Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from?
I am originally from Oakville, ON. I completed my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in 2008 and 2010, respectively, from the University of Windsor. I recently received my PhD from York University in Toronto (2014). Since completing my doctoral degree, I have been working as a post-doctoral fellow under Dr. Avril Mansfield at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute.
What compelled you to pursue stroke research?
The potential for contributing to the development and improvement of rehabilitation strategies to aid individuals with stroke in recovering their balance and mobility is very exciting and different for me, as my Master’s and doctoral work had a strong focus on basic science research. Working with Dr. Mansfield on a project examining the effects of different types of exercise training programs on balance recovery capacity and fall occurrence in individuals with stroke was an excellent fit, as it allows me to apply the skills that I learned during my basic science work to more applied research questions that will directly impact and translate to clinical practice.
What is the focus of your research?
Falls are one of the most common complications post-stroke, and therefore improving reactive balance control (i.e., the ability to maintain balance in response to a perturbation, such as being pushed or standing on the subway) may aid in reducing the occurrence of falls. The focus of my research is identifying changes in reactive balance control abilities in individuals with stroke following perturbation-based balance training, which subjects individuals to a series of perturbations such as pushes and pulls in order to improve their ability to recover their balance. We hope to identify the features of reactive balance control that are responsive to this type of training, and further improve the training program to address any features that were unaffected.
At what stage are you in your research, and what are your current future plans?
I began my post-doctoral fellowship in October 2014. I developed our instrumentation and data collection protocols throughout the remainder of the fall, and we began collecting in January. Collection and data processing are currently ongoing. My current career goal is to obtain either a university faculty position or a research scientist position.
How do you and others benefit from being part of the National Trainee Association?
I feel that the networking opportunities provided by the National Trainee Association are among the most valuable benefits, and as a new trainee, I look forward to becoming involved with the Association.
What other interests do you have?
My favourite sports are gymnastics and trampoline. In addition, I also enjoy hiking, travelling, and most importantly, spending time with family and friends.