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Project Descriptions

The following scientists are accepting applications for the 2019 Ward Summer Student Research program. Please ensure you familiarize yourself with the project descriptions and requirements below, as well as the Ward summer student application requirements.

To apply, please submit your application through Holland Bloorview's Current Openings to the relevant scientists' job posting.


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). The student will assist with the development and update of the Dystonia in Cerebral Palsy Care Pathway, developed in partnership with the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine. A Care Pathway is a practical summary, including an algorithm, of evidence informed guidelines or the best evidence, for an aspect of care/services for individuals with childhood-onset disabilities to inform clinical practice. The student will be responsible for updating a systematic review examining the latest literature, summarizing new findings and integrating new information into the Care Pathway under the guidance of Dr. Darcy Fehlings, the team lead for the Dystonia in Cerebral Palsy Care Pathway.

The student will also 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.

To be eligible, students must be enrolled in the 3rd or 4th year of an undergraduate degree program or medical school, and have a minimum cumulative academic average (GPA) of 75% or over.

See Darcy Fehling'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.

We are looking for an enthusiastic summer student to work on our interactive gaming projects for physical and occupational therapies. We use the latest interactive gaming technologies (Kinect 2.0, Leap Motion, Myo, etc.) to push the current limits of technology to help meet our goals. Working with clinicians, engineers and researchers you will be assisting in developing/analyzing data/researching interactive video games that incorporate the goals of our clients’ therapies.

To be eligible, students must be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program.

See Elaine Biddiss' Scientist Profile

Evdokia Anagnostou

In the Autism Research Centre (ARC), we conduct research to understand the biology and symptoms of autism/neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs), and to develop novel interventions for children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and related NDDs. The successful candidate will work on our large Province of Ontario Neurodevelopmental Disorders Network (POND) Study. The POND study explores how genes, brains and bodies are different if a person has ASD, ADHD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), intellectual disability, or other NDDs.

To be eligible, students must be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program or medical school, with a cumulative GPA of 80% or over. 

See Evdokia Anagnostou's Scientist Profile

Fiona Moola

Dr. Moola is a scientist at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital (Holland Bloorview) 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.

The student will be a member of the Health Experiences and Arts Based Research Lab (HEART) led by Dr. Moola. The HEART lab at Holland Bloorview and the University of Toronto is dedicated to generating evidence on the role of the arts in the lives of young people with chronic illnesses and disabilities. Further, the HEART lab also fosters evidence on the role of arts-based research in the production of knowledge about health experiences.

In this summer internship, the student will a) analyze data from the Telling my Tale National Storybook study; b) analyze data from a children’s cancer camp study; c) engage in an art historical analysis of disabilities’ representation during the Renaissance; and d) assist with ethics applications.

To be eligible, students must be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program.

See Fiona Moola's scientist profile

Jan Andrysek

The student will be a member of the PROPEL Lab - an interdisciplinary team of researchers, engineers and clinicians focused on studying and developing new technologies and techniques to help individuals with severe physical disabilities walk again and be physically active. Our work includes rehabilitation engineering, prosthetics, orthotics, assistive devices, engineering design, biomechanics, human gait, gait and balance assessment, and technologies for developing countries. This role will involve aspects of research and technical development.

To be eligible, students must be enrolled in an undergraduate engineering degree program and have a GPA of 3.7 or higher in their last two years of study.

See Jan Andrysek's Scientist Profile

Laura McAdam

The student will be working with Dr. Laura McAdam and conducting research looking at rehabilitation service delivery for children with Rett syndrome across Ontario. This role will involve the development of a questionnaire and building the questionnaire in REDCap. You will also assist with recruitment of health care professionals, data collection and entry, analysis and report writing. The student will gain practical experience in a repertoire of clinical research skills.

To be eligible, students must be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program.

See Laura McAdam's Scientist Profile

Melanie Penner

The student will be a member of the Autism Research Centre (ARC) - an interdisciplinary team of researchers and clinicians focused on children and youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). While there will be the opportunity to work on a few different projects over the summer term, the student will specifically assist with the analysis of survey data and formulation of policy and advocacy recommendations based on the results. The student will also have the opportunity to observe ASD diagnostic assessments and will gain practical experience in working with children and youth with ASD as well as developing a repertoire of clinical research skills.

To be eligible, students must be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program.

See Melanie Penner's Scientist Profile

Nick Reed

The student will be a member of an interdisciplinary team of researchers and clinicians focused on paediatric mild traumatic brain injury (concussion). The student will have an opportunity to work on various projects over the summer term exploring the role of education and access to resources on improving concussion reporting and management. The student’s role will involve supporting literature reviews, ongoing recruitment of research participants, and supporting data collection, data entry and data analysis to help us learn more about paediatric concussion. The student may also have the opportunity to assist with concussion education/community outreach initiatives. The student will develop a repertoire of clinical research skills.

To be eligible, students must be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program or medical school.

See Nick Reed's Scientist Profile

Shannon Scratch

Shannon Scratch is a clinician scientist at Holland Bloorview 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 student will have the opportunity to contribute to various projects over the summer term exploring the neuropsychological implications following acquired brain injury. The student’s role will involve assisting with recruitment of research participants, completing background literature reviews, and data collection. The student will gain practical experience working with psychologists, psychological interns, and interdisciplinary team members, to learn about acquired brain injury and develop a repertoire of basic clinical and research skills.

To be eligible, students must be enrolled in a 3rd or 4th year undergraduate psychology degree program or equivalent. Student must also have completed at least one research method course.

See Shannon Scratch's scientist profile

Tom Chau

The student will be a member of the PRISM Lab – a multidisciplinary team of individuals focused on maximizing possibilities for children and youth with disabilities and special needs, along with their families, through excellence in applied science and engineering.

This role will involve collaboration with a multidisciplinary team comprised of engineers, clinicians and stakeholders. In this context, the student will specifically assist with technology prototyping, recruitment, data collection, data entry and data analysis. The student will learn how to interact with children and youth in a research context, and gain knowledge on real-time data acquisition and signal processing techniques.

To be eligible, students must be enrolled in an undergraduate engineering degree program and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 85% or over.

See Tom Chau's Scientist Profile

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