Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from?
I grew up in a small town 2 hours west of Ottawa called Deep River. I recently finished my PhD (Feb 2015) in Rehabilitation Science from the University of Toronto with Dr. Bill McIlroy and Dr. Eric Roy. Right now I’m a stay-at-home dad and I plan on starting post-doctoral work in the fall.
What compelled you to pursue stroke research?
I have always been an active person and the brain has fascinated me. Previously, I worked with Parkinson’s disease and exercise rehabilitation which opened up a broader research interest into the link between exercise and the brain. I became interested in the ability of physical exercise to both maintain and restore brain function. So, I moved into applying exercise to stroke recovery. I’m fascinated by how such a simple thing as a little bit of physical activity can have such a profound effect on the debilitating effects of a stroke.
What is the focus of your research?
My PhD work was focused on the use of aerobic exercise as an adjunct to upper-limb training for individuals recovering from a stroke. I investigated a model of having individuals exercise immediately prior to task training to see if the exercise would ‘prime’ subsequent performance. I was focused on single-session effects of exercise and I hope to expand into the longitudinal effects of exercise paired with therapeutic intervention for those recovering from a stroke.
How do you and others benefit from being part of the National Trainee Association?
The most direct benefit to me has been the SPiN workshop which provides an opportunity to interact with other trainees from across the country in a similar field. I particularly enjoyed the lab tours.
What other interests do you have?
I occasionally still pretend to be a hockey player and I spend as much time outdoors as possible.