Associate Professor

Karl Zabjek

Physical Therapy


Rehabilitation Sciences Building
160-500 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario Canada M5G 1V7
Research Interests
Movement Science, Rehabilitation Technology Sciences
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Dr. Zabjek is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and has extensive applied expertise within the field of Clinical Biomechanics. Dr. Zabjek developed his knowledge of Biomechanics within the context of the Undergraduate Kinesiology program at the University of Waterloo, and learned to apply this knowledge to develop clinically relevant research questions that address the contemporary  issues  encountered by individuals living with a neuromusculoskeletal condition. Dr. Zabjek developed this knowledge and expertise within the context of a Masters in Clinical Science at the University of Sherbrook and a Doctorate in Biomedical Science in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Montreal.

Dr. Zabjek’s current research is focused on the development of clinical models to assess the structure and function of the spine in children and youth living with a Paediatric Spinal Deformity. A secondary focus of his research aims to understand the multiple determinants of mobility in individuals living with a Disability. This program of research is conducted in collaboration with researchers from the Rehabilitation Sciences Sector at the University of Toronto, The Hospital for Sick Children, the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and St Michael's Hospital.

Research Synopsis

Mobility impairment is one of the leading causes of disability for individuals living with a neuromusculoskeletal condition, and is associated with decreased levels of physical activity, cardiovascular fitness and quality of life. The long term goal of my program of research is to develop new insight into the facilitators and barriers of mobility in individuals who are living with a neuromusculoskeletal condition. Of specific interest is to build new knowledge about the determinants of postural and locomotor behaviour in light of structural and functional deficits and the constructs of the built environment.

Recent Publications

  1. Nalder EJ, Zabjek K, Dawson DR, Bottari CL, Gagnon I, McFadyen BJ, Hunt AW, McKenna S, Ouellet MC, Giroux S, Cullen N, Niechwiej-Szwedo E; ONF-REPAR ABI Team. Research Priorities for Optimizing Long-term Community Integration after Brain Injury. Can J Neurol Sci. 2018 Nov;45(6):643-651. doi: 10.1017/cjn.2018.334.
  2. Gagnon I, Friedman D, Beauchamp MH, Christie B, DeMatteo C, Macartney G, McFadyen BJ, Sirois K, Taneja C, Zabjek K, Zemek R, Mrazik M. The Canadian Pediatric Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Common Data Elements Project: Harmonizing Outcomes to Increase Understanding of Pediatric Concussion.  J Neurotrauma. 2018 Aug 15;35(16):1849-1857. doi: 10.1089/neu.2018.5887.
  3. Lee AL, Zabjek K, Goldstein RS, Brooks D. Systematic Review of Postural Assessment in Individuals With Obstructive Respiratory Conditions: Measurement and Clinical Associations. J Cardiopulm Rehabil Prev. 2017 Mar;37(2):90-102. doi: 10.1097/HCR.0000000000000207. Review.
  4. Chee JN, Gage WH, McIlroy WE, Zabjek KF. Foot placement patterns of female rollator users with multiple sclerosis in the community. Disabil Rehabil. 2013 Jan;35(1):27-35. doi:  10.3109/09638288.2012.687028. Epub 2012 May 24.
  5. Michalski A, Glazebrook CM, Martin AJ, Wong WW, Kim AJ, Moody KD, Salbach NM, Steinnagel B, Andrysek J, Torres-Moreno R, Zabjek KF. Assessment of the postural control strategies used to play two Wii Fit™ videogames. Gait Posture. 2012 Jul;36(3):449-53. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2012.04.005. Epub 2012 May 19.]