Finding a Supervisor

Domestic Students

Although it does not guarantee admission, selecting a potential supervisor is very helpful in terms of deciding on a course of study and structuring the Letter of Intent required for application. Domestic students can be accepted before finding a supervisor, but they cannot register without one.

International Students

As part of their application, international students MUST have a confirmation, in writing, of their RSI graduate supervisor and a guaranteed source of funding from a recognized international funding agency, a government scholarship from their home country, or guaranteed funding from the prospective supervisor.

How to Find a Supervisor

All students must find an appropriate RSI faculty member as their supervisor before the beginning of their program.

A supervisor must have an Associate Member SGS appointment to supervise MSc students and a Full Member appointment to supervise PhD students.

Choose a field of research that is of interest to you. Feel free to contact potential supervisors. Student and supervisor should discuss an appropriate research project, funding strategies, and review the general terms of supervision when considering an association.

When Talking to a Potential Supervisor

You may want to:

  • Discuss your qualification to become a graduate student at UofT such as your grades, research experience, and additional scores (e.g., English proficiency score)
  • Discuss a potential topic or topics of research and availability of funding
  • Discuss and decide if an MSc or PhD is your program of choice, and if there is a collaborative program that you would be a good fit for you
  • Ask the potential supervisor about their previous experiences in supervision, the number of students they supervised, an average time to program completion for the students in the past, and their supervisory philosophy
  • Ask to meet other students mentored by the same supervisor and discuss their experiences

Potential Supervisors:

The following is a list of RSI faculty who have funding and are currently looking to recruit students. Please note that this list is constantly changing so be sure to check back for more updates:

Faculty Member Description of research Looking For Contact
Deryk Beal

My research program consists of two integrated streams: (i) developmental speech and language neuroscience  and (ii) neurorehabilitation. We use neuroimaging (EEG, fMRI, DTI) and neuromodulation (tDCS, TMS) tools to explore the neural mechanisms of development of motor skills, speech and language and in turn understand how these mechanisms are impacted by neurodevelopmental disorders and brain injury. We then leverage this knowledge to devise and test novel treatments for children with rehabilitation needs.

Tim Bressmann  Tim Bressmann’s research in the Voice and Resonance Lab is concerned with structurally related speech disorders in patients with craniofacial syndromes, such as cleft palate. He uses acoustic analysis to study the control of nasality and the therapy of nasality disorders. Another focus of the research in the lab is on the use of ultrasound imaging to assess tongue movement in patients with head and neck cancer. PhD
Gillian King

Topics related to (1) client engagement, resiliency, and outcomes in pediatric rehabilitation, (2) understanding environmental qualities and client experiences in the context of various intervention approaches, including solution-focused coaching, and (3) promoting the development of service providers’ skills and strategies, including listening and engagement skills.


Kathy McGilton My research focuses on enhancing the care of the older adult, especially those with dementia, through the development and application of interventions, outcome measures and models of care in practice.  My work has examined the nature of relationships between nursing staff and older adults and between staff and their supervisors in long-term care and the effect on staff outcomes and quality of care of older adults. MSc
Amy McPherson Brief description of your research (you can include documents to attach if you wish but a brief description will still be needed) My research focuses on health promotion for children and youth with disabilities. Topics include weight-management, body diversity, and sexuality. I am interested in how healthcare professionals, families and children talk about 'difficult' topics and create research-informed resources to support strengths-based conversations. MSc
Fiona Moola

Dr. Fiona Moola is a scientist, professor, and director of the HEART Lab at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and Ryerson University. Dr. Moola is looking for a MA/PhD student to undertake QUALITATIVE & ARTS-BASED RESEARCH in VISUAL ARTS. Specifically, the desired MA/PhD student will do their thesis on investigating the complex relationship between children and youth with disabilities and the visual arts, in Ontario. The student will be utilizing an arts-based research methodological approach, to generate sociological knowledge by exploring the artistic experiences and artistic creations of children and youth with physical disabilities in Ontario. This will be a funded MA/PhD.

(Master of Arts)

Those interested, please send your CV and cover letter, with the Subject Heading ‘Paintbrush Study – MA Student Application’ to Nivatha Moothathamby at
Kelly O’Brien

Dr. Kelly O’Brien’s research is focused on episodic disability and rehabilitation in the context of HIV and chronic disease. Her Episodic Disability and Rehabilitation Research Program includes profiling the episodic nature of among adults aging with HIV over time (Episodic Disability Framework), examining effectiveness of rehabilitation interventions (physical activity and exercise interventions) on health and disability outcomes among adults living with HIV (Community-Based Exercise Study), and developing and assessing the properties of patient-reported outcomes (PROs) of disability (HIV Disability Questionnaire (HDQ).

Jennifer Rabin My research has two primary directions. As the neuropsychology lead in the Harquail Centre for Neuromodulation, my research characterizes the cognitive, behavioural, and psychosocial changes associated with novel neuromodulation strategies. This includes low-intensity focused ultrasound (FUS) to open up the blood-brain barrier in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, and high-intensity FUS to treat severe psychiatric and neurological conditions, like depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and essential tremor. Another line of my research combines multi-modal neuroimaging with sensitive cognitive measures to better understand how lifestyle factors may delay the onset and progression of dementia. MSc
Darlene Reid

Current research focuses on respiratory and limb muscle dysfunction in healthy people and those with acute and chronic conditions including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, interstitial lung disease and mechanically ventilated patients Much of my research looks at responses to physical activity and exercise tests including cycling and respiratory muscle tests. A primary focus is aimed at understanding dyspnea and how respiratory muscle dysfunction and cognitive input contribute to the magnitude and distress of breathlessness.

Timothy Ross

Dr. Ross is a Scientist at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. He is also a Registered Professional Planner and an Assistant Professor (status) with the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Ross’ research explores how children with disabilities and their families experience and view their community spaces (e.g., schools, playgrounds, hospitals, transportation environments). This research is oriented toward planning and designing more accessible and inclusive communities that account for the presence and diversity of childhood disability. His research program currently looks at four key topics: (1) education access, (2) transportation and mobility, (3) inclusive play, and (4) addressing institutional ableism. Questions about ableism and its normalcy within the planning and design of our built environments, services, and systems are central to Dr. Ross’ research.

Marina Wasilewski Description: The St. John’s Rehab Research Program at the Sunnybrook Research Institute has funding to support a Master’s of Science (MSc) student to undertake a mixed-methods project exploring the long-term outcomes of electrical burn injury survivors—an understudied group of patients with significant functional deficits. For this project, the trainee will undertake a chart review to investigate outcomes for electrical burn injury patients who have undergone rehabilitation, with comparison to other burn injury survivors (e.g., scald, flame). Additionally, the trainee will conduct qualitative interviews with patients who have survived electrical and other burn injuries to learn about key factors influencing community participation (e.g., return to work) and quality of life. The scope of the research will be negotiated with the primary supervisor.

Supervisor: Dr. Marina Wasilewski, PhD is a Scientist at St. John’s Rehab Research Program and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto. Dr. Wasilewski’s program of research is focused on optimizing the health and wellbeing of patients and families using social and peer support strategies in the hospital, and as they transition back into the community. To learn more about Dr. Wasilewski, please visit the St. John’s Rehab Research Website:
Andy Wong Project #1: 

Understanding the Pathogenesis of Postmenopausal Knee Osteoarthritis at the Subchondral Bone and Cartilage Interface using MRI and CT Imaging

Project #2:
Mechanisms Driving Osteochondral Remodeling in a Postmenopausal Animal Model Uusing Longitudinal Contrast Enhanced Micro-Computed Tomography

PhD If you are interested in this opportunity, read the application guidelines before contacting the supervisors.