Kawchuk and Langevin take home Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine research awards

This year?s Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine research awards go to Greg Kawchuk and Marilyn Langevin, research stars at the faculty who continue to ?poke and pry? with a purpose.

Laurie Wang - 22 September 2011

"Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose," Zora Neale Hurston once said. This year's Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine research awards go to Greg Kawchuk and Marilyn Langevin, research stars at the faculty who continue to "poke and pry" with a purpose.

Kawchuk, PhD, received the inaugural Excellence in Mentoring Research Students Award for his unwavering dedication to his students and their research careers. The associate professor in physical therapy has been described as "a world-class researcher with high productivity and great innovation."

"Under his guidance and encouragement, I have so far published two papers in peer-reviewed journals and have presented my research at two Canadian academic conferences," says Arnold Wong, a PhD student in rehabilitation science.

Kawchuk holds a Canada Research Chair in Spinal Function. He is an expert on spinal disorders (back pain) and is involved in developing new technologies to assess spinal structure and function. These technologies are then used to evaluate various clinical interventions. Kawchuk is the inventor of VibeDX, a new technology for diagnosis of spinal abnormalities, injuries and pathologies that hold the promise to improve long-term outcomes and quality of life for millions of back pain sufferers.

But his impact isn't limited to the world of research and academia.

"Greg treats his students like family members. As I am an international student, he enriches my Canadian experience by inviting me to try different cuisines or even to watch hockey games. To me, Greg's family is my family in Canada," Wong smiles.

Langevin, PhD, is the inaugural recipient of the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine Excellence in Research Award. The assistant professor in speech pathology and audiology's research accomplishments have brought her far and wide to present at international conferences. She has published several papers (nine in the past five years) on stuttering and the psychological, emotional and social impact of stuttering on young children.

Now the acting executive director for the Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research (ISTAR), Langevin's dedication to stuttering treatment, research and awareness has made her a world-class researcher in her field.

"Marilyn is one of the few clinical researchers who have developed systematic ways to assess and intervene when children who stutter experience bullying from their peers," says Luc De Nil, PhD, professor in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Toronto. De Nil, one of the people who nominated Langevin, is currently working on a joint research project with her aimed at investigating the use of Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy for the study of brain mechanisms in developmental stuttering.

"Congratulations to both Greg and Marilyn,"says Martin Ferguson-Pell, PhD, dean of the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine. "Their commitment to focused, world-class research continues to inspire."

About the University of Alberta Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine

As the only free standing faculty of rehabilitation in Canada, the University of Alberta Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine balances its activities among learning, discovery and citizenship (including clinical practice). A research leader in musculoskeletal health, spinal cord injuries and common spinal disorders (back pain), the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine aims to improve the quality of life of citizens in our community. The three departments, Occupational Therapy (OT), Physical Therapy (PT) and Speech Pathology and Audiology (SPA) offer professional entry programs. The Faculty offers thesis-based MSc and PhD programs in Rehabilitation Science, attracting students from a variety of disciplines including OT, PT, SLP, psychology, physical education, medicine and engineering.