Professor Jonathan Rossiter – Project Chief Investigator
Jonathan is the Professor of Robotics, head of the Soft Robotics group at Bristol Robotics Laboratory and a multi-disciplinary innovator of soft robotic smart materials, compliant mechanisms, nonlinear models and complete soft robotic machines. He has delivered radical new soft robotics technologies, with world firsts including: biodegradable and edible robotics; energy-autonomous pollution eating robots; cephalopod-inspired smart skins; ionic-shape memory polymer actuators; auxetic actuators; fully 3D printed electroactive polymer actuators; and dielectric liquid zipping (DLZ) actuators with largest ever contractile strain. He has managed and delivered on over £21M of research funding and published over 150 peer reviewed papers, patents and licensing agreements. Jonathan led the largest six institute EPSRC Ideas Factory project, the £2.3M, Wearable Soft Robotics for Independent Living, the Right Trousers. With a new £1.5M grant, Jonathan continues leading this project in the FREEHAB study, in collaboration with UWE Bristol.
His exceptional communication, education and public engagement skills are evidenced by activities including: TED talk on bio-integrating soft robotics (1.25 million views), one of the most viewed robotics TED talks; soft robotics demonstration stands at GadgetShow Live 2016 (>100,000 visitors), Founders Forum 2016, At-Bristol and the Science Museum; recent media exposure includes BBC2 robotics series, 6 Robots and Us (2018, 350M viewers worldwide). He is also Deputy director of the EPSRC Doctoral Training Centre in Robotics (FARSCOPE), managing the training of 56 robotics PhD students.
Dr Ailie Turton – Co-Investigator
Dr Ailie Turton is an Occupational Therapist and Senior Lecturer at UWE Bristol and was previously Specialist Occupational Therapist in Stroke at NHS North Somerset Community Health Service, and Senior Research Fellow in Experimental Psychology at University of Bristol and Researcher at the institute of Neurology, London. Ailie has a clinical background with 18 years of experience as an HCPC registered Occupational Therapist and her research career spans 30 years and includes rehabilitation sciences, neurosciences and development of new treatments and technologies for rehabilitation and assisted living. The primary aim of her research is to improve recovery of function to enable people to participate fully in everyday life activities. Her research involves close collaboration with Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy services and with academics in rehabilitation research internationally. Laboratory experience includes kinematic analysis and EMG recording. Ailie has been a past secretary of the council of the Society for Research in Rehabilitation, and is currently on the Stroke Forum of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists.
She was Co-applicant and Co-investigator on the £2.3M project, Wearable Soft Robotics for Independent Living, the Right Trousers, leading all aspects of patient engagement and perception analysis, and is co-designer of proof of concept wearable devices. Ailie is now Co-investigator on the FREEHAB study. Currently she is also working with Professor Audrey Bowen and her team at the University of Manchester on an NIHR funded project called SPATIAL. SPATIAL is a feasibility trial of prism adaptation training as a primer for stroke patients with unilateral neglect to engage in Occupational Therapy. Despite working part time, she has generated significant research outputs with over 30 published journal articles and 1066 citations and has won over £2.7M in research income in the last four years from funders including EPSRC, NIHR and NHMRC Australia. She has appeared to talk about her research on BBC Points West television and Bristol Community Radio.
Dr Mary Cramp – Co-investigator
Dr Mary Cramp is a HCPC registered physiotherapist who has worked in NHS, private healthcare and academic sectors. She is currently Associate Professor in Long Term Conditions and Associate Department Head, Research and Knowledge Exchange in Allied Health Professions at UWE Bristol. Her research focuses on understanding the mechanistic basis of mobility problems of neuro-musculoskeletal conditions such as stroke and osteoarthritis that affect older adults and the use of physical interventions such as exercise programmes to address these problems. She has experience in the use of human movement analysis techniques including three dimensional biomechanical motion analysis and neuromuscular assessment to assess gait and mobility tasks with various patient groups for clinical and research purposes. In the last 4 years alone she has won over £0.4M grant income and published more than 12 journal articles. She is active in professional forums such as the physiotherapy working group for National Clinical Guidelines for Stroke and Council for Allied Health Professions Research.
Mary was also Co-applicant and Co-investigator of The Right Trousers project and will continue her work in the FREEHAB study. Her professional activities and collaborations with clinical colleagues inform her knowledge of the contemporary challenges of healthcare practice.
Leah Morris – FREEHAB Research Fellow
Leah is a HCPC registered physiotherapist who is soon to be awarded her PhD after completing her thesis on the Patient acceptability of the physiotherapy First Contact Practitioner. This PhD utilised realist evaluation, a methodology which takes into consideration the complexity of the contexts in which interventions are implemented, such as those in the NHS. She utilised qualitative methods, interviewing both Primary Care staff and patients. She collaborated with a Patient Partner throughout the project which ensured a clear patient-focus.
Leah has strong dissemination skills which is apparent to those who have seen her platform presentations. Despite realist methodology being dense with jargon and novel to many in the audience, Leah ensures accessibility through her use of diagrams and application of the knowledge to clear examples. She was the recipient of a competitive Research Travel Scholarship which has allowed her to visit two groups in Australia (Melbourne and Sydney) to present her PhD project, hear about their expertise and to observe how other human analysis labs/groups operate. She has also presented her thesis at the International Qualitative Methods conference, Canada, as well as conferences nationally.
Leah has expertise in patient-centred research and finds it particularly rewarding. She has recently been appointed as a FREEHAB Research Fellow and she looks forward to expanding her skill-set as an early-career researcher.