Jun 6, 2024

RSI Research Day – 2024 Recap

By Jessica Boafo

On Thursday, May 30, 2024, the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute (RSI) celebrated the highly anticipated return of its annual Research Day at the MacLeod Auditorium, University of Toronto. This student showcase is 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.

Each year, RSI Research Day highlights and celebrates the research conducted by the bright and talented graduate students of RSI through poster and oral presentations. This year was no exception! With over 100 attendees, the event drew a significant crowd for its in-person return. The central theme of this year’s event was Collaborative Teamwork in Research.

The day began on an uplifting note with inspiring opening remarks from Dr. Angela Colantonio, RSI Director, and Dr. John Peever, Vice Dean of Students, School of Graduate Studies. Their warm welcome served as a poignant reminder of the essential role rehabilitation plays in shaping the future of healthcare.

Dr. John Peever, Vice Dean of Students, School of Graduate Studies

Next, we heard from this year's keynote speaker, Dr. Sarah Munce, RSI’s very own Graduate Coordinator and assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy. Dr. Munce delivered a timely talk on "A Rehabilitation Scientist’s Perspective on Collaborative Teamwork in Research," sharing her insights as a scientist at the KITE Research Institute, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-University Health Network.

Keynote Speaker, Dr. Sarah Munce

During the midday program, guests participated in a panel discussion on Collaborative Teamwork in Research, featuring experts from various fields of rehab. Special thanks go out to Dr. Elaine Biddiss, Ajmal Khan, Dr. Heather Shearer, and RSI PhD student, Marina Petrevska for their shared wisdom and engaging discussions.

research day panel 2024
Panelists for Collaborative Teamwork in Research Discussion

The day concluded fittingly with the RSI Recognition Awards Ceremony, celebrating the achievements of the RSI community.

Dr. Robert Simpson
Dr. Robert Simpson & RSI Director, Dr. Angela Colantonio during Awards Ceremony

Congratulations to this year’s winners:




Research Recognition                         

Juliana Nunes da Silva, MSc Student
Insiya Bhalloo, PhD Candidate 

Leadership & Inspiration

Jessica Song, MSc Student
Ashvene Sureshkumar, PhD Candidate 

Community Service                                                                 

Momo Lin, MSc Student
Kai Ian Leung, PhD Candidate                                                                                                                             




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

Nancy Salbach                                                                                          

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

Tatyana Mollayeva  

Robert Simpson

Teaching Award

Sukhvinder Kalsi-Ryan

Peer Mentorship Award

Luc De Nil

Service Award

Sander Hitzig, Faculty
Diane Wiltshire, Staff




Outstanding Leadership Award                                               

Vincy Chan                                                                                                                                                            
Noémi Cantin

Outstanding Mentorship Award

Robert Balogh

Outstanding Service Award

Sana Smaoui




3 Minute Presentation                                                             

Anna Huynh, PhD Candidate  
Kai Ian Leung, PhD Candidate
Meera Premnazeer, PhD Candidate
Monique Gill, PhD Candidate 
Lovisa Cheung
, PhD Candidate 
Daniella Testani
, PhD Candidate                                                                                                                          




Best Poster                                                                              

Sarmitha Sivakumaran, MSc Student
Ashvene Sureshkumar, PhD Candidate                                                                                                             

People's Choice

Cindy Nguyen, MSc Student
Nikki Ponte, PhD Candidate

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Jessica Song, MSc Student
Akbota Tleuberdinova, MSc Student
Miranda Wu, MSc Student
Racquel Brown, MSc Student

Hannah Dudney, PhD Student
Insiya Bhalloo, PhD Candidate

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!

research day committee 2024
Research Day Committee 2024

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 2025 at our next innovative, informative and inspiring day of research at RSI!