Dr Sue Lord

profile image

Senior Research Fellow, School of Clinical Sciences

Phone: 021 106 3172

Email: sue.lord@aut.ac.nz

Physical Address:
90 Akoranga Dr, Northcote, 0627
Postal Address:
Auckland University of Technology (AUT)
Private Bag 92006
Auckland 1142, New Zealand
Links to relevant web pages:
Twitter: @SueLord_Neuro
Neurological Rehabilitation


PhD, MSc, DipPT

Memberships and Affiliations:

International Society of Posture & Gait Research @ISPGR
Physiotherapy NZ
Neurology Special Interest Group


I am a neurophysio with a research background in movement science, and have recently joined Prof Denise Taylor’s team in the Neurorehabilitation Group. From 2009 – 2016 I worked at Newcastle University UK with Prof Lynn Rochester in the Brain & Movement Research Group, which has a research agenda on ageing and neurodegenerative disease (predominantly Parkinson’s disease). Before leaving NZ I was a Senior Lecturer at the Rehabilitation Teaching & Research Unit, Wellington School of Medicine, University of Otago. 

Teaching Areas:

Parkinson’s disease, gait & cognition, falls, neuro-rehabilitation, evidence based practice.

Research Areas:

Gait & cognition, and vision in ageing & neurodegenerative disease
Physical Activity

Research Summary:

I’m keen to establish a research profile that includes use of body worn sensors to measure spatio-temporal features of gait whilst walking in home & community environments. A nuanced knowledge of gait in naturalistic environments is key to understanding the relationship between gait and cognition (and its ultimate degradation, falls); and the use of gait as a prognostic marker for motor and cognitive decline. As a clinician, I’m conscious of the need to intervene early, prior to deficits in gait and balance control becoming established. 

Current Research Projects:

Current studies include measurement of gait and activity using body worn sensors in stroke; falls evolution in Parkinson’s disease; and a study evaluating the effect of cueing in Stroke:  Development and clinical trial feasibility evaluation of auditory rhythmical cueing to improve gait and physical activity in community dwelling stroke survivors Stroke Association, UK (PI Dr Sarah Moore Ref: TSA 2016/06) (£207, 511).


  1. Morris et al (2017) Gait rather than cognition predicts decline in specific cognitive domains in early Parkinson's disease J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci.  May 3. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glx071.
  2. Rochester L et al (2017) Decrease in Aβ42 predicts dopa-resistant gait progression in early Parkinson disease Neurology 88 ; 16; 1501-151
  3. Lord S, Galna B, Yarnall A, Coleman S, Burn D, Rochester L (2016) Predicting first fall in newly diagnosed Parkinson’s disease: Insights from a falls-naïve cohort Mov Disord 31 (12) 1839-36
  4. Ross A, Yarnall A, Rochester L, Lord S (2016) A novel approach to falls classification in Parkinson’s disease: Development of the Fall-Related Activity Classification (FRAC). Physiotherapy DOI: 10.1016/j.physio. 2016.08.002
  5. Alcock L, Galna B, Lord S, Rochester L. (2016) Characterisation of foot clearance during gait in people with early Parkinson’s disease: Deficits associated with a duatask   J Biomech Sep 6;49(13):2763-2769.
  6. Hill E, Stuart S, Lord S, Del Din S, Rochester L (2016) Vision, visuo-cognition and postural control in Parkinson’s disease: An associative pilot study Gait Posture Jul 48: 74-6
  7. Del Din S, Godfrey A, Mazzà C, Lord S, Rochester L. (2016) Free-living monitoring of Parkinson’s disease: lessons from the field. Mov Disord 10.1002/MDS.26718
  8. Del-Dinn S, Godfrey A, Galna B, Lord S, Rochester L (2016) Free-living gait characteristics in ageing and Parkinson's disease: impact of environment and ambulatory bout length. J NeuroEng & Rehab 13; 46
  9. Morris, R, Lord S, Bunce J, Burn D, Rochester L (2016) Gait and cognition: Mapping the global and discrete relationships in ageing and neurodegenerative disease. Neuroscience & Biobeh Reviews 64 326–345
  10. Stuart S, Galna B, Lord S, Rochester L (2016) A protocol to examine vision and gait in Parkinson’s disease: Impact of cognition and response to visual cues FI000 Research 4 DOI: 10.12688/f1000research.7320.2
  11. Stuart S, Lord S, Hill E, Rochester L (2016) Gait in Parkinson’s disease: A visuo-cognitive challenge Neuroscience & Biobeh Reviews Mar;62:76-88
  12. Barry G, Galna B, Lord S, Rochester L, Godfrey A. Defining ambulatory bouts in free-living activity: Impact of brief stationary periods on bout metrics. Gait Posture 2015, 42(4), 594-597.
  13. Mactier K, Lord S, Godfrey A, Burn D, Rochester L. (2015)   The relationship between real world ambulatory activity and falls in incident Parkinson's disease: Influence of classification scheme. Parkinsonism Relat Disord Mar 21(3):236-42
  14. Stuart S, Alcock, L, Godfrey A, Lord S, Rochester L, Galna B (2015) Accuracy and re-test reliability of mobile eye-tracking in Parkinson's disease and older adults. Med Engineering & Physics 38(3)
  15. Hiorth YH, Larsen JP, Lode K, Tysnes OB, Godfrey A, Lord S, Rochester L, Pedersen KF (2016) Impact of falls on physical activity in people with Parkinson's disease. J Parkinson's Dis 6(1):175-82.
  16. Galna B, Lord S, Burn DJ, Rochester L. Progression of Gait Dysfunction in Incident Parkinson's Disease: Impact of Medication and Phenotype. Mov Disord 2015, 30(3), 359-367.
  17. Lord S, Galna B, Coleman S, Yarnall A, Burn D, Rochester L. (2014) Cognition and gait show a selective pattern of association dominated by phenotype in incident Parkinson’s disease. Front Aging Neurosci 6: 249
  18. Rochester L, Galna B, Lord S, Mhiripiri D, Eglon G, Chinnery PF. Gait impairment procedes clinical symptoms in spinocerebellar ataxia type 6. Mov Disord 2014, 29(2), 252-255.
  19. Verghese J, et al Motoric cognitive risk syndrome: Multicountry prevalence and dementia risk. Neurology 2014, 83(8), 718-726.
  20. Godfrey A, Lord S, Galna B, Mathers J, Burn D, Rochester L. The association between retirement and age on physical activity in older adults. Age Ageing 2014, 43(3), 386-393.
  21. Stuart S, Alcock L, Galna B, Lord S, Rochester L. The measurement of visual sampling during real-world activity in Parkinson's disease and healthy controls: A structured literature review. Journal of Neuroscience Methods 2014, 222, 175-188.
  22. Rochester L, Galna B, Lord S, Burn D. The nature of dual-task interference during gait in incident Parkinson's disease. Neuroscience 2014, 265, 83-94.
  23. Lord S, Galna B, Verghese J, Coleman S, Burn D and Rochester L (2013) Independent domains of gait in older adults and associated motor and non-motor attributes: Validation of a factor analysis approach J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 68(7):820–827
  24. Galna B, Lord S, Rochester L. Is gait variability reliable in older adults and Parkinson's disease? Towards an optimal testing protocol. Gait Posture 2013, 37(4), 580-585.
  25. Lord S, Galna B, Coleman S, Burn D, Rochester L. Mild Depressive Symptoms Are Associated with Gait Impairment in Early Parkinson's Disease. Mov Disord 2013, 28(5), 634-639.
  26. Lord S, Galna B, Rochester L. Moving Forward on Gait Measurement: Toward a More Refined Approach. Mov Disord 2013, 28(11), 1534-1543.
  27. Lord S, Godfrey A, Galna B, Mhiripiri D, Burn D and Rochester L (2013) Ambulatory activity in incident Parkinson’s: More than meets the eye J Neuro 260(12):2964-72


2009 Voted one of five ‘Most important New Zealand Physiotherapists’ – results of national survey
2006 Emerging Researcher Award, Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago, 2006
2000 Fanny Evans Scholarship, University of Otago (PhD study) 2000 - 2006