Research Advisory Committee

The Stroke Foundation Research Advisory Committee is a board sub-committee that advises on the strategy underpinning the Research Program and advises on activities arising from the implementation of the program, reviews submissions for grants for the Stroke Foundation Research Program, and advises on requests for Stroke Foundation participation or endorsement of external research programs and projects including partnership grants.

The Research Advisory Committee is comprised of experienced researchers with an established track record in research on stroke and/or related fields, along with one consumer and one carer representative.

Professor Amanda Thrift
BSc (Hons), PhD, PGDipBiostat
Non-executive Director representing interests of Research and Chair of Research Advisory Committee

Amanda Thrift

Professor Thrift is Head of Stroke and Ageing Research and Senior Research Fellow at Monash University. She is a past President of the Stroke Society of Australasia and sits on numerous national and international advisory groups.

Professor Thrift gained her PhD from Monash University in 1995 in epidemiology in the study of risk factors for intracerebral haemorrhage. She has considerable research expertise in the epidemiology of stroke, having led the influential North East Melbourne Stroke Incidence Study (NEMESIS). This study has provided much of the evidence base for policy decisions around stroke in Australia. Her current portfolio of research include NHMRC funded studies of implementation of secondary prevention of stroke and vascular disease in Australia, and studies of causal factors for vascular disease and hypertension in low and middle income countries. In 2017, she was recognised for her work via receipt of the Excellence in Stroke Award, the highest honour awarded by the Stroke Society of Australasia.

Brenda Booth
Consumer representative

Brenda is a stroke survivor; her stroke occurred in 2001, when she was 41 years old. A left internal carotid artery dissection caused a left MCA stroke, her speech; sight and arm movement were initially affected.

Brenda is a Registered Nurse (Royal North Shore Hospital - 1981). She has worked in both the public and private hospital sector. From 1991 until 2016 Brenda worked as a Case Manager with the NSW Disability Service. Following her stroke she returned to work part time. In April 2016 Brenda commenced working for the National Disability Insurance Agency as an NDIS Planner.

Brenda was a carer for her mother who was diagnosed as having Alzheimer’s. She provided support until her mother’s death in 2015.

Brenda is frequently asked to speak about her stroke experience at forums, educational and community events

In 2010 Brenda was diagnosed as having carotid, vertebral and intracranial Fibromuscular Dysplasia (FMD) which was determined to be the underlying cause of her stroke. FMD has resulted in ongoing fluctuating cerebral flow related symptoms.

Brenda feels fortunate that she does not have any residual physical disability, but contends with the non-visible issues related to her stroke and FMD; such as variable issues with speech, fatigue, balance, coordination and memory.

Brenda has provided stroke consumer input at a local, state and national level.

Professor Simon Koblar

Simon Koblar

Simon Koblar is the Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience at the University of Adelaide. He is a clinician-scientist and has actively researched basic neuroscience over the last 20 years and its clinical translation into new therapies that strive to improve recovery following stroke.

He is founding Director of the Stroke Research Programme since 2005, which has a national and international reputation and is a unique collaboration of the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), Basil Hetzel Institute, three universities in South Australia, and the Central Adelaide Local Health Network. This research programme has been instrumental in teaching and training over 50 post-graduate students, many of whom have gone on to research both nationally and internationally in varied fields of neuroscience. He is committed to supporting teams of researchers with his medical and research skills. He serves on a number of advisory clinical and research committees, and editorial boards in stroke and basic research.

Simon is a highly experienced Stroke Physician and Neurologist and continues to work in public hospitals in South Australia. He was instrumental in setting up the South Australian Stroke Network, which has led to major innovations in the prevention of stroke and acute stroke treatments and pathways in South Australia.

He has been actively involved in the Stroke Foundation initially in the Clinical Council and more recently joined the Research Advisory Committee. He is equally recognised for his compassionate and holistic view of stroke recovery in the community and policy level.

Dr Caleb Ferguson

Dr Caleb Ferguson is a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow, based at the Centre for Cardiovascular & Chronic Care, University of Technology Sydney.

Where his program of research focuses on the management of atrial fibrillation and stroke prevention.

Caleb is a qualified Registered Nurse with more than a decade of clinical expertise in acute stroke management.

He holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (University of Stirling, 2005), Masters of Health Leadership (University of Tasmania, 2011), and a PhD (University of Technology Sydney, 2015).

Dr Ferguson publishes widely in the area of stroke and cardiovascular disease. Since 2012, he has published over 35 academic publications, editorials and book chapters.

He holds appointments as Editor for Contemporary Nurse and member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Clinical Nursing.

He is also a member of the Acute Stroke Management Guidelines Update working group for the Stroke Foundation, and a member of the Heart Foundation’s Atrial Fibrillation guidelines working group.

Since 2013, Caleb has enjoyed volunteering as a StrokeSafe Ambassador for the Stroke Foundation.

This role has involved providing regular community presentations on stroke prevention to local community groups, businesses and the general public.

Associate Professor Emma Power
PhD, BAppSc (Hons), CPSP MSPAA

Emma Power

Associate Professor Emma Power is a speech pathologist who has worked in the area of communication disorders following acquired brain injury, including stroke, for 20 years. She is a senior lecturer in the discipline of speech pathology at the University of Sydney where she teaches the next generation of speech pathologists about communication difficulties after stroke and brain injury. Emma’s research interests include innovative assessments and treatments to enhance the life participation of people with neurological communication disorders.  She is also very interested in evidence based practice (EBP) and the way we translate knowledge into clinical policy and practice (implementation science). With her colleagues, she has developed and validated 82 Best Practice Statements for people with post stroke aphasia on an aphasia pathway website that contains implementation resources for clinicians ( Emma is also a committee member of SpeechBITE, a free online database of speech pathology intervention studies and a past President of Speech Pathology Australia, NSW Branch. She has been awarded several teaching and service recognition awards. However, her main reward is working collaboratively with consumers, students, clinicians and policy makers to create new knowledge and practises that are implemented to the benefit people with disability, their families and health and community services.

Emma graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Speech Pathology) with first class honours and the University Medal. She has a PhD in neurological communication disorders and is a Certified Practicing Member of Speech Pathology Australia.

Dr Nadine Andrew

Dr Andrew is a Senior Research Fellow with Peninsula Clinical School, Monash University and an NHMRC Early Career fellow. She has a clinical background in Physiotherapy, a Masters in Public Health and a PhD in epidemiology. She is an emerging leader in stroke and health service research, with a focus on using large datasets to answer questions about what constitutes best-practice care for survivors of stroke to maximise long-term quality of life and reduce unmet needs. She is involved in a number of quality improvement projects and over the last five years has developed a strong track record in the area of data linkage. She has been responsible for coordinating large national cross-jurisdictional data linkage projects. These projects have been the first in Australia in which researcher held clinical registry data have been linked, across jurisdictions, to state and nationally held administrative datasets. Dr Andrew is currently leading a project in which data from the Australian Stroke Clinical Registry will be linked to Medicare and pharmaceutical data to provide insights into some of the services and care types being accessed by survivors of stroke living in the community. 

Professor Ian Kneebone

Professor Ian Kneebone completed undergraduate degrees at the University of Adelaide, a masters degree in clinical psychology at the University of Western Australia and a doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Surrey. He has specialised in rehabilitation and worked with older and younger people who have encountered stroke for over thirty years. He has published widely on stroke, including on the assessment and management of mood disorders, the coping of informal carers of people who develop speech and language problems and on breaking bad news. He currently holds an NHMRC grant to investigate the prevention of depression in this population. Ian is a co-author of Psychological Management of Stroke, (Wiley, 2012) and was a member of the Core Steering Group that developed the National Stroke Strategy for England.  Ian has a Chair in Clinical Psychology at the University of Technology, Sydney and is a Visiting Professor at the University of Surrey, UK.

Professor Mark Nelson

Mark Nelson is Professor and Chair, Discipline of General Practice, and Senior Professorial Fellow, Menzies Institute for Medical Research, and an Adjunct Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University. He is Medical Director of the Blood Pressure Clinic, MIMR, and is also in general practice in Hobart. His research interests are around large-scale clinical trials of cardiovascular disease prevention in primary care.

Dr Eleanor Horton

Eleanor Horton

Dr Eleanor Horton is a Senior Lecturer at the University of the Sunshine Coast and a Nursing Fellow at the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service. Eleanor is passionate about making a difference in nursing and healthcare and this correlates with her patient engagement and advocacy interest. Eleanor is chairperson of the Consumer Advisory group for the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service District and the Health Service Rehabilitation Group. Eleanor sits on the Queensland Stroke Clinical Network Steering Committee, the Australian Stroke Coalition and has served on the Stroke Foundation Consumer Council. In 2016, Eleanor was an Advance Queensland Community Digital Champion. She is a member of the Smart Assistive Technology Collaborative, which is a Queensland Government Department of Communities, Child Safety, and Disability Services funded project focused on the use of Smart Assistive Technology for disabled and older people in the community. The project has been the development of a free online space to collaborate, learn and access resources and expertise in the area of Smart Assistive Technology. This platform contains local, state, national and international linkages and in 2016 and 2017 this project won awards at the Information Technology in Aged Care Conference. Her partner is a stroke survivor and is 18 years post stroke and her father is 3 years post stroke. 
Eleanor: Since the stroke my partner has been differently abled (my terms) and has many of the hidden affects of stroke as well as the obvious hemiplegia and aphasia. Our home is a living lab for a CSIRO Smarter Safer Home project and we are always considering any opportunity to improve the lives of disabled stroke survivors in the community. Research at present is with members of the Statewide Clinical Stroke Network and the aim of the project is to systematically map current processes and pathways of assessment, referral and provision of rehabilitation through to patient reported outcomes. To establish service gaps in rehabilitation; and configuring rehabilitation services to meet needs and maximise flow from acute hospitals through rehabilitation to the community.

Professor Sandra Eades

Professor Sandra Eades is a Noongar woman from Mount Barker, Western Australia. She completed her medical degree in 1990 and after working as a general practitioner, started her career in health research at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research where her focus was on the epidemiology of Indigenous child health in Australia. 

In 2003 Professor Eades became Australia's first Aboriginal medical doctor to be awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy. Her PhD investigated the causal pathways and determinants of health among Aboriginal infants in the first year of life. 

Professor Eades was named NSW Woman of the Year 2006 in recognition of her research contributions to Aboriginal communities. She also received a 'Deadly Award' (National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Awards) for Outstanding Achievement in Health. 

Over the past decade she has made substantial contributions to the area of Aboriginal health and has provided leadership at a national level in Aboriginal research. Both Indigenous and non-Indigenous colleagues acknowledge Professor Eades as a leader and role model in Indigenous health research.