April Student of the Month: Melika Kangarani Farahani

Name: Melika Kangarani Farahani

Program: Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation Sciences (PhD)

Supervisor: Dr. Jill Zwicker

Tell us a little bit about your lab!

I am a PhD candidate working with Dr. Jill Zwicker at the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute (BCCHRI).

Our research focuses on understanding brain correlates and neuroplasticity in children with neurodevelopmental disorders such as developmental coordination disorder (DCD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). In the Zwicker lab, we use MRI and brain stimulation techniques (transcranial direct current stimulation) and explore brain changes following occupational therapy interventions in these populations and provide neuroscientific evidence to convince policymakers to fund occupational therapy treatments.

What project are you currently working on?

My project’s title is “Integrating Brain Imaging and Rehabilitation to Improve Outcomes for Children with Co-occurring autism spectrum disorder and developmental coordination disorder”. My research seeks to better understand brain differences in children with both diagnoses, and whether these children show brain changes on MRI and improved motor function with this intervention. This study will increase awareness and understanding of motor difficulties in children with autism and may improve outcomes for children with a dual diagnosis of autism and DCD.

What do you like to do outside of academia?

I love nature. You will find me hiking and kayaking outside of academia.

Congratulations Melika on being our featured Student of the Month for April! Interested in seeing what else our Rehabilitation Sciences students and trainees are working on? Stay tuned for our next feature!