Dr Nada Signal

Senior Lecturer, School of Clinical Sciences, Co-Director, Rehabilitation Innovation Centre

Phone: 021 929 144

Email: nada.signal@aut.ac.nz

Physical Address:
AUT North Campus
90 Akoranga Drive

ORCID: ORCID logo  https://orcid.org/https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9595-053

Links to relevant web pages:
Neurological Rehabilitation


  • Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
  • Masters of Health Science (MHSc) in Rehabilitation
  • Bachelor of Health Science (BHSc) in Physiotherapy

Memberships and Affiliations:


I am a Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy at Auckland University of Technology’s School of Clinical Sciences and Co-Director of the Rehabilitation Innovation Centre. My research focuses on innovation in rehabilitation clinical practice and the development of novel technologies to augment rehabilitation. I have 20 years’ clinical and leadership experience in community, rehabilitation and acute healthcare settings; primarily working with people with neurological conditions. In 2007 I completed my Masters of Health Science investigating neuromuscular fatigue in people with stroke, and in 2014 my Doctorate of Philosophy investigating the effects of different forms of exercise rehabilitation in people with stroke.

Teaching Areas:

  • Neuro Rehabilitation
  • Stroke Rehabilitation
  • Exercise Rehabilitation
  • Physiotherapy
  • Motor Control
  • Motor Learning
  • Research Methodology
  • Neuroscience

Research Areas:

  • Stroke Rehabilitation
  • Neurological Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation Technology
  • Rehabilitation Robotics
  • Brain Computer Interfaces
  • Accelerometry
  • Exercise Rehabilitation
  • Neuromodulation
  • Motor Control and Motor Learning

Research Summary:

My research applies understanding of neurophysiology and motor control to the field of rehabilitation to inform the development of novel physical rehabilitation interventions, including rehabilitation technologies.

I am interested in unpacking patients’ and clinicians’ perspectives of rehabilitation in particular the constructs of intensity, volume, specificity and dose of rehabilitation activity.

As a Co-Director of the Rehabilitation Innovation Centre I have focused on developing new rehabilitation technologies as a vehicle for translating research to clinical practice. With a multidisciplinary team of Clinicians, Biomedical Engineers, Health Psychologists, Designers, Neuroscientists, Stroke Advisors and Commercialisation experts across national and international organisations we have worked to commercialise rehabilitation technologies including:

  1. A portable, robotic upper limb rehabilitation device
  2. A brain computer interface device for enhancing neuroplasticity during rehabilitation
  3. An accelerometry based behaviour change technology for increasing physical activity in rehabilitation.

Current Research Projects:

  • The Intense Trial: Co-design to promote the intensity and dose of inpatient rehabilitation.
  • Strength for Task Training: A novel locomotor rehabilitation intervention.
  • Conceptualizing and understanding the experience of Flow in Rehabilitation.
  • Excite-BCI: A brain computer interface to promote neural plasticity in people with stroke.
  • BuzzNudge: Using accelerometry to promote upper limb activity in rehabilitation.
  • RoboRover: A portable, robotic upper limb rehabilitation device.
  • Characterising clinical reasoning in Ankle Foot Orthosis prescription.
  • Exploring the kinematic, electromyographic and pedobarographic parameters of locomotor activities in the REX Robotic Exoskeleton.
  • The feasibility, safety and acceptability of the REX robotic exoskeleton for physical activity and upper limb exercise in people with spinal cord injury.


Taylor, D., Binns, E., & Signal, N. (2017). Upping the ante: Working harder to address physical inactivity in older adults. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 30(5), 352-357. doi:10.1097/YCO.0000000000000349

Birch, N., Graham, J., Priestley, T., Heywood, C., Sakel, M., Gall, A., . . . Signal, N. (2017). Results of the first interim analysis of the RAPPER II trial in patients with spinal cord injury: Ambulation and functional exercise programs in the REX powered walking aid. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, 14.

Jochumsen, M., Rovsing, C., Rovsing, H., Cremoux, S., Signal, N., Allen, K., . . . Niazi, I. K. (2017). Quantification of movement-related EEG correlates associated with motor training: A study on movement-related cortical potentials and sensorimotor rhythms.. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 11, 1-12. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2017.00604

Olsen, S. O., Signal, N., Niazi, I., Christensen, T., Jochumsen, M., & Taylor, D. T. (2017). Paired associative stimulation delivered by pairing movement-related cortical potentials with peripheral electrical stimulation: An investigation of the duration of neuromodulatory effects. Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface, 1-6. doi:10.1111/ner.12616

Signal, N., McPherson, K., Lewis, G., Kayes, N., Saywell, N., Mudge, S., & Taylor, D. (2016). What influences acceptability and engagement with a high intensity exercise programme for people with stroke? A qualitative descriptive study. NeuroRehabilitation, 39(4), 507-517. doi:10.3233/NRE-161382

Jochumsen, M., Niazi, I., Signal, N., Nedergaard, R. W., Holt, K., Haavik, H., & Taylor, D. (2016). Pairing voluntary movement and muscle-located electrical stimulation increases cortical excitability. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 10, 1-8. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2016.00482

Mudge, S., Rosie, J., Stott, S., Taylor, D., Signal, N., & McPherson, K. (2016). Ageing with cerebral palsy; what are the health experiences of adults with cerebral palsy? A qualitative study. BMJ Open, 6(10), 1. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-012551

Jochumsen, M., Signal, N., Nedergaard, R. W., Taylor, D., Haavik, H., & Niazi, I. K. (2015). Induction of long-term depression-like plasticity by pairings of motor imagination and peripheral electrical stimulation. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9, 1-8.

Wilson, N. C., Signal, N., Naude, Y., Taylor, D., & Stott, N. S. (2015). Gait deviation index correlates with daily step activity in children with cerebral palsy. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 96(10), 1924-1927. doi:10.1016/j.apmr.2015.05.024

Signal, N. E. J.
(2014). Strength training after stroke: Rationale, evidence and potential implementation barriers for physiotherapists. New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy, 42(2), 101-107.

Lewis, G. N., Signal, N., & Taylor, D. (2014). Reliability of lower limb motor evoked potentials in stroke and healthy populations: How many responses are needed?. Clinical Neurophysiology, 125(4), 748-754.

Signal, N., Taylor, D., & McNair, P. J. (2008). Central and peripheral contributions to neuromuscular fatigue in people with stroke. Physical Therapy Reviews, 13(4), 249-257.

Muir, A. L., Jones, L. M., & Signal, N. (2007). Is neuroplasticity promoted by task complexity?. New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy 37(3) 136-146, 37(3), 136-146.


  • 2017 C-Prize Wearable Technologies Finalist (Rehabilitation Innovation Team)
  • 2017-present Principal Investigator, Medical Technologies Centre of Research Excellence, 2016 Physiotherapy New Zealand Conference Scientific Committee
  • 2016 Chairperson, Medical Technologies Centre of Research Excellence Conference
  • 2016 Organising Committee
  • 2016 Acting Chairperson, Neurological Physiotherapy Special Interest Group, Physiotherapy New Zealand
  • 2015-2017 Associate Investigator, Medical Technologies Centre of Research Excellence
  • 2015 Best Platform Presentation No Tech to Go Tech: Stroke Rehabilitation Conference Christchurch, New Zealand
  • 2015 MedTech CoRE Conference 2015 Organising Committee Member
  • 2014 Doctorate of Philosophy, Neuroscience and Rehabilitation, AUT University
  • 2014-present Member of Physiotherapy New Zealand
  • 2013-present Member of the International Society of Motor Contro
  • 2013 Awarded an Ulu manu (War club) and Ula fala (Orators adornment) in recognition of support to Pacifica Physiotherapy students.