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And another MSc…

David presenting his MSc thesis work on learning model action observation for motor learning.

Congratulations to lab member David Bowman on the successful defense of his MSc work. David explored whether observing a learning model was more effective for learning a complex motor skill compared to observing a skilled model. While the results were not conclusive in supporting a learning model, his work was a great step to understanding at what stage in skill acquisition a learning model may be more effective than a skilled model. Congrats on the successful defense David!

We’re hiring!

The lab is seeking a post doctoral fellow (PDF) to join a multidisciplinary team that is part of an academic-industry partnership. The PDF would lead efforts in developing machine learning methods for analyzing data related to post-stroke motor recovery. The position is funded and available immediately. Remote work is supported. A full description of the position, including required skills can be found here.

Congratulations Stephanie!

Congratulations to LBRF member Stephanie Shewchuk who successfully defended her MSc work today. With Stephanie’s lab-based work examining the effect of aerobic exercise on cognitive function shelved owing to the pandemic, she pivoted to complete a scoping review that looked at the effect of high intensity aerobic exercise on executive function. Steph’s findings indicate that there is wide variability in the literature from a methodological perspective, and little evidence to suggest there is an effect. Kudos to you Stephanie on the work and a great defense!

Physical Exercise For Brain Development in Youth - Your Therapy Source

New faculty announcement!

Congratulations to our first PhD grad Dr. Sarah Kraeutner who officially started a faculty position at UBCO July 1. Sarah joins UBCO following her PhD in the LBRF and a post-doctoral fellowship in the Brain & Behaviour Lab with Dr. Lara Boyd at UBC (Vancouver). Check out Sarah’s new website to find out more about her research or to join her for graduate training.

Scholarship Success

Congratulations to MSc student Cassidy Klein who received an NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS-M). This scholarship will provide funding for Cassidy during her MSc that is examining the influence of lactate on brain excitability during moderate intensity aerobic exercise. Congratulations on this success Cassidy – you earned it!

Dr. Chris Friesen newest Lab Alumni

Screenshot of Chris’s (remote) doctoral defense from March 19th, 2021. Clockwise from top left are supervisory committee members Drs. Heather Neyedli and Aaron Newman, Dept. representative Dr. Igor Yakovenko, doctoral candidate Chris Friesen, Defense Chair Dr. Catherine Too, and external examiner (McGill University) Dr. Joyce Fung.

Congratulations to newest lab alumni Dr. Chris Friesen, who successfully defended his PhD work Friday March 19th, 2021. Dr. Friesen’s research focused on the development and validation of a portable function near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) device to aid in recovery of movement lost to neurological disorders such as stroke. Dr. Friesen’s research is part of the R&D initiatives of Axem Neurotechnology (, a company co-founded by Dr. Friesen (alongside Tony Ingram and Mike Lawrence) during his graduate studies. Special thanks to committee members and the external examiner for a thorough and thought-provoking line of questioning. Congratulations Dr. Friesen!

Welcome back, Dr. Kraeutner

In response to a request for information about setting up a lab, The Brain Repair Centre is excited to welcome back to Dalhousie Dr Sarah Kraeutner, who is a recent LBRF graduate, having completed her Masters and PhD in Psychology & Neuroscience under the supervision of Dr Shaun Boe, Faculty of Health. Sarah is now a postdoc at UBC and will join us to share her story in a talk titled: “Learning, learning, learning: the three stages of my career (to-date) as a neuroscientist“ on Thursday February 11th @ 12.30 p.m. AT. Contact for an invite to this virtual event.

Congratulations to Anwaar – our newest MSc!

Screenshot from Anwaar’s remote defense – a big thanks to committee members Drs. Michel Ladouceur (top left), Marilyn Mackay-Lyons (top right) and Graduate Chair Dr. Cheryl Kozey (bottom right). If you look close at the inset image you can see Daisy (the Boe Family Dog) who was on a sharp lookout during the defense.

There has to be some benefit to working remotely and we found it today – despite horrible weather in Nova Scotia we were able to move forward with Anwaar Hariri’s thesis defense. Anwaar did a wonderful job of presenting her MSc work, which examined the evidence related to the ability of aerobic exercise to increase corticospinal excitability. Anwaar’s work shows that while there is evidence to support the effectiveness of moderate intensity aerobic exercise to achieve this, there is a lot of variability in the research done to date. Anwaar’s thesis highlights this variability and makes suggestions on how we can move this work forward. Anwaar’s thesis will be posted in the ‘Publications’ section of the website as soon as it is submitted. Congratulations Anwaar!

Daughter-Father Duo!

November 2020. It’s pretty exciting every time you publish a new paper, but especially so when the authors include not only your graduate students, but one of their parents! That’s right, Dr. Kraeutner (Sarah) and Dr. Kraeutner (Paul; both pictured below with Mom Jenny) are both authors on a recently accepted paper in the journal Scientific Reports, which examines how motor imagery practice can be leveraged when it is paired with physical practice. While Sarah led the study as part of her doctoral work, Papa Paul contributed to some specialized analysis that added greatly to the paper. It’s a family affair for the first time in the LBRF! Congrats to Sarah and Paul, and all the study authors.

New collaborative paper on trials using brain stimulation

November 2020. Excited to contribute to a recent publication reporting on consensus recommendations for clinical trials in stroke rehabilitation using repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS, pictured above). The publication, in the journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, makes recommendations for how rTMS should be used alongside physical-based therapies for the recovery of motor function after stroke. The paper is the culmination of a workshop by the CanStim group, which is made up of researchers and clinicians from across Canada.

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