Dr. Tania Lam

Dr. Tania Lam

Principal Investigator

B.Sc. (Queen’s University), Ph.D. [Neuroscience] (University of Alberta), Post-Doctoral Fellowship (University of Zurich)
Professor, School of Kinesiology, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia

Research Interests

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Dr. Lam’s research focuses on the use of exercise and rehabilitation strategies to improve functional recovery after spinal cord injury. She has established a unique locomotion robotics laboratory employing a range of neurophysiological and biomechanical techniques to understand the neural control of human movement. Her research has included the development of innovative robotic-based protocols for gait training (using robotic-applied force fields) and assessments of sensory (proprioceptive) function in people with SCI. More recently, her lab has shifted focus to investigate the effects of overground exoskeleton gait training and other exercise-based interventions on pelvic floor muscle function, with potential benefits to genitourinary function in people with spinal cord injury.

Dr. Lam is a Principal Investigator at ICORD and a Professor in the School of Kinesiology at the University of British Columbia. She completed her B.Sc. in Physical Therapy at Queen’s University and her Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the University of Alberta. Her Post-Doctoral Fellowship was at the University of Zurich.

Currently recruiting for:

Relationship between spasticity in walking and hyperactive spinal reflexes

Researchers in Dr. Tania Lam’s lab are studying the day-to-day differences in muscle reflexes and the relationship between muscle reflexes and movement in people with and without spinal cord injury. Muscle activity and reflexes in the leg muscle will be Read More...

Pelvic floor muscle activity during exoskeleton walking

Researchers in Dr. Tania Lam’s laboratory are interested in understanding how the pelvic floor muscles respond to walking in different exoskeletons. We are looking for individuals with motor-complete SCI to complete 2 laboratory visits. On the first visit, participants will Read More...

Randomized control trial: activity-based therapy with non-invasive stimulation

Motor and Autonomic Concomitant Health Improvements with Neuromodulation and Exoskeleton training: an RCT in individuals with SCI (MACHINE) Drs. Andrei Krassioukov, Tania Lam, Mike Berger, and Stacy Elliott and their teams are investigating the effects of activity-based therapy (ABT) with Read More...

Recent collaborations:

In collaboration with urologist Dr. Lynn Stothers, Dr. Lam is conducting clinical research to investigate the role of exercise on pelvic floor muscle activation in people with spinal cord injury, and whether exercise-based interventions can improve urinary function.

Dr. Lam is also collaborating with researchers at SFU (Drs. Ed Park and Siamak Arzanpour) to evaluate the functional performance and biomechanics of a novel exoskeleton.

Major Findings:

The Lokomat is being used to apply various forces — associated with different velocities — against hip and knee movements during treadmill training. Recent research shows that individuals who underwent training with these force fields showed even greater improvements in functional ambulation skills, such as obstacle crossing and stair climbing. This novel finding suggests that therapeutic strategies which target motor learning and locomotor adaptations could enable improved outcomes. The findings also highlight that outcomes of rehabilitation studies should not be focused on one-dimensional measures of walking, but take into account the diverse demands and requirements of community ambulation.

Techniques employed in the lab:

  • Exoskeletons (Ekso and Lokomat)
  • Neural and biomechanical measures of gait including: electromyography, peripheral nerve stimulation, transcranial magnetic stimulation, 3D motion analysis, force plates
  • Robotic tools for developing novel rehabilitation therapies and clinical assessment tools

Affiliation with organizations and societies:

  • Department of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia
  • School of Kinesiology, University of British Columbia


Some of Dr. Tania Lam’s recent major awards and accomplishments include:

  • City of Vancouver Accessible City Award for PARC
  • CIHR New Investigator Award (2009-2015)
  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship (Canadian Institute of Health Research, 2003-2005)

Current Lab Members

Undergraduate Students Masters Students Ph.D. Students Research Staff
Maya Sato-Klemm Sharisse Lin Raza Malik Alison Williams
Patricia Melgar Xueqing Zhou Calvin Wong
Ivana Truong Emily Deegan
Oscar Ortiz Angulo

Trainee Awards

Year Name Award
2023 Alison Williams 2nd Place Poster Award, ICORD Annual Research Meeting
2023 Xueqing Zhou Four-Year Doctoral Fellowship, UBC
2023 Xueqing Zhou Faculty of Education Graduate Award, UBC
2023 Xueqing Zhou Faculty of Education PhD Award, UBC
2022 Xueqing Zhou Rising Star Award, VCHRI
2022 Maya Sato-Klemm Undergraduate Poster Prize, ICORD Annual Research Meeting,
2021 Sharisse Lin UBC Faculty of Education Graduate Award
2021 Xueqing Zhou UBC Faculty of Education Graduate Award
2021 Xueqing Zhou UBC Kinesiology Graduate Student Research Grant
2021 Xueqing Zhou ICORD Trainee Symposium Poster Presentation Award, Master’s Category, 3rd Place
2021 Maya Sato-Klemm ICORD Trainee Symposium Poster Presentation Award, Undergraduate Category, 1st Place
2020 Gevorg Eginyan CIHR CGSM (Masters Award)
2019 Raza Malik VCHRI Top Doctoral Student
2017 Alison Williams CIHR CGSM (Masters Award)
2016 Taha Qaiser CIHR CGSM (Masters Award)
2013 Matthew Crombeen Medal of Bravery by Governor General David Johnston
2012 Raza Malik Best poster in the clinical category (Brain Research Centre)
2009 Adina Houldin Canada Graduate Scholarship (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada)

Current opportunities in the Lab

While the lab has no specific openings, Dr. Lam is always willing to work with new researchers who are interested in the field. She also accepts undergraduate directed studies students and volunteers in her research lab. Please contact Dr. Lam with inquiries.

Recent publications

  • Shackleton, C et al.. 2023. Motor and autonomic concomitant health improvements with neuromodulation and exercise (MACHINE) training: a randomised controlled trial in individuals with spinal cord injury.. BMJ Open. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2022-070544.
  • Eginyan, G, Zhou, X, Williams, AMM, Lam, T. 2022. Effects of motor stimulation of the tibial nerve on corticospinal excitability of abductor hallucis and pelvic floor muscles.. Front Rehabil Sci. doi: 10.3389/fresc.2022.1089223.
  • Malik, RN, Marigold, DS, Chow, M, Lam, T. 2022. Probing the deployment of peripheral visual attention during obstacle-crossing planning.. Front Hum Neurosci. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2022.1039201.
  • Samejima, S et al.. 2022. Effects of non-invasive spinal cord stimulation on lower urinary tract, bowel, and sexual functions in individuals with chronic motor-complete spinal cord injury: Protocol for a pilot clinical trial.. PLoS One. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0278425.
  • Sato-Klemm, M, Williams, AMM, Mortenson, WB, Lam, T. 2022. Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practice of Pelvic Floor Muscle Training in People With Spinal Cord Injury: A Cross-Sectional Survey.. Front Rehabil Sci. doi: 10.3389/fresc.2022.893038.
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