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Project descriptions

The following scientists are accepting summer student applications for the 2018 year. Please ensure you familiarize yourself with Ward summer student application requirements.


Amy McPherson

Dr. Amy McPherson is a Scientist in the Bloorview Research Institute and Assistant Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Toronto. Dr. McPherson’s program of research focuses upon health and wellness promotion in children with long-term conditions and disabilities. She has a particular interest in the use of strengths-based interventions to promote healthy lifestyles, and weight-related communication best practices.To be eligible, students studying life sciences, arts and humanities, social sciences or enrolled in other relevant programs will be given priority.  Students must also be in their 3rd or 4th year of study and have an academic average of 80% or over.

See Amy McPherson's scientist profile

Azadeh Kushki

At the Autism Research Centre, our goal is to improve the quality of care for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) through innovative research. The engineering team at ARC develops algorithms and devices that improve our understanding of ASD and facilitate treatment delivery. To be eligible, students must be enrolled in an undergraduate engineering or computer science program and have an academic average of 80% or over.

See Azadeh Kushki's scientist profile

Darcy Fehlings

The student will be a member of the CP Discovery Lab - an interdisciplinary team of researchers and clinicians focused on children and youth with cerebral palsy (CP). While there will be the opportunity to work on a few different projects over the summer term, the student will specifically assist with the start-up and execution of a study that examines the use of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) paired with constraint therapy in children with Hemiplegic CP to improve hand function. This role will involve direct contact with children with CP and/or their caregivers to facilitate the 2-week camp environment of the study. Furthermore, the incumbent may be assigned the following duties: a review of the literature, data cleaning, analyses, manuscript writing, and reference/bibliography management. The student will gain practical experience in the process of clinical research and may lead to manuscript submission to a peer-reviewed journal with opportunities for authorship.

To be eligible, students must be in their 3rd or 4th year of study and have an academic average of 75% or over.

See Darcy Fehling's Scientist Profile

Deryk Beal

Dr. Deryk Beal is a Clinician Scientist, speech-language pathologist, and director of the CONNECT Lab in the Bloorview Research Institute at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. Dr. Beal’s primary interest is the cognitive neuroscience of speech and language. His innovative research aims to understand the neurobiological and behavioural characteristics of communication disorders in childhood and to develop new treatments for children with these impairments. The summer student will contribute to one or more research studies examining at the neural development of speech and language, the efficacy of neuromodulation for induced neuroplasticity and learning, and treatment outcomes for children undergoing speech therapy. To be eligible, students must be in their 3rd or 4th year of study and have an academic average of 75% or over.

See Deryk Beal's Scientist Profile

Elaine Biddiss

The mission of PEARL (Possibility Engineering And Research Lab) is to design and evaluate technologies that create possibilities for disabled children to engage in physical activities and therapies, music, and the arts. Our innovative solutions are designed and evaluated through interdisciplinary collaborations with health professionals, engineers, designers, social scientists, children and their families. To be eligible, students must have an academic average of 80% or over.

See Elaine Biddiss' Scientist Profile

Evdokia Anagnostou

At the Autism Research Centre (ARC) at Holland Bloorview, we do research that aims to improve the function and quality of life of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD or autism) and their families. We conduct innovative research to understand the biology and symptoms of autism, and to develop novel interventions for children and adults with autism. Dr. Evdokia Anagnostou and Dr. Jessica Brain are co-directors of ARC. To be eligible, students studying life sciences, arts and humanities, social sciences or enrolled in other relevant programs will be given priority and must have an academic average of 80% or over.

See Evdokia Anagnostou's Scientist Profile

Fiona Moola

Dr. Moola is a Scientist at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and an Assistant Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Dr. Moola explores the role of the arts on quality of life and psychosocial wellbeing in children with chronic illnesses and disabilities. She takes a broad and encompassing perspective on the arts, including visual arts, musical arts, embodied arts, drama and theatre. Dr. Moola is accepting applications from students to assist with several summer projects. The first pertains to camp participation in the lives of childhood cancer survivors. The second study will examine the impact of a community based arts program for children with disabilities. The third project will examine the intersection between children with disabilities and museum curatorship. To be eligible, students studying life sciences, arts and humanities, social sciences or enrolled in other relevant programs will be given priority.  Students must also be in their 3rd or 4th year of study and have an academic average of 80% or over.

See Fiona Moola's scientist profile


Gillian King (2 summer student positions)

Dr. Gillian King is a Senior Scientist within the Bloorview Research Institute, Canada Research Chair in Optimal Care for Children with Disabilities, and a Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on psychosocial aspects of intervention for children/youth with disabilities and their families. Dr. Michelle Phoenix, a BRI-CanChild Postdoctoral Fellow, is the lead researcher on the project and will assist with supervision. Her research interests include parent engagement in children’s therapy services and parent mental health and well-being. Two summer students will be involved with the project, titled “Opening the conversation with parents about their mental health concerns and needs: A systematic review to identify relevant screening tools.” The project aligns with the Mental Health Strategy initiative underway at the hospital. The project will identify and critically appraise existing parent mental health screening tools that can potentially be used by clinicians and parents at Holland Bloorview. The interdisciplinary project team consists of clinicians, researchers, educators, and a parent in a leadership role on the Family Advisory Council. The students will work together to conduct the literature review, synthesize the information, and critically appraise measures that have been used to screen for mental health concerns in parents of children with disabilities, chronic illnesses, and complex care needs. The students will conduct the literature review with the guidance of the team, and engage in knowledge translation and mobilization activities.

To be eligible, students studying life sciences, arts and humanities, social sciences or enrolled in other relevant programs will be given priority.  Students must also be in their 3rd or 4th year of study and have an academic average of 80% or over.

See Gillian King's Scientist Profile

Jan Andrysek

As part of the PROPEL lab you will work alongside a team of researchers, engineers and clinicians on projects relating to human biomechanics and human gait, computational biomechanical modeling, the development and evaluation of mobility assistive technologies (MATs) including artificial limbs and orthotics, development and evaluation of quantitative gait and mobility measurement techniques, the application of design management systems in rehabilitation engineering, the assessment of clinical practices and the use of research evidence in the field of prosthetics and orthotics.  To be eligible, students must be enrolled in an undergraduate engineering program. Students must also be in their 2nd, 3rd or 4th year of study and have an academic average of 85% or over.

See Jan Andrysek's Scientist Profile

Nick Reed

Nick Reed is a Clinician Scientist and occupational therapist within the Bloorview Research Institute and Co-Director of the Concussion Centre at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital where he is involved in the development, implementation and evaluation of concussion research, educational and clinical programming.  The summer student will contribute to one or more research studies that look at the area(s) of mild traumatic injury/concussion in kids. Students must also be in their 2nd, 3rd or 4th year of study and priority will be given to students with research experience.

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Shannon Scratch

Shannon Scratch is a Clinician Scientist at the Bloorview Research Institute and a clinical neuropsychologist (supervised practice) within the outpatient Brain Injury Rehabilitation Team. Dr. Scratch conducts research examining neuropsychological and mental health outcomes in children who sustained an acquired brain injury. She is also interested in parent and family functioning within this population. The summer student will contribute to one or more research studies and have the opportunity to engage with an interdisciplinary team of researchers and clinicians. Students must be in their 3rd or 4th year of study and have an average of 80% or over. Students studying psychology will be given priority.

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Steve Ryan

Steve Ryan is a Senior Scientist in the Bloorview Research Institute and an Associate Professor in the Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto. His research focus is on the application of health research methods and measurement science to understand better the real-world impact of assistive technology devices for children and youth with disabilities. This research leads to new thinking about how children’s products should be designed, prescribed, supported, and funded. The summer student will be involved in projects that relate to understanding the effectiveness of augmentative and alternative communication systems for children who have a speech-related disability. The student will help with recruitment, data collection, data entry, and analysis. To be eligible, students must be in their final year in psychology, health sciences, or related program with an academic average of at least 80%.

See Steve Ryan's scientist profile.


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