CHEARR Doctoral Students

The doctoral students in the Centre for Health, Activity and Rehabilitation Research (CHEARR) are studying a range of innovative topics which address physical activity and rehabilitation needs for enhanced health outcomes by utilising theory-driven approaches and employing creative methodological techniques. Below please find brief profiles explaining the doctoral research being undertaken by students in this Research Centre. 

Alison Kelly

Doctoral Research Topic: An Investigation of the feasibility and impact of a mHealth prehabilitation programme for patients with Oesophageal cancer. The mPOC study.

Doctoral Research Methodological approaches: Mixed Methods Research Design

Research Experience and Interests: mHealth, mobile health, telehealth, prehabilitation, oesophageal cancer 

Supervisors: Dr Lisa Salisbury and Dr Gillian Baer.

Ken Van Alsenoy

Doctoral Research topic: The effect of running shoes with and without custom made foot orthotics on running performance and comfort.

Doctoral Research methodological approaches: Exercise footwear, Orthotics, Running, Material, Economy of locomotion.

Research Experience and Interests: Randomised Clinical trials using Instrumented gait analysis (3D gait analysis, instrumented treadmills) and Systematic review investigating footwear and orthotics in relation to sport performance.

Supervisors: Prof. Derek Santos and Prof. Marietta van der linden

Professional Social Media Profiles: Twitter- @MrKenKVA, OrcID and LinkedIn

Mustafa Osman Elhadi Ahmed

Doctoral Research topic: Wearable Devices for Supporting Frail Individuals to Live Independently

Doctoral Research methodological approaches: Cross-sectional investigation, Quantitative analytical methods and Instrumented activity recognition to assess activities of daily living.

Research Experience and Interests: Biomechanics, Gait Analysis, 3D Motion Analysis, Medical Device Design and Smart Wearables.

Supervisors: Dr Pelagia Koufaki and Prof Hongnian Yu 

Professional Social Media Profiles: LinkedIn, Research Gate

Petra Marsico, PT MSc

Doctoral Research topic: Somatosensory Function and Body awareness of children with neu-romotor disorders, with a focus on the lower limbs

Doctoral Research methodological approaches: Systematic reviews, Psychometric studies and Delphi design.

Research Experience and Interests: Influence of body awareness on motor learning, Motor imagery, and sensori-motor learning, Outcome Assessments in children with upper motor neuron lesions and Structural influence on mobility, function and movement performance in children with disabilities.

Supervisors: Prof. Marietta van der linden, Prof. Tom H. Mercer and Prof. Hubertus JA van Hedel.

Professional Social Media Profiles: LinkedIn, Research Gate

Vedad Abdolkhani

Doctoral Research topic:

Impacts of Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) used for foot- drop in people with Multiple Sclerosis

Doctoral Research methodological approaches: Systematic Reviews, Mixed method and 3D gait analysis.

Research Experience and Interests: Gait analysis, Fatigue and motor fatigability and Dual task performance/

Research Supervisors: Prof. Marietta van der linden (Chair); Dr. Kavi Jagadamma; Prof. Cathy Bulley.

Professional Social Media Profile: LinkedIn 

Nazia Pathan

Doctoral Research topic:

The aim of the study is creating a pre-fall situation prediction system that predicts High Risk Fall Situation (HRFS) with high accuracy. To fulfill the AIM of this study following objectives need to be achieved.   

  • Fuse existing datasets to create a multi sensor dataset with the required classes for this study.
  • State of the art machine learning and deep learning techniques will be applied to benchmark the dataset used in this study for HRFS prediction.
  • Propose a novel technique to reach threshold accuracy or as close as possible to threshold suggested by clinical practitioner to consider the problem HRFS prediction solved

Doctoral Research methodological approaches: 

Quantitative analytical methods, Software Based Analysis of Activity and Recognition for Pre Fall situation analysis. 

Research Experience and Interests:

Machine Learning, Data Science, Medical Data Analysis, Activity Recognition Analysis, Motion Capture Analysis, Gait Analysis and Smart Wearables.

Research Supervisors: 

Dr Pelagia Koufaki (Queen Margaret University) and Prof Hongnian Yu (Edinburgh Napier University)

Professional Social Media Profile: LinkedIn 

Yazeed Qashwa

Doctoral Research topic: 

Multifactorial management of falls-related risk factors for the prevention of falls amongst community dwelling older adults. 

Falling is a major public health concern and is the second leading cause of death among older adults across the globe. Meanwhile, concerns about falling reached an estimated prevalence of 85% among community-dwelling older adults and is associated with an increased risk of falling, gait variability, and long-term disability. World Falls Guidelines for Prevention and Management of Falls in Older Adults recommended offering multifactorial falls risk assessment of falls, with the assessment of the perception of the older adults about falls and prevention. Therefore, this PhD will focus on the psychosocial aspects in the management of concerns about falls and prevention of falls-related risk factors. Additionally, owing to the high mortality rates associated with falls and costs for the healthcare systems, there is also an aim to conduct a health economic evaluation for policy makers to establish the cost effectiveness of implementing psychologically informed practice for the prevention of falls.

Doctoral Research methodological approaches: 

Quantitative methods, including the evaluation of effectiveness of interventions and psychometric properties of measurement instruments. Qualitative methods, including Nominal Group Techniques and Cognitive Interviewing. Mixed methods, including surveys and Delphi studies. 

Research Experience and Interests:

Neuromusculoskeletal pain management, Physical activity and falls management in older adults, Biomechanics, including gait analysis (kinetics and kinematics), Psychologically informed practice (particularly, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and  Developing inclusive curricula and co-creation in higher education.

Research Supervisors: 

Dr Judith Lane, Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy and Dr Chee-Wee Tan, Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy

Professional Social Media Profile: LinkedIn, Twitter

Paul A. Scotti

Doctoral Research topic: 

A feasibility randomized control trial investigating the effects of a prefabricated pneumatic walking brace versus a customized version embedded with a total contact orthosis, in managing forefoot plantar foot ulcers in type 1 and 2 diabetes mellitus.

The key element in healing forefoot plantar ulcers in diabetics is plantar pressure off-loading. There are many devices in use that can achieve a level of off-loading with varying results. The current gold standard, the TCC, comes with hurdles that often make it impractical and underutilized. The evidence shows that the TCC heals faster than an RCW although their relative forefoot pressure off-loading capabilities are the same. Plantar flexion torque inside the devices has not been examined as a potential factor in these results. The reduction of plantar flexion torque in an RCW by implementing a total contact orthosis may further improve its plantar pressure reduction properties. Thus, the use of a rTCC may provide better plantar peak-pressure off-loading of the forefoot than a RCW alone. Furthermore, this may also potentially contribute to the rTCC having better outcomes with regards to the healing of forefoot plantar ulcers in diabetics than a RCW.

Doctoral Research methodological approaches: 

Study 1:

  • A study comparing the forefoot off-loading properties of a removable cast walker versus the removable total contact cast in healthy participants.

Study 2: 

  • A feasibility randomised control trial comparing the removable cast walker (RCW) versus the removable total contact cast (rTCC) for healing rates of diabetic (type 1 and 2) plantar forefoot ulcers.

Research Experience and Interests:

Human Biomechanics, Innovative approaches to healing diabetic foot ulcers, Orthopedic devices to off-load the forefoot, Critical literature reviews of the current evidence and Improving on the gold standard of care.

Research Supervisors: 

Derek Santos, Kavi Jagadamma and Andrea Coda