Research Opportunities

Occupational Therapy and Cancer Rehabilitation
Rehabilitation for Refugees and Minorities
Exercise and Spinal Cord Injury
Physical Therapy and Paralysis 
Reading / Language / Speech
Speech in Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Aging and Serious Illness


CaRe Lab Fellowship with Kathleen Lyons, ScDm OTR/L

Kathleen Lyons, ScD, OTR/L is a rehabilitation scientist, occupational therapist, and faculty member in the IHP’s Occupational Therapy department whose research is focused on developing the evidence base for cancer rehabilitation and psycho-oncology. Her primary area of interest is in developing and testing participant-directed interventions that are tailored to address individual priorities and needs. Her research has been funded by the American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, and the American Occupational Therapy Foundation. After 18 years of conducting research at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center in New Hampshire, she joined MGH IHP in 2021 to create the Cancer Rehabilitation (CaRe) Lab.

We are looking for an energetic PhD student to join the CaRe lab. The ideal candidate will have clinical experience in oncology care and an interest in conducting studies that develop and test interdisciplinary interventions to reduce disability, promote health, and optimize employment outcomes for cancer survivors. Students will learn how to standardize, deliver, and evaluate rehabilitation interventions using mixed methods and designs that are informed by community-engaged methods and implementation science.

 If interested, please email Kathleen Lyons with your name, CV and area of interest.

Rehabilitation for Refugees and Minorities

Does community rehabilitation programming for refugees interest you? Are you passionate about researching rehabilitation disparities among minorities? Join the MGH IHP PhD Program in Rehabilitation Sciences and work with Dr. Rawan AlHeresh, MScOT, OTR/L, PhD.

For more information, contact Dr. AlHeresh with your name, CV, and areas of interest. 

Cardiovascular Research Lab at Spaulding

Join our Rehabilitation Sciences PhD Program to work with Dr. J. Andrew Taylor, PhD, Principal Investigator for the Cardiovascular Research Lab at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and Associate Professor at Harvard University. He is seeking a PhD student to conduct research related to exercise to prevent cardiovascular, pulmonary, and metabolic declines after spinal cord injury. His lab studies cardiovascular and autonomic (patho) physiology in the areas of bone blood flow control, anorexia, spinal cord injury, and aging. Integrative physiological techniques used in the lab include measures of systemic and regional hemodynamics, direct measures of peroneal sympathetic nervous activity, and integrative models of cardiovascular control.

Funding for a PhD student may be available, depending on the area of research interest. Learn more on the Cardiovascular Research Lab. 

For additional information email Dr. Taylor with your name, CV, and area(s) of interest. 

Reading Development and Difficulties, PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences

Join our Rehabilitation Sciences PhD Program to work with Dr. Joanna Christodoulou, EdD, Associate Professor in the IHP’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and the Brain, Education, and Mind (BEAM) Lab. Funded position available.

For more information, email BEAM Studies with your name, CV, and area(s) of interest. 

Learning and Executive Functions in Children with Developmental Language Disorders

Interested in learning and executive functions in children with developmental language disorders? Join the doctoral program at MGH IHP to study under the mentorship of Dr. Yael Arbel, PhD, CCC-SLP and the Cognitive Neuroscience Group. This funded PhD student fellowship. Learn more about the lab.

For more information, contact with your name, CV, and areas of interest. 

SPAN Lab Autism Recruitment Position with Karen Chenausky, PhD, CCC-SLP

At the Speech in Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders (SPAN) Lab of the IHP Communication Sciences & Disorders Department, we want to understand why some children don’t learn to talk on their own and how we can help improve their expressive language. We have several exciting projects going on right now. One asks whether treatment for CAS, involving principles of motor learning and appropriately modified for minimally verbal children with ASD, helps improve their speech. In another, we investigate whether low- and minimally-verbal children with ASD have impaired phonetic perception and examine how that might affect their expressive language. And we’re developing a remote data collection paradigm to record audio and video of children with rare genetic disorders while they repeat syllables, watch a movie, and eat a snack.

We’re looking for a doctoral student with an interest in studying speech development in kids with neurodevelopmental disorders, many of whom are at risk for remaining minimally verbal. You’ll have the opportunity to get involved in many aspects of a project, from recruitment to data collection to data analysis to developing/testing your own hypothesis. 

One position is available. If interested, contact the Director of the SPAN Lab Dr. Karen Chenausky. Candidates from under-represented minorities are especially invited to apply. One of our grants is eligible for an administrative supplement to fund such an individual (at any level of experience, from undergrad to postdoc), and Dr. Chenausky will be more than happy to work with such a candidate on an application.

Paralysis Center Lab Fellowship with Justin Brown, MD

Research opportunity available for a physical or occupational therapist interested in working in the areas of surgical outcomes research, spinal cord stimulation, and quality of life consequences of paralysis reversing reconstructive interventions. The student will pursue a PhD in Rehabilitation Science at the MGH Institute of Health Professions, and work in a collaborative research lab, the Paralysis Center led by Dr. Justin Brown – Associate Professor of Neurosurgery, Harvard Medical School. The ideal candidate will have completed the requirements for a degree in occupational or physical therapy and have experience working with individuals following paralyzing injuries. Additional experience in data collection methods such as gait evaluation, upper limb and hand function assessment, spasticity assessment or surface electromyography is desirable.

Applications from women and representatives of minority groups are encouraged. If interested, contact Dr. Justin Brown.

The Mongan Institute Center for Aging and Serious Illness (CASI) Fellowship

The overall mission of the CASI is to improve outcomes in aging and serious illness. Work with Dr. Christine Ritchie, the Director of the CASI and Kenneth Minaker Chair in Geriatrics at MGH, a board-certified geriatrician and palliative care physician whose research program focuses on improving care delivery and outcomes for older adults with multimorbidity and advanced illnesses; and Tamra Keeney, Director of CASI Data Core, a clinician scientist and physical therapist whose research agenda is focused on optimizing rehabilitation for older adults living with serious illness, including advanced heart failure.

The CASI is looking for an enthusiastic PhD student to join their interdisciplinary team. The ideal candidate will have relevant clinical experience working with older adults and/or those living with multimorbidity and serious illness (Alzheimer’s and related dementias, heart failure, cancer, etc.) and an interest conducting research to better understand care delivery and develop and test interventions. Students will have an opportunity to participate in a wide array of research areas, including observational research, mixed methods studies, and clinical trials. 

If interested, contact Dr. Keeney with your name, CV, and research interests.