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Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability. Our research spans the translational pipeline from basic experimental biology and trials of healthcare interventions through to implementing findings into practice.

We focus on understanding mechanisms of neuroimmune and vascular dysfunction, how they contribute to acute cerebrovascular diseases, and the impact of these conditions.

We carry forward this knowledge to improve the process and outcomes of care and, ultimately, the quality of life for stroke survivors and their carers.

Our research is unique in combining life sciences, interdisciplinary clinical research and implementation science.

We cover all clinical subtypes of stroke (ischaemic and haemorrhagic) and include all stages of clinical care (hyperacute through to community) for people with stroke. We also have strong links to the Manchester Centre for Clinical Neurosciences.

Image: brain scan cells

Areas of research activity

This interdisciplinary approach is underpinned by active patient, carer and public involvement and engagement.

Our research activity can be grouped into four categories:


Basic biology and pre-clinical science

Minimising brain damage after stroke

Promoting repair and recovery of function

  • Communication difficulties after stroke(aphasia)
    Principal investigators: Anna Woollams
  • Sensory and motor difficulties including vision and arm function
    Principal investigators: Ulrike Hammerbeck, David Howard (University of Salford)

Managing persisting disabilities and organising care

Image: TBC

Featured projects

See a selection of current research projects, which aim to make a positive impact on health and disease both nationally and globally.

Stroke connected health cities

Part of a £20 million Health North initiative, led by Dr Adrian Parry-Jones, stroke researchers are looking at using technology and data to improve the diagnosis and treatment of strokes across Greater Manchester.

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$6M programme to tackle cognitive decline after stroke

Professor’s Stuart Allan and Craig Smith are to begin a $6M programme aimed at preventing cognitive decline after stroke. Problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment affect up to a third of people who’ve had a stroke within five years and this can have a major impact on their quality of life. Professor’s Allan and Smith will tackle this problem with other experts worldwide in a new network called Stroke-IMPaCT (Stroke – Immune Mediated Pathways and Cognitive Trajectories), funded by The Leducq Foundation through a Transatlantic Networks of Excellence Award. Among those who will be involved in the Stroke-IMPaCT are experts in stroke, immunology, cognition, and in clinical studies of post-stroke outcomes. The five-year programme will begin in January 2020 and will also involve universities in Edinburgh, Berlin (Charite), Madrid, New York (Cornell and Columbia), Arizona, and Seattle (Washington).

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Organising Support for Carers of Stroke Survivors is a large cluster randomised controlled trial, process evaluation and economic study funded by the NIHR CLAHRC in partnership with Stroke Association led by Professor Audrey Bowen and Dr Emma Patchwood.

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Refining the STOP toolkit for oral self-care practices

Professor Craig Smith leads this NIHR-funded study to better understand the oral care needs and experiences of stroke survivors, and use this information to develop the STroke friendly Oral health Promoting (STOP) toolkit to improve oral health in stroke survivors after discharge from hospital. Patient and public involvement is an essential part of the process, with stroke survivors being part of the research team and informing the development of the toolkit at each step.

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Case studies

Our stroke research led to three successful REF2014 impact case studies around services for people with communication, cognition and swallowing difficulties, and the introduction of six month reviews for patients.

Improving stroke services

The ACT NoW study evaluated the effectiveness of speech and language therapy in stroke rehabilitation and is now being used in international guidelines for stroke recovery.

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Helping stroke patients swallow

Our pioneering research led to the introduction of the world's first effective throat stimulation treatment for stroke patients with swallowing problems.

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Improving health with assessment tool

A team at Manchester developed GM-SAT, a simple evidence based assessment tool which can be used to identify and address individuals’ long term, unmet post-stroke needs.

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Featured researchers

Dr Ulrike Hammerbeck

Dr Ulrike Hammerbeck

Ulrike Hammerbeck is a physiotherapist and Stroke Association post-doctoral fellow investigating proximal arm recovery processes in the acute period after stroke.

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Dr Kieron South

Kieron South

Kieron South is a basic and translational biochemist with particular expertise in thrombo-inflammation and, more recently, experimental models of stroke and infection. He is the recent recipient of a Medical Research Foundation mid-career Fellowship investigating the contribution of respiratory infection to stroke in young adult.

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Dr Emma Patchwood

Emma Patchwood

Emma Patchwood is a research psychologist in the CLAHRC GM. Her role includes implementing six month reviews of need after stroke for care home residents, and the OSCARSS carer study (featured above).

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Dr Paul Kasher

Paul Kasher

Paul Kasher is a translational neuroscience research fellow with expertise in the generation and characterisation of experimental models of neurological disease and recent recipient of a Stroke Association lectureship.

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Claire Mitchell

Claire Mitchell

Mrs Claire Mitchell is a research speech and language therapist. Her research involves looking at digital solutions for improving quality of intervention for people with speech impairments after stroke.

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Adrian Parry-Jones

Adrian Parry-Jones

Dr Adrian Parry-Jones has been awarded the Stroke Association Margaret Giffen Reader Award, which will support him for 5 years from March 2020 to continue his research to improve outcomes for intracerebral haemorrhage.

Read more

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Patient and public involvement and engagement

Our research benefits from strong patient, carer and public involvement, and we regularly conduct public engagement activities around stroke science and art. Examples include:


A feasibility randomised controlled trial for people with dysarthria, a disordered speech production which is a common symptom after stroke.

Read a blog by project lead Claire Mitchell about living with dysarthria.

OSCARSS research user group

An active user group of carers support the development of all aspects of the design and roll out of the OSCARSS study.

Watch a video about this project featuring members of the user group.

Stroke: Stories of the Self Through Art and Science

The Stroke Association and The University of Manchester ran a set of visual arts workshops and exhibitions at Manchester Central Library and Manchester Museum to tell Stroke survivors’ stories.

Read a blog by artist Elisa Artesero who facilitated the workshops.

Social responsibility in the medical teaching curriculum

Stroke, Self and Brain, a social responsibility project funded by the University in partnership with the Stroke Association, brought together stroke survivors with medical students for workshops to share knowledge and experience of the brain before and after stroke through the creation of original artworks.

Watch a video about the workshops.

Image: TBC


Professor Craig Smith

Tel+44(0)161 206 0623