Online Tools: EBRSR Stroke Engine
About Us

External Scientific Advisory Committee

Members of the External Scientific Advisory Committee (ESAC) are distinguished scientists, noted for their expertise in areas related to stroke recovery. ESAC members provide guidance and counsel to the Partnership. By helping CPSR leaders formulate the organization’s goals and assess its achievements, they provide an invaluable outside perspective.


S. Thomas Carmichael, MD, PhD (Chair)

Dr. S. Thomas (Tom) Carmichael is a neurologist and neuroscientist and Professor and Chair of the department of neurology at UCLA.  Dr. Carmichael has an active laboratory and clinical interests in stroke and neurorehabilitation, and brain repair after injury.  He received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Washington University School of Medicine in 1993 and 1994, and completed a Neurology residency at Washington University School of Medicine, serving as Chief Resident in 1997-1998. Dr. Carmichael was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute postdoctoral fellow at UCLA from 1998-2001, studying mechanisms of axonal sprouting, with a clinical emphasis on neurorehabilitation and stroke.  He has been on the UCLA faculty since 2001.  Dr. Carmichael’s laboratory studies the molecular and cellular mechanisms of neural repair after stroke and other forms of brain injury.  This research focuses on the processes of axonal sprouting and neural stem cell responses after stroke, and on neural stem cell transplantation.  Dr. Carmichael is an attending physician on the Neurorehabilitation and Stroke clinical services at UCLA.


Julie Bernhardt, BSc, MSc, PhD

Professor Julie Bernhardt is head of the Florey Institute’s Stroke division and leads the AVERT Early Intervention Research Program. This includes a multidisciplinary team of researchers committed to the development and testing of new, rehabilitation interventions that aim to reduce the burden of stroke related disability. AVERT, the largest, international, acute stroke rehabilitation trial ever conducted, sits at the core of the program. Advancing understanding of how exercise-based interventions and task specific training influence learning and recovery after stroke is a key aim of the program. Julie completed a Churchill Fellowship in 2013 studying health architecture and environmental enrichment. A further aim of her group is to improve our understanding of how health environments influence recovery from illness. Julie is Director of Australia’s first NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Stroke Rehabilitation and Recovery, an exciting partnership to build capacity and research excellence in this exciting field.


Gert Kwakkel, PhD

Professor Gert Kwakkel started his career as a physical therapist and movement scientist at the VU University medical Centre in Amsterdam. In 1998, he received his PhD on the thesis entitled: Dynamics in functional recovery after stroke. Professor Kwakkel received a chair ‘Neurorehabilitation’ at the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam in March 2008. This chair is dedicated to translational research in the field of neurorehabilitation with special interest in Stroke, Parkinsons’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis. Professor Kwakkel published more than 150 papers in leading scientific journals such as The Lancet, The Lancet Neurology, BMJ and Stroke (Hirsch Index 38). Based on a prestigious advanced grant from the European Research Council (ERC), Professor Kwakkel belongs to one of the top researchers of the VU University in Amsterdam. This ERC idea is in collaboration with the Technical University of Delft (Prof. dr. Frans van der Helm) and focused on investigating the longitudinal relationship between stroke recovery and brain plasticity. Professor Kwakkel is member of the management board of Research Institute Move at the VU University and European Managing Editor of the journal Neurorehabilitation & Neural Repair (NNR). In addition, he is member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Stroke, Journal Rehabilitation Medicine and Physiotherapy Research International Research. Finally, professor Kwakkel is president of the Dutch Society of NeuroRehabilitation (DSNR; 


Cathy Stinear, PhD

Dr Cathy Stinear is a clinical neuroscientist at the Centre for Brain Research at the University of Auckland (New Zealand). Her research activities focus on translating discoveries in neuroscience into clinical practice. Dr Stinear is an expert in movement neuroscience, and uses a range of neurophysiological and imaging techniques to study how the brain controls movement in both health and disease. Since completing her doctorate in 2004, she has turned her attention to the neural mechanisms of recovery after stroke. By studying how the brain adapts to, or compensates for, the structural and functional disruptions caused by stroke, her team has been able to identify opportunities to enhance the recovery process. She is currently investigating a range of techniques for promoting neural plasticity, which is a change in the number or strength of connections between brain cells. Neural plasticity is thought to be responsible for much of the recovery of movement, communication and other functions after stroke. Dr Stinear’s current studies are testing whether non-invasive brain stimulation, drug treatments, and coordinated movement patterns can promote plasticity in healthy adults, and recovery of function in people who have experienced stroke. Dr Stinear is also developing clinical methods so these techniques can be optimised for individual patients. This work has been published in Lancet Neurology, and has generated a great deal of media interest. Dr Stinear is Deputy Director of the Brain Recovery Clinic, and Academic Coordinator of the Research Volunteer Register at the Centre for Brain Research, University of Auckland. She is an Associate Editor for the journal Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, and is frequently called upon by editors of neuroscience and neurology journals to provide reviews.


Nick Ward, MD

Dr Ward is a consultant neurologist at National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery and a Reader in Clinical Neurology at UCL Institute of Neurology, Queen Square. His special clinical interest is in stroke and neurorehabilitation, focusing in particular on recovery of arm and hand function through the upper limb neurorehabilitation program. He is co-founder of the UCLP Centre for Neurorehabilitation, co-editor Oxford Textbook of Neurorehabilitation and Associate Editor of the journals Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair and Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. Dr Ward leads a research programme to help understand the mechanisms of upper limb impairment and treatment after stroke. In particular, he uses structural and functional brain imaging to study the relationship between brain network reorganisation and recovery of movement after stroke.