Following an extensive clinical career as a neuro-physiotherapist in the NHS, culminating as clinical specialist in Stroke, Sue is now a Reader in the School of Allied Health Professions at Keele University. She completed her PhD in 2004 on "Definition and effects of physical therapy treatment for sensorimotor dysfunction in the hemiplegic upper limb after stroke". Her research since then has involved the evaluation of complex interventions for people with neurological conditions, and exploring experiences of living with a long-term neurological condition. In particular, her research has focussed on stroke survivors’ responses to somatosensory retraining using mechanical cutaneous stimulation and joint / soft tissue manipulation / mobilization applied to the hand, and more recently to the foot, and has received funding from Research into Ageing, Stroke Association, and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). Sue teaches the neurology component of the Physiotherapy programmes at Keele, and has supervised many undergraduate and post-graduate student projects. Sue also leads the Prevention, Performance and Rehabilitation research theme at Keele, is the School Post-graduate Research Student Lead, and is an experienced doctoral examiner and doctoral student supervisor of topics including those involving people living with Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and Cerebral Palsy.
Research and scholarship
My research interests are around a) evaluating complex therapeutic interventions for neurological patients, with a particular emphasis on interventions for the hemiplegic upper limb and its recovery; and b) life after stroke and the psychosocial effects of upper limb dysfunction.I supervise PhD students researching those areas and other areas of applied clinical neurological rehabilitation with other populations including Parkinson's and Multiple Sclerosis, Trauma / Traumatic Brain Injury.
I have a particular interest in the role of somatosensory stimulation and retraining of proprioception and touch post stroke. I lead a research group of UG and MSc students, PhD students, and post-doctoral researchers. I have developed ongoing collaborations with researchers at other UK Universities and with clinical partners, and welcome potential collaborations from other like-minded researchers and enquiries from PhD students in such topics as outlined here. I have received funding for my research from Research into Ageing, the Stroke Association, and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
- Evaluating complex therapy interventions for people with long-term neurological conditions
- Somatosensory stimulation to improve functional recovery post-stroke
- Experiences of living with a long-term neurological condition
- Novel ways of delivering therapy in the home for chronic stroke
- Use of arts for health to improve health and well-being for people with long-term neurological conditions
I teach and assess across both all programmes at all levels in the School of Allied Health Professions, and supervise undergraduate and postgraduate taught (PGT) student projects as well as postgraduate research (PGR) students (PhD and professional doctorate). I am the PGR Lead for the School of Allied Health Professions.
My teaching focus is neurology and neurological rehabilitation and am a member of a variety of module teaching and assessment teams. I am module lead for the PGT Independent Study module, which runs in Semester 1 and again in Semester 2.
I am a CSP-approved external examiners, have been an external examiner for PGR students in other universities in the UK, Australia and South Africa.
I have supervised 6 PhD students to completion:
- Dr Aseel Aburub – PhD, 2021, Keele University. Thesis: Aerobic exercise to improve respiratory function in Parkinson’s. Supervisors: Dr Sue Hunter, Professor Julius Sim
- Dr Badrieh Alabbad PhD, 2020, Keele University. Thesis: Self-management support for people with Multiple Sclerosis. Supervisors: Dr Sue Hunter, Dr Helena Priest
- Dr Ali Aries PhD, 2020, Keele University. Thesis: Somatosensory stimulation to improve lower-limb recovery after stroke. Supervisors: Dr Sue Hunter, Professor Julius Sim, Professor Val Pomeroy (UEA)
- Dr Judith Purton PhD, 2017, Keele University. Thesis: Stroke survivors’ experiences of upper limb dysfunction: a longitudinal exploratory study. Supervisors: Dr Sue Hunter, Professor Julius Sim
- Dr Kathryn Jarvis PhD, 2016, Keele University. Thesis: Occupational Therapy for the upper limb after stroke: implementing evidence-based constrain induced movement therapy into practice. Supervisors: Dr Sue Hunter, Professor Nicky Edelstyn
- Dr Jacqueline Winter, PhD, 2009, Keele University. Thesis: Chronic upper limb sensorimotor dysfunction following stroke: its perceived impact on activity and participation and the effects of hands-on intervention. Supervisors: Dr Sue Hunter, Professor Peter Crome, Professor Julius Sim
I currently supervise another 5 PGR students on the following projects:
- Perceptions of and attitudes towards ageing in clinical Allied Health Professionals: lessons for educators.
- Experiences of counselling for mental health in older women.
- Mobilization and Tactile Stimulation for the upper limb post-stroke: enabling carers to deliver aspects of physical therapy in the community.
- Wheelchair prescription for children with mobility problems in the UK and Kuwait.
- Hand dysfunction in patients following transradial access for percutaneous coronary procedures.
I have collaborated with the following academics and groups on the following externally funded projects:
- ReCast project evaluation of use of ceramics for people recovering from addiction in collaboration with and funded by British Ceramics Biennial
- STROKESTRA® Stoke in collaboration with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust Community Stroke Team, New Vic Borderlines (Stoke-on-Trent) with funding support from Goodwins PLC (Stoke)
- Interventions for the management of perceptual disorders following stroke – evidence synthesis; funded by NIHR Health Technology Assessment (HTA). PIONEER research team: Hazelton C, McGill K, Campbell P, Pollock A, Thomson K, Nicolson D, Cheyne J, Chung C, Dorris L, Gillespie D, Hunter SM, Williams L, Brady M.
- Somatosensory stimulation of the lower limb to improve balance and gait post-stroke: a feasibility study, (also known as the MoTaStim-Foot study), funded by NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship for Dr Alison Aries, also supervised by Professor Val Pomeroy and Professor Julius Sim.
- Aerobic exercise to improve respiratory function in Parkinson’s, funded by Isra University (Jordan) to support PhD for Dr Aseel Aburub
- Clinical efficacy of functional strength training for upper limb motor recovery early after stroke: neural correlates and prognostic indicators – randomized controlled trial (also known as FAST-INdiCATE trial), funded by NIHR / MRC Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) project grant. Research team: Pomeroy V, Ward N, Johansen-Berg H, van Vliet P, Burridge J, Hunter SM, Lemon R, Rothwell J, Weir C, Wing A, Walker A, Kennedy N, Barton G, Greenwood R, Chandler E, Grey M, Leavey N, Havis C.
- Longitudinal study exploring longitudinal stroke survivors' experiences and perceptions of the impact of upper limb dysfunction part-funded by Physiotherapy Research Foundation in collaboration with Dr Judith Purton (York St John University)
- Occupational Therapy for the upper limb after stroke: implementing evidence-based constrain induced movement therapy into practice part funded by the Constance Owens Trust in collaboration with Dr Kathryn Jarvis (UCLAN).
- Evaluation of acute stroke workshops throughout the West Midlands, commissioned by West Midlands Strategic Health Authority
- Service evaluation of Stroke Early Supported Discharge Scheme (SESD), commissioned by North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare in collaboration with the North Staffordshire Community Stroke Team
- Chronic upper limb sensorimotor dysfunction following stroke: its perceived impact on activity and participation and the effects of hands-on intervention, funded by NHS R&D to support PhD for Dr Jacqui Winter
- Mobilization and tactile stimulation to enhance upper limb recovery after stroke: phase 1 investigation of acceptable dose, efficacy and underlying mechanism – funded by the Stroke Association project grant; collaboration with Professor Val Pomeroy (UEA)
- Definition and effects of physical therapy treatment for sensorimotor dysfunction in the hemiplegic upper limb after stroke – PhD funded by Research into Ageing – Professor Val Pomeroy (UEA) was one of my supervisors along with Professor Peter Crome (Keele), Professor Julius Sim (Keele) and Professor Alan Wing (Birmingham University)