SRS Spotlight: Amanda Lorbergs, RS PhD Class of 2014


After successfully defending her thesis in 2014, Amanda Lorbergs moved across the border to Boston, Massachusetts to work as a Post Doctoral Research Fellow at the Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew Senior Life and Harvard Medical School. In this position, she researches musculoskeletal epidemiology by utilizing data from the Framingham Study cohorts to determine the association between spine health (kyphosis angle progression and spinal degeneration) on mobility limitations and lung function, and says that this unbelievable opportunity to do what she loves would not have been possible if it wasn't for the opportunities offered and the experiences gained as a PhD in the Rehabilitation Science (RS) program at McMaster.

Amanda came to the RS program in September 2010 after receiving a BSc in Human Kinetics from the University of Guelph and an MSc in Kinesiology from the University of Saskatchewan. Upon finishing her degrees, she went on to work as a research assistant at the Toronto Rehab Institue for a short period of time before returning to school to pursue her PhD in Rehabilitation Science. Amanda decided to come back to school and study under Dr. Norma MacIntyre in the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University because of the unique qualities of the RS Graduate Program. "My supervisor's research program and the collaborative network of faculty across departments is what brought me to McMaster. The access to a clinical population, as well as the structure of the comprehensive examination process also played a large role in deciding to do my PhD in the RS program."

In her four years as a PhD candidate, Amanda prepared for the day to present her thesis, "Magnetic resonance imaging of leg muscle structure and composition in women with and without osteoporosis," which she successfully defended in November 2014. During those years of preparation, Amanda was able to grow and learn valuable lessons which ultimately led to her success. "I think that the emphasis on making each piece of work a publishable paper was important for my success in the program. It not only enhanced my learning by pushing me to generate thoughtful work, but it played an important role in securing extramural funding and a postdoctoral fellowship."

Her PhD and postdoctoral fellowship will prepare her for an exciting career in musculoskeletal health research. Although she is not entirely sure of what will come next in her career, she is excited about the future and is open to evaluate the many different opportunities that she is able to consider.

Her one piece of advice to current graduate students? "Be interested, stay disciplined, and celebrate the small successes along the way."

Written by: Taylor Boer | Hamilton, ON | August 2015

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School of Rehabilitation Sciences
Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University
Institute of Applied Health Sciences,
Room 403, 1400 Main St. W. Hamilton, ON L8S 1C7


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