Affiliated Researchers

Affiliated Researchers of the CRE

Prof Anne Tiedemann

Professor Anne Tiedemann is Professor of Physical Activity and Health and leads the Healthy Ageing research theme at the Institute for Musculoskeletal Health, a partnership between The University of Sydney and Sydney Local Health District. Anne has a professional background in Exercise Physiology and obtained a PhD from The University of New South Wales in 2007. Her current research focuses on the development and evaluation of scalable interventions to promote physical activity and prevent falls in people aged 50 years and over. Anne has received over $25 million in research funding and has 167 publications.

Prof Kim Delbaere

Kim Delbaere is a Senior Principal Research Scientist at NeuRA and Director of Innovation & Translation at the Falls, Balance & Injury Research Centre, supported by the Australian NHMRC, and Professor at University of New South Wales, Sydney. She graduated in 2001 as a master in Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy at the Ghent University (Belgium) and completed her PhD in 2005 on falls in older people. In 2006, she moved to Australia to work at NeuRA on fear of falling in older people.

Her research has contributed to the understanding of physical, psychological and cognitive factors causing falls. Her multidisciplinary approach incorporates elements from physiotherapy, psychology, brain imaging and software engineering towards preventing falls and promoting healthy ageing. Kim has been successful at developing novel methods of applying technology to healthy ageing for over 10 years, in both healthy older people and a range of chronic diseases. Her contributions to medical research have been recognised through two prestigious NHMRC excellence awards and numerous successful NHMRC applications, including a current NHMRC Investigator grant.

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A/Prof Cathie Said

A/Professor Said is the inaugural Associate Professor Physiotherapy, Western Health & The University of Melbourne. She has over 25 years experience as a physiotherapist working in neurological and gerontological rehabilitation and her research interests focus on gait, balance disorders and falls in these populations She has over 80 publications in high quality peer reviewed journals, has presented at a number of national and international conferences and has received approximately $7M in funding, most via MRFF/ NHMRC.

She is the current chair of the Victorian Falls Prevention Alliance, Chair of the Physiotherapy Research Foundation Grant Review Committee and Allied Health Program lead at the Australian Institute of Musculoskeletal Science.

A/Prof Leanne Hassett

A/Prof Hassett (PhD; MHS; BAppSc(PHTY)) is a physiotherapist and mid-career academic at the University of Sydney, working in a 40:40:20 academic role in the Sydney School of Health Sciences (0.6FTE) and a research-intensive academic role in the Institute for Musculoskeletal Health (0.4FTE), leading the research theme of physical activity for people with physical disabilities. A/Prof Hassett is currently seconded from her academic role (0.4FTE) to the leadership team of the Implementation Science Program within Sydney Health Partners, an NHMRC-accredited Advanced Health Research and Translation Centre. A/Prof Hassett also holds an Honorary Senior Research Fellowship position in South Western Sydney Local Health District, where A/Prof Hassett worked clinically for 15 years in brain injury rehabilitation. In 2020 A/Prof Hassett received the Vice Chancellor’s award for excellence in research and teaching.

A/Prof Natalie Allen

A/Prof Natalie Allen is a Senior Lecturer in the neurological physiotherapy team within the Discipline of Physiotherapy. Natalie has a special interest in exercise for people with neurological conditions, particularly Parkinson’s disease. After 9 years of clinical experience in neurological rehabilitation, Natalie completed her PhD, which focused on evaluating and exploring exercise interventions to reduce fall risk in people with Parkinson’s disease. She joined the University of Sydney teaching staff in 2011 and has continued to research exercise interventions aimed at helping people with Parkinson’s disease to live well by optimising their movement and managing their pain.

Prof Emeritus Lindy Clemson

She is a Fellow of the Occupational Therapy Australia Research Academy, FOTARA; an executive member of the Australian & New Zealand Falls Prevention Society, a member of the International ReAble Network, and life member of the Independent Living Centre. She was an invited member of the NHMRC committee to develop the National Practice Guidelines for Dementia. The latest Cochrane Database Systematic Review led by Professor Emeritus Lindy Clemson from the University of Sydney provides evidence that reducing fall hazards around the home can reduce falls by 26% but when delivered to people at higher risk of falling the beneficial effect is almost 40% reduction (high-certainty evidence).

Clemson L, Stark S, Pighills AC, Fairhall NJ, Lamb SE, Ali J, Sherrington C. Environmental interventions for preventing falls in older people living in the community. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2023, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD013258. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD013258.pub2

Academic Headshots March 2020
Dr Saman Khalatbari Soltani

Saman is a Social Epidemiologist and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sydney School of Public Health and the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR). Saman completed her PhD in Public Health and Epidemiology from the University of Lausanne and the Swiss School of Public Health. During a one-year Fellowship at the University of Cambridge, she trained in Nutritional Epidemiology. Her current research encompasses the areas of social determinants of health, healthy ageing, health inequities, and the role of behavioural, psychological, and biological factors in the genesis of health inequities at older ages. Her research has been published in leading epidemiology, gerontology, and health journals, such as Ageing Research Reviews, International Journal of Epidemiology, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, and Age and Ageing. She is on the International Journal of Epidemiology and Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences editorial board. Within the CRE, Saman contributes to epidemiological research on preventing falls and fall-related injuries in older adults.”

Dr Meghan Ambrens

Meghan’s PhD evaluated technology-delivered fall prevention programs for community-dwelling older people. Her research to date has explored the effectiveness, acceptability and economic evaluation of technology-delivered programs, including factors affecting adherence to fall prevention programs. Meghan’s research interest is in qualitative research, preventive health, healthy ageing and the translation and implementation of research to policy and practice.

Prof Philayrath Phongsavan

Philayrath’s research specialises in social epidemiology, behavioral science and development and evaluation of chronic disease prevention and health promotion programs in developed and low-middle income countries, particularly in the Asia-Pacific countries. Her other research interest includes evaluating the impact of redesigning of urban public open spaces in socially disadvantaged areas and the effect on residents’ physical activity behavior, obesity and sense of community and safety.

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Dr Mitchell Sarkies

Dr Mitchell Sarkies is a Senior Lecturer and NHMRC Emerging Leadership Fellow at the Sydney School of Health Sciences. Dr Sarkies leads the Innovation and Methods Stream for the Sydney Health Partners Implementation Science Program and is a member of the Academic Implementation Science Network, which supports advancements in the science of implementation in health.

Dr Sarkies is a health services researcher and implementation scientist with a clinical background in physiotherapy. Dr Sarkies leads multiple programs of research harnessing implementation science to enhance evidence-informed models of care for hip fracture (NHMRC Investigator Grant) and implement consensus-based perioperative pathways to reduce unwarranted clinical variation in elective surgery (HCF Foundation TRG).

Dr Yoshiro Okubo

Dr Yoshi Okubo completed his PhD (Sports Medicine) at the University of Tsukuba, Japan in 2015. He is a Senior Postdoctoral Fellow at Neuroscience Research Australia and a Conjoint Senior Lecturer at UNSW Sydney, School of Population Health. His research interest includes falls, balance/gait, exercise, task-specific training, augmented and virtual reality. Dr Okubo has developed an innovative Trip and Slip Walkway which is a breakthrough approach for elucidating the mechanisms of trip- and slip-induced falls, effective stepping strategies and motor skill learning fundamental to effective fall prevention in older adults. His studies have demonstrated reactive stepping at the critical moment of an unexpected trip or slip can be regained in older age and people with Parkinson’s disease. This training principle has been adapted into a novel reactive balance training program ReacStep designed for clinical settings. As senior author, he led global experts in developing a consensus review article that provides guidance for researchers and clinicians interested in reactive balance training for fall prevention: “Perturbation-based balance training: Principles, mechanisms and implementation in clinical practice”.

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Dr Daina Sturnieks

Dr Sturnieks has a PhD in human biomechanics (UWA). She is Senior Lecturer in Anatomy at UNSW Medicine and Conjoint Senior Research Scientist at NeuRA. Her research focuses on understanding biomechanical, sensorimotor and neurocognitive contributions to balance and falls in older people and clinical groups, and randomised controlled trials of novel interventions to prevent falls involving balance, stepping and cognitive training. Dr Sturnieks is active in translating research findings into community, aged care and hospital settings and is Executive Board Member of the Australian and New Zealand Falls Prevention Society.

Dr Abby Haynes

Abby’s research focuses on healthy ageing and understanding how and why interventions work (or not) from the perspectives of health professionals and consumers. This is informed by systems thinking and realist approaches. She leads the IMH qualitative community of practice.

Dr Melanie Farlie

Dr. Farlie is a clinician researcher with a combined 23 years of experience in clinical practice, clinical leadership, and academia. She has worked in private and public health, community, sub-acute and acute hospital settings – predominantly in orthogeriatric rehabilitation. Dr. Farlie engages her broad expertise to support her educational leadership and program of research.  Dr. Farlie’s broader research interests include application of qualitative research methods in clinical research, health care professions education, evidence-informed practice, allied health workforce models and models of care, professional identity development and uncertainty tolerance.

A/Prof Frances Batchelor

Associate Professor Frances Batchelor is a Principal Research Fellow and Director of the Clinical Gerontology Division. She is also a Research Lead for the Melbourne Ageing Research Collaboration. As a research and clinical physiotherapist she has over 30 years of experience in community, hospital and aged care services and completed her PhD at the end of 2010 entitled “Falls Prevention After Stroke”.

Her current research interests are falls prevention, balance and gait assessment and treatment, healthy ageing, the role of technology in ageing, and health and aged care practice. She has over 60 publications and has been successful in obtaining over $9 Million in research funding. Associate Professor Batchelor’s career is focused on collaborative approaches to research, policy and practice to improve the lives of older people

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