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Dr Liba Sheeran

Dr Liba Sheeran

Reader: Physiotherapy

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


I am a Reader in Physiotherapy, Healthcare Science and Population Health Research Theme Lead role at College of Biomedical and Life Sciences (BLS), Cardiff University. I am also a clinician working as a Consultant Physiotherpist for Welsh Athletics.

In my dual clinician and academic role, I collaborate with clinicians, industry, public stakeholders and public to develop digital and technology based health interventions supporting health and well-being of people in workplace and sports sector with particular focus on musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). 

This includes our current Department of Work and Pensions Health Challenge funded project involving development and implementation of a digital intervention called BACK-on-LINETM which supports self-management of LBP in the workplace. BACK-on-LINETM has been launched to all workforce across the NHS Wales and Transport for London where the platform is currently tested for its feasibility, acceptability and any potential health and work benefits.


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 progressing to  PhD in Motor control in chronic low back pain (January 2011) both from Cardiff University, U.K. I gained Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in 2014 and became a fellow of Higher Education Academy. I currently hold full time academic role as a Reader in Physiotherapy at Cardiff University.

Throughout my career I continued to be clinically active chartered physiotherapist with clinical expertise mainly focussed in elite sports performance sector and occupational health. My clinical posts included working as a Lead Performance Physiotherapist for British Orienteering Federation (2006-2009), Sport Wales Institute (2007-2009), UK Athletics physiotherapy lead for Wales (2009-2010) and Welsh athletics (2010-present). 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.

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)
















My teaching profile includes delivery of lectures specific to physiotherapy and research methods predominantly on Master and Doctoral level (detailed below). I lecture in sports physiotherapy including the diagnosis and management of sport related injuries. I teach exensively current models of management of low back pain across range of populations (children, adults, athletes and general population, occupational sector).

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. This included delivery of workshops and lectures nationaly and internationally to healthcare practitioners through invites from the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Sports and Exercise Medicine (ACPSEM). I delivered workshops and keynote lectures at Swiss Physiotherapy Society Young Athletes Forum Symposium in Switzerland (2017) and 6th Salzburg Physiotherapy Sports Symposium in Austria (2019). I belong to the international expert group consortium promoting evidence-based practice in low back pain management and delivering workshops nationally and internationally.

Masters level teaching:

  • 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)

Doctoral level teaching:

  • Applied Quantitative Methods in Healthcare Research (NRT 108)

My research interest is in innovation and research development of tailored interactive digital health interventions to support self-management of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) with particular focus on low back pain (LBP) and lower limb injuries. 

I was a recipient of Health and Care Research Wales RCBC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship conducting a project titled 'Physio-in-the-Pocket' that investigated the utility of wearable sensors and video-tracking for clinical assessment and personalised rehabilitation.

I led a multi-disciplinary team or researchers in biomechanics, data analytics, engineering, computer vision and artificial intelligence on the Department of Work and Pensions Health Challenge Fund project involving rapid development and implementation of a digital intervention called BACK-on-LINETM that supports self-management of LBP in the workplace

My current collaborators include industries (e.g. OnclickIBM Visual InsightsMeridian IT), academia (Insight Centre for Data Analytics, Unicamp, Sao Paulo, Brazil, CAMERA University of Bath), work sector (BT, Transport for London, NHS Wales) and public stakeholders including UK Government, Welsh Government, Sport Wales Institute and Run Wales.

I began to formulate basis of my own Impact case titled: SignatureBack forming the basis of an Impact case for the next REF with adequate feedback being gathered and relevant publications to support it.

My methodological expertise is 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 provide movement feedback with application for personalised rehabilitation.


I supervise PhD students in research and development of digital health technologies including virtual reality, sensors, video motion tracking; deploying artificial intelligence and machine learning tools.

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 rehabilitation

Selected PhD projects: 

  • Run Healthy - Run Strong: Digital platform for sports injury prevention and self-management (PhD: Kathleen Walker)
  • 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)
  • Feasiblity and acceptibility of BACK-on-LINETM in range of work sectors (PhD: Minghao Chen)
  • 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

Completed PhDs

Dr Dalal Alothman (BACK-on-LINETM: Self-assessment and self-management for back pain)

Dr Rebecca Hemming (Spinal kinematics during daily function tasks in subgroups of low back pain)