssociate Director Health Research Economics | HMRI
A/Prof Andrew Searles was awarded his PhD in 2011. Since joining Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI), Andrew has applied economic thinking to health-related issues. This has involved the conduct of cost-benefit evaluations as well as the development of costing models which also focus on impact assessments. He has actively contributed to policy in Australia through background briefings for Federal Parliamentarians.

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A/Prof Thomas Linden
A/Prof Thomas LindenGothenburg University
A/Prof Thomas Linden is a Medical Doctor specialising in neurology and psychiatry. He is Conjoint Associate Professor at University of Newcastle and honorary Professorial Fellow at The Florey. He is currently the Chief Medical Officer of Region Halland in Sweden, Senior Lecturer, Senior Consultant at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital and Academy in Gothenburg, Sweden. His research interests are: cognitive and psychiatric problems in stroke patients, rehabilitation models and organisation.
Dr Liam Johnson
Dr Liam JohnsonPostdoctoral Research Fellow | The Florey
Dr Liam Johnson’’s research is focused on establishing a safe and efficacious exercise-training model that will promote recovery, improve cardiovascular health and quality of life after stroke. His research in assessing how exercise capacity changes over time after stroke will inform the development of exercise training guidelines to accelerate recovery, enhance motor function and reduce the disability experienced post-stroke.

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Dr Nadine Andrew
Dr Nadine AndrewNHMRC Research Fellow | Monash University
Dr Nadine Andrew is located in the Translational Public Health and Evaluation Division at Monash Health. She is a leading early career researcher in data linkage, benchmarking and performance monitoring in stroke care. She has a broad and thorough understanding of public health, experience working with clinical registry data, excellent analytical skills and a strong interest in disability related outcomes in the areas of injury and stroke.

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Dr Toby Cumming
Dr Toby CummingPostdoctoral Research Fellow | The Florey
Dr Toby Cumming is a Research Fellow at The Florey and investigates brain changes following stroke, and how these changes can affect fatigue, cognitive function, depression and anxiety. He is interested in how increasing levels of physical activity, both in the acute phase of stroke and in the longer term, can contribute to improved recovery. Toby has the rare (and probably genetic) condition of enjoying statistics.

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Dr Andrew Bivard
Dr Andrew BivardEarly Career Researcher | University of Newcastle
Dr Andrew Bivard completed a two year postdoctoral fellowship at the Melbourne Brain Centre, University of Melbourne. He is an early career fellow at HMRI. The majority of his work is in acute ischemic stroke imaging and has focused on patient selection for reperfusion therapies, to maximise benefits and limit potential harms. This series of work has helped establish CT perfusion as a clinically reliable tool.

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Dr Angelica Thompson-Butel
Dr Angelica Thompson-ButelLecturer | School of Exercise Science | Australian Catholic University
Dr Angelica Thompson-Butel (Accredited Exercise Physiologist) completed her PhD in upper-limb stroke rehabilitation at Neuroscience Research Australia. Her interests include translating evidence-based stroke rehabilitation research to clinical practice, investigating post-stroke assessment tools and establishing ongoing, multidisciplinary rehabilitation programs. She currently lectures at ACU.

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Dr Tamara Tse
Dr Tamara TseProject Officer| The Florey
Dr Tamara Tse is an occupational therapist and occupational scientist. She is dedicated to understanding what people do and why they do what they do, that is ‘participation’. Her vision is to expand our understanding of participation, advocate the integration of participation outcomes into research trials and to translate knowledge from research into clinical practice to address stroke.

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A/Prof Rohan (Frederick) Walker
A/Prof Rohan (Frederick) WalkerAssociate Professor School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy | University of Newcastle
A/Prof Rohan Walker leads the Basic Science research in Newcastle. He completed his undergraduate and doctoral studies at the University of Newcastle and has worked in research since 2006.

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A/Prof Erin Godecke
A/Prof Erin GodeckeSenior Research Fellow in Speech Pathology | Edith Cowan University
A/Prof Erin Godecke is a Senior Research Fellow at Edith Cowan University and completed her PhD in 2009. She is a practising speech pathologist and a clinical researcher. Her international and national research focuses on therapy intensity and therapy type in aphasia recovery after stroke.

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A/Prof Coralie English
A/Prof Coralie EnglishAssociate Professor, Physiotherapy | University of Newcastle
A/Prof Coralie English has recently moved to Newcastle and is interested in improving the health and well-being of stroke survivors through physical activity. In particular, effectiveness of intensive task practice during rehabilitation and health effects of sitting time and physical activity in long-term survivorship.

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A/Prof Neil Spratt
A/Prof Neil SprattAssociate Professor University of Newcastle
A/Prof Neil Spratt completed undergraduate studies in medicine and medical science at the University of Newcastle and completed a PhD in Melbourne. He leads the stroke translation laboratory within the school of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy, and also works as a clinical neurologist at John Hunter Hospital. He sees his role primarily as ‘bridging the gap’ in translational stroke research, with the aims of moving promising therapies from the laboratory into clinical use, and of answering those important clinical questions best addressed with laboratory research.

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Dr Julie Luker
Dr Julie LukerPostdoctoral Research Fellow | University of South Australia (City East)
Dr Julie Luker is working as a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the University of South Australia and is also an Honorary Research Fellow with The Florey. Her research interests are stroke rehabilitation and implementation of evidence. She also investigates the implementation of complex interventions within acute stroke settings.

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Dr Kate Hayward
Dr Kate HaywardPostdoctoral Fellow | The University of British Columbia
Dr Kate Hayward is working at the Brain Behaviour Laboratory, University of British Columbia, Vancouver Canada. Her research interests include understanding the biomarkers of upper limb recovery after stroke and retraining upper limb function after stroke, with a particular focus on people with severe disability.

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Dr Heidi Janssen
Dr Heidi JanssenConjoint Lecturer and AREISSA Trial Coordinator | Hunter Medical Research Institute
Dr Heidi Janssen is an experienced physiotherapist and researcher working in the field of stroke rehabilitation and stroke recovery research. She is the trial co-ordinator for “Altering the Rehabilitation Environment to Improve Stroke Survivor Activity (AREISSA)”, a phase II trial to determine safety and feasibility of an enriched environment during inpatient rehabilitation. Dr Janssen is also research lead for “Tablets and Technology During Stroke Recovery”, a pilot randomised controlled trial to determine the effect access to and use of tablet technology has on stroke survivor quality of life.

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Dr Tina Kaffenberger
Dr Tina KaffenbergerPostdoctoral Research Fellow | The Florey
Dr Tina Kaffenberger, MD by research, has a background in neurology with a particular focus on acute stroke treatment and early stroke rehabilitation. At The Florey she is researching the influence of physical activity on the brain’s capacity for motor learning after stroke. She is also investigating the value of acute brain images for prediction of outcome and therapy effects after stroke.

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Dr Karen Borschmann
Dr Karen BorschmannAustralian Stroke Research Network Research Officer | The Florey
Dr Karen Borschmann has a strong interest in clinical rehabilitation and recently completed her PhD thesis through La Trobe University, in which she investigated the influence of physical activity on bone density and glycaemic control after stroke. Karen works as a research assistant with the AVERT early rehabilitation team at The Florey Institute in Heidelberg, Melbourne.

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Dr Rishma Vidyasagar
Dr Rishma VidyasagarPostdoctoral Research Fellow | The Florey
Dr Rishma Vidyasagar has a background in medical biophysics. She has spent a significant amount of time in the UK working in the field of neuroimaging using MRI and other non invasive brain imaging methods. Her key interest is using advanced MRI methods to study neuroplasticity. She returned to Australia to pursue this interest in the context of stroke recovery.
Dr Elizabeth Lynch
Dr Elizabeth LynchPostdoctoral Research Fellow | The Florey
Dr Liz Lynch works in the Implementation Research stream. She has a clinical background in physiotherapy (inpatient stroke rehabilitation) and has worked on a number of clinical trials (AMOUNT, InTENSE and CIRCIT). She holds a joint appointment with University of Adelaide where she is involved in research regarding different models of facilitation.

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Dr Lin Kooi Ong
Dr Lin Kooi OngResearch Officer | University of Newcastle
Dr Lin Kooi Ong graduated in 2012 with a PhD in Medical Biochemistry focusing on stress biology, neurodegeneration, inflammation and tyrosine hydroxylase regulation in catecholaminergic cells in vivo. He recently joined the Translational Brain Repair and Rehabilitation Research Group to evaluate a variety of innovative approaches to target stroke rehabilitation and brain recovery.

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Dr Tom Lillicrap
Dr Tom LillicrapStroke Recovery Research Assistant | University of Newcastle
Dr Tom Lillicrap studied molecular biology and neuroscience in his undergraduate degree at ANU before going on to complete both an honours project and PhD focussing on clinical stroke research. His PhD project focussed on the role of brain temperature in stroke and he is currently focussed on stroke recovery.

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Dr Di Marsden
Dr Di MarsdenManager, Professional Education and Development, Hunter Stroke Service, Post-doctoral Researcher | University of Newcastle
Dr Di Marsden is a stroke clinician and researcher. Her experience as a physiotherapist informed her PhD investigating cardiorespiratory assessment and training after stroke. Her current research focuses on strategies, including the use of telehealth, to better support community-dwelling stroke survivors to be physically active.

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Dr Rohan Grimley
Dr Rohan GrimleySenior Staff Specialist | Sunshine Coast Health Service District
Dr Rohan Grimley is a Geriatrician / Stroke Physician and chairs the Qld State-wide Stroke Clinical Network. He is interested in use of data to drive system change and quality improvement in stroke. Current projects include tracking rehabilitation assessment and provision from Acute Stroke Unit to completion, time to initial mobilisation and dysphagia screening.

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Dr Christine Shiner
Dr Christine ShinerSenior Research Officer | Sacred Heart Health Service, St Vincent’s Hospital
Dr Christine Shiner completed a PhD in 2016 at Neuroscience Research Australia investigating multimodal clinical, neurophysiological, neuroimaging and genetic correlates of heterogeneous motor impairment and recovery post-stroke. She is currently a Research Officer in the Department of Rehabilitation at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, investigating various neurorehabilitation strategies and their related clinical and neuroimaging outcomes.

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Prof Robin Callister
Prof Robin CallisterProfessor and Head of Human Physiology in the Faculty of Health and Medicine, Head of Exercise Science in the Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition | University of Newcastle
Prof Robin Callister is currently Professor and Head of Human Physiology in the Faculty of Health and Medicine, and Head of Exercise Science in the Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition, at the University of Newcastle. The focus of her research is the use of exercise to improve human health and performance.

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Prof Simon Koblar
Prof Simon KoblarProfessor of Neurology and Neuroscience | University of Adelaide
Prof Koblar is a clinician-scientist with a special interest in molecular and cellular stroke. He established the Stroke Research Programme, the major research programme in stroke in South Australia. He has supervised 61 Honours, Master and PhD students. He consults in Stroke at Central Adelaide Local Health Network.

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Dr Aaron Wong
Dr Aaron WongProject Assistant | University of Newcastle
Dr Aaron S.W. Wong graduated in 2014, with a PhD in Computer Science. His research and interests lie in the interdisciplinary fields of computer science, robotics, cognitive neuroscience, psychology, and biofeedback. Aaron is currently working on neuroimaging projects which include software development of processing pipelines for MRI -Diffusion Weighted Imaging (DWI), and Electroencephalogram (EEG) – ERP, Time-Frequency, and Network Connectivity Analysis.
Dr Monique Kilkenny
Dr Monique KilkennySenior Research Fellow/NHMRC Research Fellow, Stroke & Ageing Group | Monash University
Dr Monique Kilkenny is a Senior Research Fellow/NHMRC Research Fellow within the Stroke & Ageing Group at Monash University. She has been involved in epidemiological and health services research at a National/International level for over 25 years. She is an emerging leader in stroke and collaborates with other leaders in the field of stroke research in program evaluation, data linkage and performance monitoring in stroke care.

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Dr Katie Bagot
Dr Katie BagotPost-doctoral Research Fellow | The Florey
Dr Shanthi Ramanathan
Dr Shanthi RamanathanPost-Doctorate Fellow in Health Economics | HMRI
Dr Shanthi Ramanathan is a researcher and implementation scientist who is currently leading the implementation of a framework to encourage and assess the impact of translational health research (FAIT) within two Centres for Research Excellence in stroke rehabilitation and integrated quality improvement in indigenous primary healthcare. She is an experienced focus group and workshop facilitator.

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