ARCH staff at Austin Health

The partnership between Austin Health and La Trobe University produces research and education that is innovative, collaborative and fosters evidence-based practice.

Discover the Austin Health ARCH.

ARCH Director - Austin Health

Kristina Edvardsson is Site coordinator of the Austin Health ARCH and Associate Professor in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, La Trobe University. Her expertise lies in large population-based studies and qualitative approaches, and she leads research in the areas of women’s and maternal and child health. She has international collaboration that spans low-, middle and high-income countries, is a collaborator of the Australian Longitudinal Study of Women’s Health (ALSWH) and the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD), and an Associate Editor of BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. She has received numerous grants and awards for her research and is author of over 50 publications.

Research group

Leeanne Carey is Professor of Occupational Therapy at La Trobe University and Founding Head of the Neurorehabilitation and Recovery Research Laboratory at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health. Professor Carey’s research focuses on stroke rehabilitation and recovery. She has developed successful neuroscience and learning-based sensorimotor interventions and evidence-based assessments. An important focus has been to translate these discoveries into clinical practice and better outcomes for stroke survivors. Professor Carey has authored over 160 papers and received numerous grants and awards for her research. She is the lead for the SENSe and Task-AT-Home programs of research.

Vincent Thijs is Head of Stroke Medicine at Austin Health and Professorial Fellow at the Florey Institute where he is co-lead of the Stroke Theme. He is a stroke neurologist and clinician researcher specialised in stroke research. He is a Co-chief Investigator and Principal Partner Investigator on the SENSe project.

Meg Morris is Professor of Clinical and Rehabilitation Practice, Healthscope and La Trobe University. She is a physiotherapist and expert in clinical trials and optimising rehabilitation outcomes, particularly for rehabilitation patients. She is also a co-chief investigator on the SENSe project.

Dr Maria Murphy is a Registered Nurse and Lecturer. She specialises in cardiology care models. She is based at the Clinical School at Austin Health.

Dr Ashleigh Butler is a Registered Nurse and Lecturer. She specialises in end-of-life care, and family involvement in and experience of ICU settings. Dr Butler is based at the Clinical School at Austin Health.

Jen Austerberry is an experienced lecturer of many years and a currently practising critical care emergency nurse. Ms Austerberry is currently the Bachelor of Nursing Coordinator for LaTrobe University and is involved in research regarding maths anxiety and student nurses and a multinational randomised clinical trial on dementia-friendly book clubs.

Jacqueline Johnston is a Registered Nurse and Lecturer. She is based at the Clinical School at Austin Health. Ms Johnston is investigating the long-term outcomes of international mobility programs for nursing and midwifery students.

Dr Irene Koukoulas is Project Co-ordinator for the National Health and Medical Research Council Partnership: a network of sites and ‘up-skilled’ therapists to deliver best-practice stroke rehabilitation of the upper limb based at La Trobe, Austin and Florey. She is Co-ordinator for both the SENSe CONNECT and SENSe Implement sub-studies.

Dr Jannette Blennerhassett is a Senior Clinician in neurology at the Austin Health Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre, with over 25 years of clinical experience as a physiotherapist. Dr Blennerhassett is Site Champion for the SENSe Implement study at Austin Health.

Brendon Haslam is a senior physiotherapist who is the clinical lead up-skilling therapists in SENSe Therapy based at the Austin-La Trobe-Florey central hub. Mr Haslam is completing his PhD on the relationship between pain and sensation after stroke.

Bleydy Dimech-Betancourt is Project Co-ordinator for the National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grant: Improving arm function after stroke using task specific training. She is a neuropsychologist and also contributes to the SENSe CONNECT study.

Anna Butler is an experienced physiotherapist who is the Site Co-ordinator for the SENSe CONNECT study at the Austin-La Trobe-Florey site.

Liana Cahill is developing a knowledge-transfer framework for stroke rehabilitation, evaluating implementation of the SENSe approach.

Yvonne Mak-Yuen is implementing a somatosensory assessment tool: feasibility and clinical utility of using SENSeAssess in clinical rehabilitation and community settings for stroke survivors.


For enquiries please contact:

Associate Professor Kristina Edvardsson
Level 4 Austin Tower, Austin Health and La Trobe University
PO Box 5555, Heidelberg, Victoria, 3084, Australia
La Trobe University, Victoria, 3086, Australia