ABIRA staff ABIRA staff

Professor Valerie Pomeroy PhD, BA, GradDipPhys, FCSP 

Following qualification as a physiotherapist at the Cambridge School of Physiotherapy and holding a variety of clinical posts Professor Pomeroy obtained a PhD from the School of Medicine, University of Southampton. Between 1996 and 2002 she was Senior Lecturer in Stroke Therapy Research at the University of Manchester and was also Director of The Stroke Association's Therapy Research Unit. Professor Pomeroy holds the position of Professor of Neurorehabilitation and Associate Director of Research for the School of Health Sciences.


Dr Celia Clarke 

After completing BSc in Physiology, at the University of Sunderland, Celia obtained a MRes in Bioengineering at Strathclyde University. Between 2006 and 2010 she was appointed as a research associate at Strathclyde University and completed a PhD. In 2010 she was appointed as a Lecturer in Movement Neurophysiology here at the University of East Anglia.


Dr Michael Grey

Michael’s research interest is in neuroplasticity and neurorehabilitation, particularly with respect to acquired brain injury, including both stroke and mild traumatic brain injury (concussion). Michael has expertise in non-invasive electrophysiology, transcranial magnetic stimulation and neuroimaging techniques to study human movement and its rehabilitation.

Michael is a project lead in NIHR SRMRC’S acute response to traumatic injury theme, investigating the role of early neuromuscular stimulation in intensive care as a means of accelerating the rehabilitation of major trauma patients. Michael is Co-PI together with Prof Tony Belli for the Repetitive Concussion in Sport (RECOS) Trial being conducted at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

Michael obtained his PhD in Biomedical Science and Engineering from the Centre for Sensory-Motor Interaction, Aalborg University, Denmark. Subsequently he has held research appointments at Aalborg University, University of Jyväskylä, Finland and at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. From 2010, he was Reader in Motor Neuroscience at the University of Birmingham’s School of Sport and Exercise Sciences where he was research theme lead for Motor Control and Rehabilitation. Michael joined UEA in 2017 and holds the position of Reader in Rehabilitation Neuroscience.


Dr Nicola Hancock 

Nicola has worked both nationally and regionally to develop stroke rehabilitation services and is currently pursuing an academic career in this field. She is a Lecturer in Physiotherapy at UEA and holds a first class BSc in Physiotherapy from the University of East London, 1992 and a Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Education from the UEA. Nicola was awarded her PhD in July 2014.  Her recent research has involved investigating reciprocal pedaling exercise after stroke.


Dr Simon Horton 

Simon's research interests stem from his background as a speech & language therapist and have focused on therapy interventions for acquired communication impairments, the enactment of multi-disciplinary stroke rehabilitation, and the long-term impact of stroke for stroke survivors and their families. He has employed a range of designs including single case and small group observational studies, ethnographic, and interview / focus group approaches.


Dr Leif Johannsen

Leif completed his degree in Psychology at the University of Potsdam (Germany) in 1999. Pursuing his interests in Cognitive Psychology, Neuropsychology and Neurological Rehabilitation, he worked as a neuropsychologist and researcher at the Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research, Department of Cognitive Neurology, in Tübingen (Germany), where he completed his PhD in Behavioural Neuroscience in 2005. In the following years, he worked as a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Birmingham, School of Psychology. He returned to Germany in 2011, where he was appointed a senior researcher/lecturer position at the Technical University of Munich, Department of Sport and Health Sciences. Since November 2016 (part-time; full-time since March 2017), he is a senior lecturer in Acquired Brain Injury Rehabilitation at the University of East Anglia (UEA), Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Leif’s research concerns both sensorimotor control of body balance during standing and walking, especially in the context of haptic interactions with the environment and other individuals, and interference between cognitive and motor processes in neurological movement disorders such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease and cerebral palsy. Two other research topics he is interested in are the benefits of regular moderate physical activity on cognitive function in older adults and neurological patients and the consequences of repetitive head impacts on sensorimotor and neurocognitive functions in athletes.


Dr Kath Mares 

Having qualified as a physiotherapist in 1993, Kath went on to specialized in the management and treatment of people with acquired brain injury, at what is now known as the Specialist Rehabilitation Services (SRS) in Norwich. In 2000 she started work as a Lecturer/Practitioner in Physiotherapy working between the SRS and the University of East Anglia (UEA).



David Payne 

David holds a BSc Hons degree in Sport and Exercise Science which he gained in 2008 from Canterbury Christ Church University. During his time at Canterbury David had the opportunity to become part of the Sports Science Laboratory Team as a Junior Technician where he assisted in several research studies. After 2008 he worked for one year in a further education college in Kent and gained a PGCE. Up until August 2015 David worked as the Senior Sport and Exercise Science Technician at a college in west London where he helped to develop a sports science support network for the college’s academy athletes and coaching staff. In September 2015 David joined the UEA to become a Research Technician (Movement & Exercise) in the School of Health Science.


Elizabeth Chandler 

Liz has a MSc (pre-registration) in Physiotherapy (2008, UEA) and a BSc in Molecular Biology and Genetics. She first worked as a research scientist at the John Innes Centre before re-training and working as a rotational physiotherapist for the Norfolk Community Health & Care NHS Trust. In 2011 she combined her interests and became a Research Therapist at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Trust working on a UEA clinical trial. She joined UEA as a Research Therapist in 2013 and took up the post of Clinical Movement Analyst in January 2016.


Dr Ciara Shiggins 

Ciara holds an Academic Fellowship at UEA. She has a just completed a PhD under the supervision of Dr Simon Horton and Prof Valerie Pomeroy and has a BSc in Clinical Speech & Language Therapy (Trinity College Dublin). Her PhD investigated how opportunities for functional communication (re)learning could be optimised for people with aphasia post-stroke during routine Early Supported Discharge rehabilitation. Her current research interests are: 1) how routine rehabilitation can be made more efficient and effective in the context of Early Supported Discharge (ESD); 2) implementation of communication partner training; and 3) the potential of an asset-based approach for the well-being of people with aphasia. Ciara has co-ordinated aphasia groups in Dublin and in Norwich and has a keen interest in how people live successfully long-term with aphasia. She is a member of the International COST Collaboration of Aphasia Trialists (CATs), Working Group 5: Societal Impact and Reintegration and is on the organising committee of the Aphasia United Conference; a conference designed by people with aphasia for people with aphasia. Ciara also completed an internship with the World Health Organisation, Regional Office for the Western Pacific, in the Disability and Rehabilitation team, based in The Philippines. Ciara has experience with systematic reviews, observational studies, interview approaches and co-producing research with people with aphasia.


Postgraduate Research Students

Alison Aries

Alison has worked as a Physiotherapist in the NHS for 25 years, in the fields of neurology and rehabilitation, surgical and intensive care and Community  Intermediate Care. She completed a MSc in Neuromusculoskeletal Rehabilitation in May 2003 and has been a lecturer at Keele University since 2003. Alison will begin her NIHR Clinical Academic Fellowship at Keele University under the supervision of Dr Sue Hunter (Keele University) and Prof Val Pomeroy on 1 April 2015 and will be researching sensory stimulation to the lower limb post-stroke.


Fiona Ellis 

Fiona has a BSc in Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience with an MSc in Rehabilitation Psychology from the University of Nottingham. She began her PhD with the University of East Anglia in October 2016 under the supervision of Professor Valerie Pomeroy, Dr Nicola Hancock and Dr Niamh Kennedy. Her research focuses on using a virtual rehabilitation system to facilitate motor recovery following stroke.



Alison Welsh

Alison has a BSc(Hons) in Sport and Exercise Science (2013, UCLan) and a Masters of Research in Exercise Physiology (2016, Edge Hill University). Now at UEA under the supervision of Dr. Kath Mares and Prof. Antony Arthur, Alison’s PhD area focuses upon the use of aerobic exercise for stroke rehabilitation, with particular interest in maximal exercise testing and the effects upon cognition.