People in profile: Sue Peters

Meet Sue—examining balance, one step at a time.

Q: What is your research area of interest, and what sparked that interest?
My research focus is on stroke rehabilitation; more specifically, my work uses neuroimaging such as functional near-infrared spectroscopy and electroencephalography to examine the role of the brain in walking and balance recovery. My interest was sparked when I was working as a physiotherapist helping stroke survivors re-learn how to walk. I am now a postdoctoral fellow in the Rehabilitation Research Program at the GF Strong Rehab Centre.

Q: What’s the best part about your research job?
The best part is that I get paid to think! I also hope that my research will someday help stroke survivors with their walking recovery.

Q: What does your average day look like?
 There is almost no such thing as an average day – one reason why I love my job. Each day is different. One day I may be pilot testing a new protocol and new technology, the next day I may be at my desk analyzing data, or another day I might be at a conference, hearing about new ideas and sharing my work with peers. 

Q: What is one of the biggest highlights or proudest moment of your research career?
Defending my PhD is one of the highlights of my scientific career to date. I remember being very nervous, yet I still enjoyed discussing my work with the examiners.

Q: Who inspires you?
The stroke survivors I work with are very inspiring. Hearing stories of their journey toward recovery and their adaptation to life after stroke, motivates me to continue my research.

Q: What was your first job?
 I grew up in a small farming town so my first job was at a cucumber grading station. Farmers would come with large hoppers filled with cucumbers at the end of a day of picking. The cucumbers would be sorted by size and placed in large bins, which I weighed and prepared for shipping. 

Q: What’s your favourite book? 
 I love reading Agatha Christie’s books about the fictional Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.

Q: How do you unwind at the end of the day?
Outside of work, I unwind with high intensity exercise, meeting up with friends or watching a Netflix show.

Q: What’s one thing we might be surprised to learn about you?
 As a child, I was fluent in Plautdietsch (a low Prussian dialect of northeast Germany with Dutch influence), but have lost a lot of the language since moving away from my home town of Aylmer, Ontario.

Sue Peters received her PhD in the Rehabilitation Sciences program at the University of British Columbia. She received her Master’s in Physiotherapy in 2007 from the University of Western Ontario. Currently, Dr. Peters is a postdoctoral fellow in the Rehabilitation Research Program at GF Strong. Originally from Ontario, she loves hiking and camping in the beautiful mountains of BC.


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