RSI Research Day 2019: Recap

RSI Research Day 2019

Download the complete 2019 RSI Abstract booklet

Tuesday, May 14, 2019 marked this year’s Rehabilitation Sciences Institute (RSI) Research Day event which took place in the McLeod Auditorium/Stone Lobby at the University of Toronto, St. George Campus.

Every year, the RSI Research Day event showcases and celebrates the research being conducted by the bright and talented graduate students of RSI via poster and oral presentations and this year was no exception! With approx. 100 attendees, the event drew the masses! New to tradition, for the third time running, students and faculty participated in a panel discussion with this year’s theme on “Engaging Patients in Research” led by Dr. Sharon Gabison and panelists Dr. Janet Parsons, PhD student, Enrico Quilico and Dr. Shannon Scratch.

The day began with some inspiring opening remarks by none other than the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Vice Provost for Relations with Health Care Institutions, Dr. Trevor Young, and RSI’s very own Director, Dr. Angela Colantonio who gave a warm welcome to new faculty.

This year marked several new additions to the program such as the RSI Scholarships and Endowed Awards Presentation where our well deserving student award recipients were recognized as well as our donors who continue to loyally support our departmental awards. Also new this year was the morning session led by two notable RSI alumni, Dr. Nick Reed and Dr. Marina Wasilewski who spoke on the topical theme of the use of Twitter in academia.

Special thanks goes out to guest speaker Dr. Michael Strong(MD, FRCPC), President of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), who provided exciting insight to the “Future Strategic Priorities and Future Directions at CIHR” during his special remarks.

During the midday program, keynote speaker Dr. Alison Cernich, PhD, Director of the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (NCMRR), also gave a thought-provoking speech on the “Emerging Innovations in Rehabilitation Research”, captivating faculty and students on how this theme relates to the future of rehab.

The event wrapped up with the RSI Recognition Awards ceremony and some wine and cheese.

Congratulations to this year’s winners:


Research Recognition AwardAnalyssa Cardenas, MSc Student
Janelle Unger, PhD Candidate
Leadership and Innovation AwardMary Boulos, MSc Student
Erin Miller, PhD Candidate
Community Service AwardZara Szigeti, MSc Student
Sarah Gregor, PhD Student


Award                                                                         recipient(s)                                                            

Dr. Patty Rigby Award for Early Career
Excellence in Supervision and Mentorship

Dr. Heather Colquhoun

Continuing/Sustained Excellence in Graduate
Student Supervision and Mentorship Award

Dr. Susan Jaglal
Dr. Helene Polatajko


award                                 Recipient(s)          
Early Career AwardDr. Michael Hutchison
Later Career AwardMs. Heather McPherson


award                                                   recipient(S)                                      
3 Minute Presentation 

Tyler Saumur, PhD Candidate
Mary Boulos, MSc Student
Katie Mah, PhD Candidate

7 Minute Presentation 

Megan Towns, PhD Candidate
Mikaela Stiver, PhD Candidate
Chen Xiong, PhD Candidate


award                                       recipient(s)   
Best Poster

Andrea Hung, MSc Student 
Ilana Naiman, PhD Student

People's Choice

Julia Rybkina, MSc Student
Sara Hanafy, PhD Student

Sex and GenderSara Hanafy, PhD Student

All told, more than 30 posters and oral presentations were made and several faculty, staff, students and family members attended the event to celebrate the excellent scholarship taking place at RSI. Thank you to all those who attended and to the RSI Research Day Organizing Committee and RSI Staff for making this year’s event such a great success!

As always, thank you to our valued sponsors:

For those of you who were unable to join us, we look forward to seeing you in 2020 at our next exciting, informative and inspiring day of research at RSI!