Maria Stokes

Maria is Professor of Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation in the School of Health Sciences at the University of Southampton. Two years after qualifying as a physiotherapist, she studied for a PhD in Neuromuscular Physiology in the Nuffield Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Department of Zoology, University of Oxford. She became a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Liverpool, followed by Senior Lecturer at the University of Queensland, Australia, then returned to the UK as Director of Research & Development at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability, London. She joined the University of Southampton in 2004. Her research focuses on enabling physical activity in healthy populations and those living with long-term conditions to have an active lifestyle. Studies aim to prevent injuries for safe exercise. Her research spans the age spectrum from adolescents to older people and the activity spectrum from elite sports (including footballers) to inactivity (including astronauts in microgravity).  

Her applied research is underpinned by investigating neuromuscular physiological mechanisms of muscle weakness and fatigue, and biomechanical mechanisms of movement to inform development of exercise interventions. A key area involves developing assessment tools, and conducting reliability and validity studies, e.g. rehabilitative ultrasound imaging to measure muscle size; measurement of biomechanical properties of muscle.