Department of Physiotherapy - Research
Research led by the department of physiotherapy has a strong focus on implementation and health services research across the lifespan, including the use of digital health to develop innovative models of care delivery and improve access to health care. Our research teams include internationally renowned researchers with outstanding competitive research grant success and top tier journal publications across the Melbourne School of Health Sciences research hubs.
Our researchers in the Healthy Start to Life hub partner closely with leading health services, institutes and health professionals to foster development, wellbeing and participation for children with, or at risk of, developmental challenges and their families. Researchers in the Disability and Inclusion hub work collaboratively with clinical partners and use health services research to improve the wellbeing of a individuals with a range of musculoskeletal, neurological and cardiorespiratory disorders across the lifespan . Our researchers in Optimising Health and Wellbeing hub focus on supporting those with chronic conditions, critical illness, cancer, pelvic floor disorders and following major surgery through knowledge translation, implementation science and health service research, including increasing access to care through telerehabilitation and digital health.
Explore our program of research
Acute cardiorespiratory and exercise oncology
This program of work focuses on generating and implementing new evidence regarding the role of physiotherapy, exercise, physical activity and rehabilitation to minimise disease burden and maximise patient outcomes in the areas of acute cardiorespiratory and cancer. The program has a strong focus on survivors of critical illness, as well as patients with cancer and those undergoing major surgery. The research program is based on the premise that targeted exercise training or rehabilitation is not commonly part of usual care or well understood for these patients, despite strong potential need and benefit. The research program includes studies conducted with both quantitative and qualitative methodologies and involves staff and research higher degree students. The studies are commonly conducted with several of our partner hospitals in Melbourne Australia, and with our strong international collaborators.
ResearchersChair in Physiotherapy at Austin Health | Research areas include sleep and breathing disorders in neuromuscular disease, health systems and data research, clinical trials of therapies and care email@example.comAssociate Professor and Dame Kate Campbell Fellow | Research areas include exercise and physical activity for patients with lung cancer, other cancers, critical illness and respiratory firstname.lastname@example.orgAssociate Professor | Research expertise in expertise in women’s health, specifically disorders related to the pelvic email@example.comLecturer | Research areas include health services research, multi-disciplinary models of allied health care for people with cancer, measurement of physical firstname.lastname@example.orgClinical Research Fellow | Research areas include critical care recovery and rehabilitation, frailty and digital email@example.com
Alisha da Silva
This program focuses on generating and implementing new evidence to promote development, wellbeing and participation for both children with and/or high risk of developmental difficulties/disabilities and their families. This program has two streams: i. early detection of neurodevelopmental outcomes and ii. early intervention, rehabilitation and physical activity to optimise outcomes. Our multi-disciplinary research has a broad range of expertise spanning the newborn period to adolescents, including preterm birth and cerebral palsy. It is a priority of our research team to involve consumers in all stages of the research process, collaborating with children, parents, clinicians, service providers and professional bodies. The research program includes studies conducted with both quantitative and qualitative methods, covering digital health, co-design and knowledge translation. The studies are commonly conducted with several of our partner hospitals in Melbourne Australia, including the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Royal Women’s Hospital and Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Service.
ResearchersAssociate Dean (Research) Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences | Her research interest include infant and child development, early intervention, parent well-being, consumer engagement and implementation firstname.lastname@example.orgHead, Department of Physiotherapy | Research areas include movement and function across the lifespan in healthy people and those with neurological conditions including stroke, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy and autism spectrum email@example.comLecturer | Research areas including paediatrics, disability and inclusive participation in physical firstname.lastname@example.orgLecturer | Research interests include physical activity participation in early childhood, and long-term outcomes for infants born email@example.comResearch Fellow | Research areas include the impact of developmental therapy and early intervention on brain development and rehabilitation in the newborn period and beyond, and the role parents play in delivering this firstname.lastname@example.org
Katy de Valle
Neurological rehabilitation & gerontology
Neurological disorders are a common cause of reduced capacity for everyday independence. Neurological rehabilitation focuses on improving a person's ability to care for themselves and optimise their outcome from a neurological event or condition. The research programs in the physiotherapy department target a range of conditions such as stroke, Parkinson's disease, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury and motor neurone disease. These conditions represent major causes of disability in younger and older adults. We work collaboratively with our clinical partners, consumers, and other professions to investigate physical impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions that result from neurological disorders.
There are three main research areas:
- Identification of physical impairments and activity limitations associated with neurological disorders. This can include reduced balance, poor upper limb use and muscle weakness, which can all play a major role in limiting independence.
- Implementation of research findings into clinical practice.
- Evaluation of the efficacy and effectiveness of interventions that aim to improve function, health and wellbeing (spanning impairment, activity and participation) or reduce secondary risk for people with a neurological condition.
ResearchersHead, Department of Physiotherapy | Research areas include movement and function across the lifespan in healthy people and those with neurological conditions including stroke, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy and autism spectrum email@example.comProfessor of Physiotherapy Rehabilitation | Research areas include neurological gait disorders, running, task-specific strength training and focal spasticity firstname.lastname@example.orgChair in Physiotherapy at Austin Health | Research areas include sleep and breathing disorders in neuromuscular disease, health systems and data research, clinical trials of therapies and care email@example.comA/Professor Physiotherapy Western Health | Research interests include rehabilitation and fall prevention in older people and people with neurological firstname.lastname@example.orgSenior Research Fellow | Research areas include the brain-behaviour nexus during rehabilitation after email@example.comSenior Lecturer, Post-Doctoral Researcher | Research areas include physical activity after neurological injury, stroke recovery and firstname.lastname@example.orgLecturer | Research areas include stroke rehabilitation, balance training, falls prevention, motion-tracking technologies and email@example.com
Dr Libby ProudLecturer, Researcherelizabeth.firstname.lastname@example.org
A/Prof Frances Batchelor
Dr Liam Johnson
Dr Karen Borschmann
Dr Marlena Klaic
Dr Bridget Hill
Musculoskeletal and sports rehabilitation - Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine (CHESM)
The primary focus of research at CHESM is on the role of conservative strategies, particularly exercise, in promoting overall health and wellbeing, and in promoting and managing public health problems facing society. CHESM is committed to improving the wellbeing of all people through their musculoskeletal research initiatives which take a lifespan approach from childhood through to the elderly years. Emphasis is placed on translating our research findings into practice. CHESM team members come from a range of disciplines including physiotherapy, medicine, science, exercise science and podiatry.
Our women’s health physiotherapy program focuses on pelvic floor function and dysfunction in women with range of pelvic floor disorders. We are currently exploring:
- Pelvic pain:
- Women with endometriosis and persistent pelvic pain. We are exploring pelvic floor muscle properties, specifically muscle tenderness and muscle tone, as well as symptoms of bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunction and psychosocial distress, in women pre- and post-laparoscopy for pelvic pain.
- Women with provoked vestibulodynia, and ultrasound elastography to explore pelvic floor muscle stiffness.
- Pelvic floor disorders, including bladder and bowel incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, in women who:
- Engage in regular exercise, including elite female athletes
- Are diagnosed with and have undergone treatment for gynaecological cancer
- Have undergone treatment for breast cancer
- The feasibility, clinical and cost effectiveness effectiveness of telehealth-delivered pelvic floor muscle training to treat urinary incontinence in women following treatment for gyneacological or breast cancer.
- Pelvic pain: