Online Tools: EBRSR Stroke Engine

Jessica Powers

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from?
A: I was born and raised in the Greater Toronto Area and received my BSc in Kinesiology at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. I have recently moved to the heart of the city to pursue a graduate education at University of Toronto. I am a first year MSc student in the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute and am conducting my research at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute under the supervision of Dr. Kara Patterson.

Q: What compelled you to pursue stroke research?
A: In the fourth year of my undergraduate program my neuro-pathophysiology course hosted a guest lecturer from Toronto Rehab. The talk on stroke highlighted the impressive rehabilitation efforts at Toronto Rehab and the exciting new research taking place there. It piqued my interest, so I volunteered to participate in a study there, which was very cool! I also received a tour of the unique research labs and equipment, and met a couple of the scientists. I knew I wanted to pursue stroke research while sitting in that undergrad guest lecture and the rest sealed the deal for me.

Q: What is the focus of your research?
A: My research aims to investigate motor learning principles of the lower extremity post-stroke, specifically the extent to which visual feedback can influence motor learning of a walking task, and the frequency in which it should be provided. Understanding of motor learning principles post-stroke can be implemented in clinical practice to improve gait outcomes for patients and inform design of future interventions.

Q: At what stage are you in your research, and what are your current future plans?
A: After collecting lots of pilot data and doing some technical trouble shooting, we have recently started recruiting. Very exciting! We are recruiting individuals with stroke who are inpatients at Toronto Rehab and collecting data on site. Ultimately, I hope to pursue a career in health care as a physical therapist and hope to specialize in working with neurological populations, especially stroke.

Q: How do you and others benefit from being part of the National Trainee Association?
A: Being part of the CPSR National Trainee Association offers a platform for us to interact with our peers across Canada and share our passion for stroke recovery. The NTA offers trainees a variety of opportunities for professional development, including peer mentoring, funding competitions and events. This year I had the opportunity to attend the SPiN Workshop, which was absolutely awesome! It was a great opportunity to have hands-on learning about stroke research happening in Toronto and meet other trainees from across Canada.

Q: What other interests do you have?
A: In my spare time I enjoy tutoring young students in math and science. For fun I like to read novels, watch movies, and explore nature and run at conservation areas.