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Training

Beraki Abraha

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from?
A: I was born and raised in Toronto. I completed my Bachelor of Science degree at York University and I am a first year MSc student in Neuroscience at Memorial University, under the supervision of Dr. Michelle Ploughman.

Q: What compelled you to pursue stroke research?
A:  My interest in the rehabilitation sciences and neural recovery began during my time as an undergrad. I spent my summers as a summer research student conducting traumatic brain injury research.  This interest, cultivated during my undergrad years, led me to pursue my graduate studies in the rehabilitative sciences, where I am able to apply my research in a clinical setting.  I was fortunate enough to learn about Dr. Ploughman’s work firsthand and I was captivated by her passion for stroke recovery research. In addition, Newfoundland and Labrador has the highest prevalence rates of stroke amongst the provinces. With this in mind, I feel that there is a lot of work to be done in this province, which makes what we do in our lab that much more meaningful and worthwhile.

Q: What is the focus of your research?
A:  My research aims to understand underlying motor networks in the brain of stroke patients and determine if there are any observable changes before and after exercise.  Being able to characterize the effects of exercise will allow us to promote its use in conjunction with other rehabilitative therapies to facilitate neural recovery in stroke patients.

Q: At what stage are you in your research, and what are your future plans?
A: I started my Masters at Memorial University in September 2015 after completing my undergraduate degree this past spring. Currently, I’m in the data collection stage of my research. In the future I hope to continue conducting research and one day become a clinician-scientist focused on stroke prevention and recovery.

Q: How do you and others benefit from being part of the National Trainee Association?
A:  The CPSR National Trainee Association includes a great network of budding stroke researchers who have a common goal of improving the lives of stroke patients. Having common research interests fosters the development of long-lasting professional relationships among trainees. In addition, the numerous opportunities available for trainees from funding to mentorships programs makes being a part of the CPSR association extremely worthwhile.

Q:What other interests do you have?
A: Coming to Newfoundland from a big city, I have discovered the beautiful scenery this province has to offer and numerous hiking trails. Sports has always played a big role in my life , I am currently playing in a number of local leagues.  I have also recently begun yoga, thanks to my supervisor who is a yogi!