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Dr Liba Sheeran

Dr Liba Sheeran

Reader: Physiotherapy

School of Healthcare Sciences

+44 (0)29 206 87757
13.11, 13th Floor, Eastgate House, 35-43 Newport Road, Cardiff. CF24 0AB
Available for postgraduate supervision

I am chartered physiotherapist, healthcare scientist and research fellow with interest in development and evaluation of individualised digital interventions for musculoskeletal disorders with special focus on back pain and lower limb injury.

I hold a postdoctoral fellowship to develop digital and sensor technologies for self-assessment and self-management of back pain. Currently, I lead on a project involving rapid implementation of a digital platform (Back-on-LineTM) to deliver individualised self-management to help people with back pain to stay in work.

Over the last 10 years, I have developed methodological expertise in movement analysis using 3D motion capture, inertial measurement units, electromyography, video motion tracking, wearable technologies and most recently virtual reality to characterise human movement and track physical function. I build and lead multi-disciplinary teams of health and computer scientists, biomechanics, engineers and data analysts to utilise these methods and develop new directions for individualised self-management and innovation in rehabilitation.

I also work part-time clinically as a consultant physiotherapist with Welsh Athletics (WA). I am a clinical innovator working with WA RunWales and national coaching teams to develop strength and conditioning training models to improve athletic resilience, prevent injury and improve sports injury management across sporting populations from recreational to elite sports performance.

I have wide collaborations with national and international research leaders in MSK research, data analytics and computer science in Ireland, Australia, Belgium, Norway and the UK. I lecture on behalf of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Sports and Exercise Medicine (ACPSEM). I speak internationally on spine injuries and back pain management in sport and athletic populations and run expert tutor workshops on the management of complex low back pain.

I was awarded with Bachelor (Hons) in Physiotherapy from University of the West of England, Bristol, U.K in July 1999. After graduation I worked as a clinician in the NHS before transiting to occupational health and university sport sectors at Bristol University and University of Bath. I completed MSc in Sports Physiotherapy and Exercise in April 2006 and was awarded PhD in Motor control in chronic low back pain: A view to classification in January 2011, both from Cardiff University. I was awarded Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching at Cardiff University in 2014 when I became a fellow of Higher Education Academy. I currently hold full time academic role as a senior lecturer and Health and Care Research Wales postdoctoral research fellow at Cardiff University.

Throughout my career to present day, I continued to be clinically active chartered physiotherapist with clinical expertise mainly focussed in elite sports performance sector and occupational health. Over the last 12 years I worked as Lead Performance Physiotherapist for British Orienteering Federation (2006-2009), Sport Wales Institute senior physiotherapist (2007-2009), UK Athletics physiotherapy lead for Wales (2009-2010). I have clinical experience working at world class multi-sport events including World University Archery Championships (2005), World University Games in Turin (2006), Commonwealth Games in 2010 Delhi, 2014 Glasgow and 2018 Gold Coast, London 2012 Olympic Games, 1st European Games (2015) and Islamic Games (2017) in Baku and several European and World Touch Championships supporting Team Wales. I currently work part-time as a consultant physiotherapist with Welsh Athletics (WA).

Honours and awards

  • Work and Health Challenge Fund Award recipient (2018)
  • Wellcome Trust & Cardiff University International Seedcorn Travelling Fellowship recipient (2016)
  • Society of Back Pain Research Travelling Fellowship recipient (2016)
  • Health and Care Research Wales RCBC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Award (2015)

Professional memberships

  • Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) (since 1999)
  • Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) (since 1999)
  • Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Sports and Exercise Medicine (ACPSEM) (since 1999)
  • Higher Education Academy (HEA) Fellow (since 2014)
  • British Association of Sport and Exercise Science (BASES) (since 2017)
  • British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine (BASEM) (since 2018)

Speaking engagements

Committees and reviewing

  • Arthritis Research UK Biomechanics and Bioengineering Centre research Committee member (2010-present)
  • Cardiff Women in Science (CWIS) committee member (2016-17)
  • Cardiff Institute of Tissue Engineering Research (CITER) research committee member (2014-2016)
  • Physiotherapy Research Society committee member (2012-14)

Journal reviewer

  • Applied Ergonomics
  • Spine
  • Musculoskeletal Science and Practice
  • British Journal of Sports Medicine
  • Physiotherapy
  • Physiotherapy Practice
  • International Jpournal of Therapy and Rehabilitation

Grant Reviewer

  • Cardiff Institute of Tissue Engineering Research (CITER)
  • Physiotherapy Research Society

Conference/Congress abstract reviewer

  • The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy UK Conference (2012)
  • World Congress in Physical Therapy (2015)
  • Physiotherapy Research Society (2012-2014)












Masters level

  • Clinical Kinaesiology and Tissue Pathology (HCT 226)
  • Musculoskeletal Diagnosis and Treatment (HCT 139)
  • Assessment and Treatment of Sports Injury (HCT 022)
  • Diagnosis of Sports Injury (HCT021)
  • MSc Research methods and data analysis (HCT 206)
  • MSc dissertation module (HCT117)

Professional Doctorate in Advanced Healthcare Practice:

  • Applied Quantitative Methods in Healthcare Research (NRT 108)



  • UK Government Department of Work and Pensions Health and Work Challenge Grant. Back-on-Line: technology to keep people with back pain in work. £178,696 (PI)
  • Arthritis Research UK. Biomechanics and Bioengineering Centre 5 year renewal. £2m (Co-Ap)
  • European Social Fund (ESF) Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship (KESS) PhD Studentship £62,020 (PI)
  • Cardiff University Academically led international mobility award, Malaysia £5,500.00 (PI)


  • Health and Care Research Wales RCBC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. Physio-in-the-PocketTM sensor technologies for personalised rehabilitation of back pain. £112,778 (PI)
  • Cardiff University Strategic Development Fund. £5,000.00 (Co-Ap)
  • Cardiff Undergraduate Research (CUROP) “See how you move 2”. £6,000.00 (Co-Ap)


  • Society of Back Pain Research Travelling Fellowship to Insight Centre, Ireland £1,000  (PI)
  • Wellcome Trust & Cardiff University International Seedcorn Travelling Fellowship £10,345 (PI)
  • Cardiff University Academically led international mobility award, Australia, University of Queensland and Griffiths University £10,150.00 (Co-Ap)


  • Cardiff Undergraduate Research (CUROP) “See how you move 1”. £6,000.00 (Co-A)
  • Arthritis Research UK Clinical Studies Group Think Tank Award £3,000 (PI)
  • Enterprise and Innovation Equipment Grant, Cardiff University £3,165 (PI)


  • Health and Care Research Wales, All Wales School of Primary Care Research Starter Grant, Classification-Based Group Functional Therapy (CLASTER) in Subgroups of Chronic Low Back Pain (PI) £28,550


  • Cardiff University PhD Studentship £60,000
  • Silicon Coach, New Zealand. Equipment support for PhD study £15,000

I am interested in supervising students in the following areas:

  • Use of technologies (wearables, IMU sensors, video tracking) for e-rehab
  • Improved self-management of musculoskeletal and neurodegenerative disorders
  • Digital platforms for sport injury prevention and management
  • Data mining for individualised rehab

Current projects I PhD supervise :

  • Run Healthy - Run Strong: Digital platform for sports injury prevention and self-management (PhD: Kathleen Walker)
  • Back-on-Line: Self-assessment and self-management for back pain (PhD: Dalal Alothman)
  • Wearable technologies for tracking physical activity of people with Huntington Diseases (PhD: Vincent Poile)
  • Back-to-Fit: e-rehab for back pain (PhD: Akushla Senarath Rathnayake)
  • Feasibility and acceptability of virtual reality interventions in people with back pain (PhD: Anfal Astek)
  • Physical activity levels in adults with congenital heart disease and its effect on exercise capacity and quality of life (Professional Doctorate: Lynda Shaughnessy)

Current supervision

Dalal Alothman

Research student

Vincent Polie

Research student

Lynda Shaughnessy

Research student

Past projects

Dr Rebecca Hemming

  • Spinal kinematics during daily function tasks in subgroups of low back pain