Professor Suzanne Snodgrass

Professor Suzanne Snodgrass - woman with long hair standing smiling in front of a beach
Research Program:
Research Topics:

Brief Profile

Professor Suzanne Snodgrass is a registered physiotherapist, educator, and researcher in movement control, pain and rehabilitation. She holds a number of concurrent leadership roles including Head of the Physiotherapy Discipline at the University of Newcastle and Director of the Biomechanics and Exercise Testing Laboratory at Newcastle’s Callaghan campus. Professor Snodgrass’ research program aims to address gaps in our understanding of pain, movement and balance dysfunction, and discover new ways to treat movement dysfunction through exercise and physical activity.

My main research activity currently focuses on strategies to identify age-related balance decline in adults younger than 65, and to promote physical activity and exercise interventions to improve balance, prevent falls and slow the ageing process. I also work on projects to identify movement-related injury risk factors in athletes and people with pain conditions, and to develop and evaluate interventions to address these risk factors.

Over the past 20 years I have worked in a teaching and research capacity, following 10 years in clinical practice as a musculoskeletal and sports physiotherapist and certified athletic trainer.

I have specific experience in the use of exercise-based muscle retraining for people and athletes with pain, movement or balance problems. I assess movement problems using laboratory measures of human movement such as 3D motion capture, force sensors, and monitoring brain and muscle activity during movement.


Why did you get into research?

Early in my career, I spent 10 years working as a physiotherapist in private practice and sports physiotherapy, which motivated me to empower my patients to look after their own health and heath problems. This led me to want to better understand the underlying causes of health problems, so that I could give patients successful strategies to manage them.

I now want to take everything I’ve learned and apply it to bringing better balance to our populations – working on strategies that can start while we are younger to ensure less falls and instability as we age.


What would be the ultimate goal for your research?

My vision is to create world-leading treatments to promote better healthier living, supported by discoveries of the underlying causes of movement problems.

If we move better, we feel better. I’d like to see more people motivated to look after their own health by undertaking physical activity and empowered by better movement strategies. And, to ensure that everyone has the support of targeted programs that help them to do exactly that.


Future Focus

My research is currently focussed on developing strategies for more effective assessment of balance to enable early identification of balance problems and falls risk in middle age. This will support the promotion of physical activity interventions for middle age to reduce falls risk and prevent age-related health decline. Ultimately, I want people to be empowered to use exercise to help slow the ageing process and reduce the number of people who are dependent on others for help as they get older, or at least delaying the need for help for an extra decade or so.


Specialised/Technical Skills

  • 3D measurement of human movement, including balance, measured with motion capture technology
  • Injury prediction in sports, falls and ageing
  • Muscle composition and brain structure and function using MRI and fNIRS
  • Trials of physiotherapy, exercise and manual therapy interventions embedded in clinical practice



  • Australian Physiotherapy Association
  • Sports Medicine Australia
  • Council of Physiotherapy Deans of Australia and New Zealand