May 31, 2023

RSI Research Day – 2023 Recap

RSI Research Day 2023

Download the complete: 2023 RSI Abstract Booklet
Stay tuned for photos from our event!

Thursday, May 25, 2023 marked the highly anticipated return of the annual RSI Research Day, a student showcase like no other celebrating the recent milestones, accomplishments, success stories and research findings of the next generation of rehabilitation leaders at the University of Toronto.

After successfully hosting the event virtually for the past three years due to the pandemic, this year's Research Day Committee, led by the dynamic duo of Beatrice Manduchi and Natasha Benn, remained determined to revitalize the cherished research showcase within the halls of MacLeod Auditorium, its original venue.

Each year, RSI Research Day highlights 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 over 90 attendees, the event drew the masses for its epic in-person return. The central theme to this year’s event was Person Oriented-Care.

The day got off to an uplifting start as Dr. Angela Colantonio, RSI Director, and Professor Justin Nodwell, Vice Dean of Research & Health Science Education at Temerty, delivered inspiring opening remarks. Their warm welcome served as a poignant reminder of the essential role rehabilitation plays in shaping the future of healthcare.

Next, we heard from this year's keynote speaker, Ms. Annette McKinnon, Patient Advisor, Partner in Research, Speaker and Blogger, who gave a timely talk on Patient Advocacy and Partnership in Research through her insights as a patient turned researcher!

During the midday program, guests were able to participate in the panel discussion on Patient-Oriented Research from Three Perspectives: the Patient, the Caregiver, and the Researcher, with experts from each category. Special thanks go out to Mr. Ryan Cowley, Mr. Ron Beleno and Dr. Lisa D. Hawke for their shared wisdom in their fields respectively and insight resulting in such engaging discussions.

The day came to a fitting close by celebrating the achievements of the RSI community by means of the RSI Recognition Awards Ceremony.

Congratulations to this year’s winners:




Research Excellence Award

Susan Zahir, MSc Student
Reeman MarzouqahPhD Candidate

Leadership and Inspiration Award

Kieran Wheatley, MSc Student
Kai Ian LeungPhD Candidate

Community Service Award

Madalena Liougas, MSc Student
Daniela Testani PhD Student




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

Emily Nalder

Dr. Dina Brooks Award for Continuing/Sustained
Excellence in Graduate Student Supervision and Mentorship

Nick Reed

Teaching Award

Julio Furlan

Rosalie Wang

Faculty/Staff Service Award

Alison Novak

Sarah Munce

Chanh Diep

Peer Mentorship Award

Sander Hitzig




Outstanding Leadership Award

Viivi Riis                                       

Outstanding Service Award

Eric Robitaille




3 Minute Presentation 

Emily Wood, PhD Candidate
Somayah Al-Ees, PhD Student
Francis Routledge, MSc Student
Brynna Kerr, PhD Student
Vjura Senthilnathan, MSc Student
Michelle Legasto-MulvalePhD Candidate
Armineh Babikian, PhD Student




Best Poster                                       

Chelsea Buckley, MSc Student
Racquel Brown, MSc Student

Daniela Testani, PhD Student
Michelle Espinosa, PhD Student

People's Choice

Susan Zahir, MSc Student
Ashvene Sureshkumar, PhD Student
Stephanie CiminoPhD Candidate

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Akbota Tleuberdinova, MSc Student
Juliana Nunes da Silva, MSc Student




KT Competition

Vivian Che, MSc Student
Michelle Espinosa, PhD Student 

All told, more than 40 posters and oral presentations were made and several faculty, staff, students and family members attended the event online to celebrate the excellent scholarship taking place at RSI. Thank you to all those who attended, to the RSI Research Day Committee and staff for making this year’s event an even greater success!

As always, thank you to our valued sponsors and donors:

For those of you who were unable to join us, we look forward to seeing you in 2024 at our next innovative, informative and inspiring day of research at RSI!