OUR Collaborators

The MS Research Team at UL is a group of physiotherapy researchers whose goal is to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life for people with MS through research and education that impacts on practice.


We collaborate with researchers in OT, Sports Science, Psychology and many more disciplines. Meet our collaborators section coming soon......



Catherine Browne (Member), BSc (Physiotherapy), MISCP, PhD Candidate


I am currently completing my PhD in the area of bladder dysfunction among people with MS with an overall aim to develop a resource which will enable people with MS to self-manage this symptom 


What made you want to become a researcher? Why do you work in research?


My interest in MS began as an undergraduate student when I completed my Final Year Project in this area. Listening to the stories and struggles of people with MS sparked my interest to improve quality of life for this population. I am a highly-motivated and organised individual and my main ambition is to deepen my knowledge in the field of MS, and make a unique contribution that will positively influence the lives of people with MS.


What is an average day like for you?


I work as a Chartered Physiotherapist in the Limerick branch of MS Ireland so my day is either spent in Tara House providing services to people with MS or else spent at the University of Limerick (UL). Days in UL can vary depending on what stage of the project is underway. I could be meeting with supervisors or brainstorming with other members of the research team, I could be travelling to other parts of the country collecting data for my study or else I could be in the office analysing data and writing up the results- or else working on a presentation or poster for an upcoming conference.


What is the most rewarding thing about your job?


For me, the most rewarding aspect of researching and working in MS is the people I continue to meet at different stages of the journey. The list is endless- researchers, healthcare professionals, MS Ireland staff and representatives, carers and families of people with MS, volunteers and fund-raisers- all of whom are people who share similar goals of improving the lives of people with MS.  Without a doubt working with people with MS enables me to recognise the importance of my research and the impact it may have on their daily lives.


Do you have any advice for people thinking about a career in research/MS research?


I think one of the most important factors in undertaking a career in research is finding a suitable supervisor or mentor. Support and guidance is essential especially during the early stages of undertaking research.

Bláthín Casey (Member) BSc

BSc Physiotherapy, Research Assistant on the ‘Activity Matters’ project which is a project developing a web and paper based resource for people with MS to enable them to become more active.


What made you want to become a researcher? Why do you work in research?


During my undergraduate years in the University of Limerick I found myself working with Dr Susan Coote and Dr Maria Kehoe on the Multiple Sclerosis Research team as part of a student summer scholarship for the Health Research Board. This experience, I believe, is what ignited my passion for research having worked with such a driven and innovative team for the course of the scholarship. From that point on, despite a love for clinical work also, I knew I would find myself working as a postgraduate in research and more in particular on the MS research team.


What is an average day like for you?


The average day for each individual researcher varies. For me, I am quite structured in how I spend my days. I try to stick to a 9-6 routine, however, this sometimes fails, finding myself reading research articles in bed!


What is the most rewarding thing about your job?


The most rewarding part of my job is when I really feel I am giving back to participants that have taken part in my studies and in general the overall MS community. This was witnessed recently when I presented a current study’s findings to a group of PwMS in the Limerick region. The response that was received on my work left me with a big grin for the rest of that day. Knowing what you are doing might make a difference is a great motivator for those days when you feel under pressure with work.


Do you have any advice for people thinking about a career in research/MS research?


If you have a passion or interest in research, go for it! However, it is important to be aware that it’s not a straight forward 9-5 job, often taking some of your workload home with you especially when those deadlines are approaching. An interest in the area you are researching is a must.  A good team environment can really add to the experience too, which in UL you will certainly find working on the MS research team.




Laura Comber

Evan Fanning

Sarah Hayes (Member)


Dr. Sara Hayes is a Health Research Board post-doctoral researcher on the Step it Up study in the Department of Clinical Therapies, University of Limerick. A physiotherapy graduate of Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Sara has completed a Post-graduate Diploma in Statistics (TCD) and a PhD in Physiotherapy (TCD). She has worked with various clinical populations since 2008 and her main interest lies in neurological physiotherapy, specifically the provision of sustainable exercise programmes to people with stroke and multiple sclerosis (MS). Dr. Hayes is an active member of the Irish Society for Physiotherapists (ISCP) and the Physiotherapists with an Interest in MS (PIMS) group. Sara’s primary role on the MS research team is to coordinate the Step it Up study. Step it Up is a programme wherein people with MS living near Galway, Limerick and Cork are offered a free physiotherapy-led 10-week evidence-based exercise and educational intervention. Dr. Hayes is involved identifying people with MS who are suitable for Step it Up, training physiotherapists to deliver the Step it Up programme, carrying out participant assessments before and after the intervention, analysing the results of the study and circulating and publishing these results to people with MS, their friends and family, physiotherapists and other health care professionals with an interest in MS research.





Marcin Uszynski (Member), MSc. (Physiotherapy), MISCP, Bobath Therapist, PhD candidate


My main area of interests includes neurorehabilitation, exercises and physiotherapy intervention for people with Multiple Sclerosis (PwMS) and use of technology as an adjunct to rehabilitation. I am also interested in psychometric properties of sensory tests in PwMS. My research emphasis is on the importance of sensory input in motor recovery in Multiple Sclerosis. The main aim of my proposed research is to determine the immediate and long-term effects of Whole Body Vibration on muscle strength, sensation, gait and balance in people with Multiple Sclerosis.


What made you want to become a researcher? Why do you work in research?


I have considerable research experience from my MSc physiotherapy degree and from my 13 years of clinical practice. My desire to pursue a higher degree by research has been influenced by my natural curiosity and passion for broadening my knowledge. New technologies are being increasingly researched in the clinical setting and may be an essential component of health care delivery in the future. My ultimate goal is to significantly contribute to research and the clinical evidence-base in the area of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and link technology with clinical practice.


What is an average day like for you?


I work as a Senior Chartered Physiotherapist in the Western Regional Office of MS Ireland in Galway so my day is either spent in there providing one to one physiotherapy assessment and delivering physiotherapy intervention to people with MS or else spent at the University of Limerick (UL). I am currently completing my third, hopefully last year of my PhD by research course. My day could be very busy, starting with replaying to emails in the morning then analysing data from a recent project and writing up different paragraphs of my papers. When I am in Limerick, I am meeting with my supervisors or with other members of the research team. Every day is different but I do believe that through my research work, I am helping people with MS and this is the most rewarding feeling.


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