Karl Zabjek

BSc, MSc, PhD

Karl's headshot
Associate Professor

Dr. Zabjek is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, and Affiliate Scientist at the KITE Research Institute UHN.

Dr. Zabjek developed his knowledge of human movement science within the context of the undergraduate BSc Kinesiology program at the University of Waterloo. He further developed an in depth understanding of how human movement science may inform the development of technology and analytical techniques for the assessment of the structure and function of the body across clinical populations during his MSc in Clinical Science at the University of Sherbrooke, PhD in Biomedical Science at the University of Montreal and Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Toronto. His technical expertise resides within the area of structural imaging, three dimensional motion capture, mobile technology, clinical informatics and analytics.

Research & Scholarly Activities

Dr. Zabjek translational program of research aims to develop and translate new instruments and analytical techniques across contexts of clinical care (hospital, rehabilitation centres and the community).  This includes the development of new techniques to quantify the structure of the body using 3D x-ray imaging, movement using biomechanical instrumentation (kinematics, kinetics) and mobility (mobile technology).

The two primary objectives of his program of research are:

  1. Develop, evaluate and apply technological innovations to understand the determinants of mobility limitation as individuals living with a complex musculoskeletal or neurological condition interact with the environment.
  2. Understand the structural and functional determinants of mobility limitation in individuals living with a complex skeletal deformity.

Dr. Zabjek has developed collaborations within the University of Toronto community (Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, University of Toronto Spine Program; Division of Anatomy Department of Surgery, Institute of Biomedical Engineering; KITE Rehabilitation Institute UHN; Hospital for Sick Children), across provinces within Canada (University of Montreal, University of Laval) and internationally (KU Leuven, Belgium).

Dr. Zabjek is currently funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care on team building grant that is focused on the development of technological innovations to support community living for individuals with traumatic brain injury and their caregivers as they age.


  • PHT1102Y - Tissue pathophysiology
  • PHT1102Y - Gait and Posture


  • Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Toronto.
  • Full member, Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, University of Toronto.
  • Affiliate Scientist,  KITE Research Institute, University Health Network.


  • Machida M, Rocos B, Zabjek K, Lebel DE.  A comparison of the reliability and vulnerability of 3D sterEOS and 2D EOS when measuring the sagittal spinal alignment of patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.  Spine Deform. 2022 Apr 6. doi: 10.1007/s43390-022-00499-4. Online ahead of print.  PMID: 35384609
  • Zarshenas S, Couture M, Bier N, Giroux S, Pigot H, Dawson D, Nalder E, Gagnon-Roy M, Le Dorze G, Poncet F, McKenna S, Zabjek K, Bottari C; Canadian Traumatic Brain Injury Research Consortium.  Potential advantages, barriers, and facilitators of implementing a cognitive orthosis for cooking for individuals with traumatic brain injury: the healthcare providers' perspective. Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol. 2020 Nov 5:1-10.
  • Yokoyama H, Yoshida T, Zabjek K, Chen R, Masani K.  Defective corticomuscular connectivity during walking in patients with Parkinson's disease.  J Neurophysiol. 2020 Nov 1;124(5):1399-1414.
  • Faure C, Inness L, Lamontagne ME, Sirois G, Edards G, McFadyen B, Zabjek K. The perspective of rehabilitation   health care professionals regarding the clinical utility of a body-environment proximity measurement device. Cogent Medicine (2019), Volume 6, 2019 - Issue 1
  • Nalder EJ, Zabjek K, Dawson DR, Bottari CL, Gagnon I, McFadyen BJ, Hunt AW, McKenna S, Ouellet MC, Giroux S, Cullen N, Niechwiej-Szwedo E; ONF-REPAR ABI Team.  Research Priorities for Optimizing Long-term Community Integration after Brain Injury.  Can J Neurol Sci. 2018 Nov;45(6):643-651. doi: 10.1017/cjn.2018.334.
  • Gagnon I, Friedman D, Beauchamp MH, Christie B, DeMatteo C, Macartney G, McFadyen BJ, Sirois K, Taneja C, Zabjek K, Zemek R, Mrazik M.  The Canadian Pediatric Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Common Data Elements Project: Harmonizing Outcomes to Increase Understanding of Pediatric Concussion.  J Neurotrauma. 2018 Aug 15;35(16):1849-1857. doi: 10.1089/neu.2018.5887.