Professor Monica Busse

Professor Monica Busse

Director of Mind, Brain and Neuroscience Trials

School of Medicine

+44 (0)29 2068 7559
4th Floor, Neuadd Meirionnydd, Heath Park

I have a specific interest in the development of exercise therapeutics in neurodegenerative conditions and extensive knowledge of the development and evaluation of complex interventions applied to neurodegeneration. I am interested more widely in the assessment and management of mobility problems and falls, methodologies for appropriate assessment of outcomes in complex health conditions and promotion of physical activity for health (along with behaviour change applications). I am currently developing and validating novel functional assessment methods and technologies to support patient monitoring to good clinical practice standards for application in ‘first-in-man’ clinical trials of ES derived stem cells in HD.  I am a reviewer for a range of international peer reviewed journals in the field. I am also a member of the Scientific and Bioethics Advisory Committee (SBAC) of the European Huntington's Disease Network (EHDN) and the EHDN Physiotherapy working group. My ORCID-ID is 0000-0002-5331-5909.


I was awarded my Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy in 1993 from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. After graduation, I worked clinically as well as in clinical supervision in university settings in South Africa, USA and UK for more than 10 years as well as undertaking further studies in Ergonomics and Biomechanics. I was awarded my BSc (Med) Hons. Ergonomics (first class) from the University of Cape Town) in December 1996 and my MSc (Med) Biomedical Sciences (distinction) from the University of Cape Town), South Africa in December 2001.

In 2002, I registered for a full time PhD at the University of Wales College of Medicine in Cardiff and was awarded my PhD in 2005. I have worked as a Lecturer, Senior lecturer, Reader and then Professor at Cardiff University since 2005.

I am in possession of a Post Graduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, a Certificate in Teaching Statistics in Higher Education (Royal Statistical Society) and a Post Graduate Diploma in Clinical Trials (LSHTM). My research has a clear focus on physical activity and development and evaluation of complex interventions for people with Long Term Neurological Conditions (LTNCs). I collaborate closely with colleagues working in engineering and biosciences to achieve a translational focus to my work. I also have a particular interest in innovative methods for teaching research and statistics and the use of reliability analyses and mixed methods in healthcare research that has developed as a direct result of application in my research area.

My research has mainly focused on developing evidence and guidelines for targeted physical interventions in Huntington's disease (HD) and Parkinson's disease (PD). Such interventions are complex, and involve many components. It is therefore essential that the main "active components" within the intervention are defined and benefits evaluated in terms of relevant outcomes. We have adopted the Medical Research Council (MRC) Framework for design and evaluating complex interventions to provide a structure that should ultimately lead to full scale, robust controlled clinical trials.

Working closely with people with HD and their families as part of the research process is very important to us. We established the Wales HD Involving People Group in 2010 (now BRAIN Involve) with a view to ensuring that our work is always relevant and applicable to the needs of the HD community.  We have successfully conducted and published data from the first randomised and controlled multi-centre studies investigating different physiotherapy and exercise interventions for HD (MOVE TO EXERCISE, TRAIN-HD and COMMET-HD). This work has led to further funding for exercise intervention trials related in HD (ENGAGE-HD and ExERT-HD). The growing recognition of the importance of physical activity and mobility in HD is further evidenced by the FP-7 funded programme of work being conducted in REPAIR-HD ( where I am a principle investigator along with a consortia of researchers based in Germany, France and Italy. I am also a principle investigator in the Wales BRAIN Unit where I lead the patient monitoring and patient and public involvement work-packages.

Research grants


  • Jacques and Gloria Gossweiler Foundation Research Grants in the field of Neurology "Physical Activity and Exercise Outcomes in Huntington's Disease." £411 00.00.
  • Huntington's Disease Association of England and Wales. "Promotion of  physical activity in Huntington's Disease clinics." £10 300.00.


  • MRC Confidence in Concept "Using wearable technology to predict perioperative high-risk patient outcomes." £39,490.

  • MRC Confidence in Concept  "Developing clinical applications for a novel multi-task functional assessment." £49,902.00.

  • Wellcome Trust ISSF Cross disciplinary awards  “Pilot study of motor coordination disorder in 22q11.2 deletion syndrome.“ £8,935.

  • Wellcome Trust ISSF Cross disciplinary awards “Automated assessment of timing and movement signatures in Huntington’s Disease.” £47,945

  • Wellcome Trust ISSF ISSF populations pilot awards “Feasibility of using consumer-targeted activity monitors in collecting physical activity data within the HealthWise Wales cohort: a pragmatic pilot study.” £28,414
  • Jacques and Gloria Gossweiler Foundation Research Grants in the field of Neurology “Exploring cognitive training as a non-pharmaceutical intervention for people with Huntingtons disease.” £94,071


  • Division of Health and Care Research Wales (DHCRW); Brain Repair And Intracranial Neurotherapeutics- Wales BRAIN Unit. £1.2m; lead applicant Professor W. Grey.


  • FP7-HEALTH-2013-INNOVATION-1 "REPAIR-HD Human pluripotent stem cell differentiation, safety and preparation for therapeutic transplantation in Huntington's disease". £1,705,800
  • Jacques and Gloria Gossweiler Foundation "ExeRT-HD Exercise Rehabilitation Trial in Huntington's Disease". £172,805
  • National Institute of Social Care and Health Research/ National Institute of Health Research "Move to Exercise: Home based exercise for people with Huntington's Disease". £687,362


  • Linden. Morris, Subramanian, Busse Wellcome Trust ISSF Seedcorn "Real Time fMRI neurofeedback as a treatment for Parkinson's Disease". £45,000


  • Neil Glendinning Research Grant Huntington's Disease Association: Task Training in Huntington's Disease £99,230
  • European Huntington's Disease Network. Feasibility and benefit of inspiratory muscle training in people with Huntington's disease. (co-applicant; £38,384)


  • National Institute for Social Care and Health Research Health Research Funding Scheme: Can community supported exercise benefit subjective wellbeing, physical activity levels and abilities in people with Huntington's disease? A randomised feasibility study and process evaluation (COMMET-HD) £122,720
  • Medical Research Council. National Prevention Research Initiative. Health Eating and Lifestyle in Pregnancy Study (HELP) (collaboration with South East Wales Trials Unit) (co-applicant; £1,041,422)


  • European Huntington's Disease Network. Reliability and minimal detectable change of measures of participation, functional activities and impairments in individuals with Huntington's disease ( £36,000)
  • Physiotherapy Research Foundation Scheme B. Respiratory Function in people with Huntington's disease: a cross sectional study (co-applicant; £6,500)
  • Research Capacity Building Consortium Wales PhD studentship. Respiratory Function in people with Huntington's disease: a cross sectional study (co-applicant; £51,558)


  • Chief Medical Officer for Wales Research Budget. Development and evaluation of a DVD resource for people with a neurodegenerative disease who may be at risk of falls.   £9,938.
  • Paul Jeffries Waters Bequest Fund to support research in Huntington' disease £2,820.


Physiotherapy Research Society. Mobility and Falls in Huntington's Disease. £500