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Marija Pranjic, research trainee
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Oh the places they’ll go!

Students’ research helps to create a world of possibilities for all children and youth with disabilities

From investigating exoskeleton-assisted physiotherapy to optimizing BCI technology for children with neurological differences, the 2022 – 23 graduate student scholarship recipients are helping to unlock new ideas to advance the field of childhood disability research.

Meet this year’s recipients:

Marija Pranjic

Kimel Family Graduate Student Scholarship in Paediatric Rehabilitation

Fourth-year PhD student in Music and Health Sciences – Collaborative Program in Neuroscience, University of Toronto

“I am extremely honoured to have received this award and am thankful to the Kimel Family for their noble mission and generous support.

My doctoral research lies at the intersection of arts and sciences; this award will enable me to continue exploring the effects of music on the brain in children living with motor coordination difficulties. It is my hope that, by investigating brain-behaviour associations underlying neurodevelopmental conditions, we can design more precise, creative, and compassionate therapies that will give children with disabilities the tools to participate fully in life. I feel privileged to be doing this work at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, a place that inspires me to break down disciplinary boundaries and design projects that explore human dimensions of care and disability in a more holistic manner."

Stefanie Bradley

Kimel Family Graduate Student Scholarship in Paediatric Rehabilitation (Imaging)

Second-year PhD student in Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto

"I am so grateful and appreciative in receiving the Kimel Family Graduate Student Scholarship in Paediatric Disability Research for Neuroimaging. This award will support my study investigating exoskeleton-assisted physiotherapy, making it possible to assess brain changes in children with cerebral palsy and other motor disorders. It is scholarships like these that make impactful research possible."

Erica Floreani

Kimel Family Graduate Student Scholarship in Pediatric Disability Research

First-Year PhD student in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto

"I am extremely honoured to receive the Kimel Family Graduate Student Scholarship in Pediatric Disability Research. This award will help me to pursue my doctoral research in the development and optimization of brain-controlled assistive technologies for children with severe neurological disabilities. I hope to work closely with children and families in order to design usable, practical technologies that can help increase opportunities for participation, independence and inclusion."

Niloufaralsadat Hashemi

Kimel Family Graduate Student Scholarship in Pediatric Disability Research

Fifth-Year PhD student in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto

"I am incredibly grateful to have received a Kimel Family Graduate Student Scholarship in Paediatric Disability Research. Holding this prestigious award, thanks to the kindness and generosity of the Kimel family, will empower me to propel my goals in my PhD research in motor neurorehabilitation.

This award will support my research into the correlates of motor neuroplasticity (i.e., the brain's ability to modify, change, and adapt itself in response to repetitive stimuli/practice and experience) using electroencephalography (EEG) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). In particular, my research contributes to the understanding of how neural correlates highlighting weakness/paralysis of the upper limb in children can be modulated through goal-directed execution, imagination, and passive observation of a movement."

Erin Dowds

Whipper Watson Graduate Research Scholarship

Third-Year EdD student in child study and education at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto

"As a recipient of the 2022-2023 Whipper-Watson Graduate Research Scholarship Award, I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation. Obtaining this scholarship funding will enable me to continue my research in improving early intervention outcomes for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. This work involves understanding the barriers and facilitators that families face in accessing, participating in and experiencing optimal treatment outcomes in the Social ABCs parent-mediated intervention. My hope is that an increased understanding of the barriers and facilitators will lead to meaningful adaptations to the Social ABCs with the aim of improving treatment outcomes."