Lifespan health, disability and wellbeing

Our research focuses on optimising health, prevention activities to maintain health and interventions to improve health and wellbeing across the lifespan. Priority groups are paediatrics, women’s health and ageing populations.

senior woman exercising at the gym


Our interest in paediatrics spans childhood disability, epidemiological intervention and measurement studies.

Some of our notable partnerships include the Standing Wheelchairs Duchene Foundation, Telethon Kids and the Xcelrate program at the Ability Centre.

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School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science

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Dr Jenny Downs
Jenny’s work involves understanding the natural history and modifiable determinants of childhood disability, developing outcome measures and conducting studies to determine best management for clinical issues.

Associate Professor Graham Hall
Graham is investigating lung growth and development through infancy, childhood, adolescence and early adulthood, in health and in chronic lung disease.

Dr Lynn Jensen
Physical activity, motor skills and executive function from infancy through childhood for typical children and children with movement disorders.

Dr Susan Morris
Developmental Disorders investigating autism, Developmental Coordination Disorder, joint hypermobility and cerebral palsy.

Dr Sonia Ranelli
Sonia’s research interests are upper limb musculoskeletal disorders in young musicians and associated risk factors, musician health and wellbeing, and complex regional pain syndrome.

Professor Leon Straker
Leon’s research interests include the impact of technology on health, sedentariness, computer and electronic game use by children, prevention of musculoskeletal disorders associated with manual handling, and adolescent spinal pain.

Dr Sian Williams
Sian utilises lab and field based movement analysis/measurement techniques with a goal to improve movement performance, physical activity participation and rehabilitation strategies within paediatric (for example, Cerebral Palsy and other physical disabilities) and other clinical populations.

Ageing, dementia and falls

Our research in ageing focuses on exercise for health and independence, reducing falls and harm from falls, dementia, arthritis, hospital care, residential care and transitions.

The Curtin Ageing Research Network has been developed to support collaborative, interdisciplinary research in ageing between the University’s schools and faculties, and researchers and partners from national and international universities and organisations.

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School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science

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Dr Elissa Burton
Elissa’s research interests include physical activity, falls prevention and dementia research to help older people to live well. She has a strong focus on translating her research into practice.

Dr Robyn Fary
Robyn is currently looking at physical activity levels and sedentary behaviour of older adults living in residential aged care, as well as the use of balance scales by physiotherapists in their assessment and determination of falls risk in the older adult.

Associate Professor Anne-Marie Hill
Anne-Marie is focused on healthy ageing in hospital, community and residential care, particularly in the area of fall prevention.

Women’s health

Our research in women’s health focuses on pregnancy, continence and exercise.

One of our most significant projects is the Back, Breast and Bra study, which has investigated the impact of bras on women’s back pain.

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School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science

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Dr Kathy Briffa
Kathy’s research focus is osteoporosis, as well as the lifelong benefits of physical activity and exercise, particularly in ageing women’s health.

Dr Leanda McKenna
Leanda’s research interests include the investigation of the clinical utility of measurements for mastitis and the use of ultrasound for treatment of mastitis.

Dr Judith Thompson
Judith’s research interest area is pelvic health including pelvic pain, continence, pelvic organ prolapse and changes to pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy and childbirth.

Dr Robyn Fary
Robyn’s current areas of interest include the use of telehealth for diagnosing, screening and managing women with stress incontinence, and the abdominal wall musculature during the child-bearing year.