Motor Control and Rehabilitation

Research Overview

Research in the Galea lab encompasses basic neuroscience research in both animals and humans, and clinical research on the control of movement in healthy and impaired populations, including those with spinal cord injury, stroke and multiple sclerosis.

Current projects involve multi-centre trials investigating the effects of exercise after spinal cord injury from acute care to the community, measurement of residual function after spinal cord injury, and the evaluation of nerve transfer surgery to restore upper limb function. A longitudinal study is being undertaken to track changes in motor function over time in patients with early multiple sclerosis and healthy controls, and to develop more sensitive measures of motor dysfunction that can be used to guide clinical management or as markers of treatment effect in clinical trials.  Non-invasive brain stimulation is being used to assist in the control of pain in patients with multiple sclerosis and to reduce epileptic seizures in patients with drug-resistant epilepsy. 

Our group is working with engineers to realise the potential of measurement and modelling for more effective individualized management of disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system, the development and use of wearable sensors, as well as technology for rehabilitation in the hospital and the community.



  • Prof Fary Khan, Director of Rehabilitation, Royal Melbourne Hospital
  • Prof Terry O'Brien, Department of Medicine (Royal Melbourne Hospital), The University of Melbourne
  • Prof Patrick Kwan, Department of Medicine (Royal Melbourne Hospital), The University of Melbourne
  • Prof Trevor Kilpatrick, Melbourne Neurocience Institute
  • Dr Andrew Nunn, Victorian Spinal Cord Service
  • Prof Peter Lee, Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Melbourne
  • Dr David Ackland, Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Melbourne
  • Dr Denny Oetomo, Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Melbourne


  • Transport Accident Commission (Victorian Neurotraumam Initiative), Spinal Cord Injury and Physical Activity
  • NHMRC Project Grant, Measurement of residual nervous system function after spinal cord injury
  • NHMRC Project Grant, Can real-time biofeedback of foot clearance be used to assist with gait rehabilitation following stroke?  
  • Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research, Restoration of upper limb function in tetraplegia using nerve transfer surgery

Research Publications

  1. Galea MP, Khan F, Amatya B, Elmalik A, Klaic M, Abbott G. Implementation of a technology-assisted program to intensify upper limb rehabilitation in neurologically impaired participants: a prospective study. J Rehabil Med. 2016; Apr 11 [Epub ahead of print].
  2. Harvey LA, Dunlop SA, Churilov L, Galea MP and SCIPA Hands-On Trial Collaborators (2016) Early intensive hand rehabilitation is not more effective than usual care in people with sub-acute spinal cord injury (“Hands On”): A Randomised Controlled Trial. J Physiother 62(2):88-95.
  3. Khan F, Amatya B, Judson R, Chung P, Truesdale M, Galea M. Factors associated with long-term functional and psychological outcomes, in persons with severe traumatic brain injury. J Rehabil Med 2016; 48(5):442-8.
  4. Khan F, Amatya B, Elmalik E, Lowe M, Ng L, Reid I, Galea MP. An enriched environment program during inpatient neuro-rehabilitation: a randomized controlled trial. J Rehabil Med 2016;  48(5):417-25.
  5. de Oliveira B, Howie E, Dunlop S, Galea M, McManus A, Allison G. SCIPA Com: Outcomes from the Spinal Cord Injury and Physical Activity in the Community intervention. Spinal Cord 2016; Jan 19 [Epub ahead of print].
  6. Battistuzzo C, Ranks MM, Flynn JR,  Dunn LR, Morgan DL, Callister R, Callister RJ, Galea MP. Gait recovery following spinal cord injury in mice: limited effect of treadmill training. J Spinal Cord Med 2016; 39(3):335-43.
  7. Rispens SM, van Schooten KS, Pijnappels M., Cofré Lizama LE, Daffertshofer A., Beek P., and van Dieen J. Gait characteristics associated with falls measured in the laboratory and in daily life; reflections of capacity or behavior and environment? J. NeuroEng Rehabil 2016; 13:12.

Research Projects

This Research Group doesn't currently have any projects

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Neuroscience & Psychiatry

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Group Leader Professor Mary Galea

Department / Centre

Medicine and Radiology

Unit / Centre

Motor Control and Rehabilitation

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