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Liam Kelly

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from?

I grew up in St. John’s, Newfoundland, where I continue to live today with my wife Sarah and two daughters, Sophia and Samantha. Currently, I am in the third year of my doctoral studies in clinical epidemiology at Memorial University.

What compelled you to pursue stroke research?

My start in stroke recovery research was in 2014 when I started working with Dr. Michelle Ploughman as a clinical exercise physiologist in her lab. At that time, I had very little experience working with patients recovering from stroke but was very eager to apply my background in sport sciences to clinical populations. I quickly learned that there are many gaps in the scientific literature regarding the efficacy of aerobic exercise and other behavioral interventions on neuroplasticity, functional recovery, and secondary prevention in stroke survivors. This provided the motivation to extend my graduate studies and pursue a doctoral degree focusing on stroke recovery.What is the focus of your research?

What is the focus of your research?

Aerobic exercise is a potent ‘drug’ that can target several outcomes after stroke. However, stroke survivors and therapists are currently faced with a lot of uncertainty regarding the dose of aerobic exercise which is both safe and effective to promote optimal recovery throughout the continuum of care. The primary focus of my research is to remove this uncertainty. I recently developed an intermittent functional training protocol that organized functional tasks in such a way to be considered moderate intensity aerobic exercise. We are currently evaluating the effects of this protocol and traditional aerobic exercise on functional outcomes in chronic stroke survivors. In an upcoming experiment, we will be shifting our focus toward the subacute phase of recovery to evaluate the safety and efficacy of intensive aerobic exercise.

How do you and others benefit from being part of the CPSR National Trainee Association?

In addition to financial support, being part of the CPSR National Trainee Association provides an opportunity for me to network and learn first-hand from world class researchers in stroke recovery. It also provides opportunities to meet and share ideas with other trainees from across the country. Membership in the CPSR National Trainee Association is extremely important to me because such opportunities are typically limited while working and studying in Newfoundland.

What other interests do you have?

I enjoy travelling and camping with my family. I am also an entrepreneur, owning a small business that provides evidence-based fitness services. Although competing in competitive sports is part of my past, I continue to stay involved in coaching roles.