Jill Zwicker, PhD, MA, BA, BSc(OT), OT


phone: 604–875–2345 ext. 5948




I obtained my Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) from Queen’s University in 1990. I began my career in adult brain injury rehabilitation and then transitioned to pediatric school-based practice. As an inquiring clinician, I pursued an MA in Educational Psychology (Learning & Development) at the University of Victoria.

After completing my degree in 2006, I continued on to complete a PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of British Columbia in 2010. I then completed a 3-year postdoctoral fellowship in Developmental Neuroscience in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of British Columbia. I was appointed as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy and an Associate Member in the Department of Pediatrics in 2013.

I am also a Scientist (Level 1) at the Child and Family Research Institute, a Clinician Scientist at Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children, an Affiliate Investigator with NeuroDevNet, and a Research Associate with CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research.

In recognition of my achievements, I have received two prestigious new investigator awards – a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar Award (2014-2019) and a Career Enhancement Award from the Canadian Child Health Clinician Scientist Program (CCHCSP: 2014-2019).

I value quality time with my supportive husband and two beautiful daughters. When taking a break from work, I enjoy socializing with friends, playing with my dogs, participating in Zumba classes, and vacationing in Maui!


My research program is focused on brain development and motor impairment throughout childhood. Using advanced neuroimaging techniques, I examine brain differences in children with developmental coordination disorder and explore early brain development in relation to neurodevelopmental outcomes of premature newborns.


Pediatrics, Human Development, Research Methods

Graduate and Postdoctoral Research Opportunities

Current Research Graduate Students

I am currently supervising Master of Rehabilitation Science students, medical and undergraduate students, and MOT research projects.

Future Research Graduate Students

I am accepting applications from students interested in research MSc and PhD programs. Visit the Rehabilitation Sciences Research Graduate Programs Website for more information.


Professional Association Membership

  • College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia
  • Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists
  • American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine
  • NeuroDevNet
  • Child Neurology Society
  • Society for Pediatric Research

Professional Activities

  • Co-Chair, 12th Annual Canadian Child Health Clinician Scientist Program National Symposium
  • Scientific Committee Member, DCD-X and DCD-XI International Conference for Developmental Coordination Disorder
  • Editorial Board Member, Physical & Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics
  • Manuscript Reviewer for many peer-reviewed journals in pediatrics, child neurology, and rehabilitation

Select Publications

*link to articles provided when possible*

Duerden, E.G., Foong, J., Chau, V., Branson, H., Poskitt, K.J., Synnes, A., Grunau, R.E., Zwicker, J.G., & Miller, S.P. Tract-based spatial statistics in preterm-born neonates predicts cognitive and motor outcomes at 18 months. American Journal of Neuroradiology 36(8), 1565-1571.

Jarus, T., Ghanouni, P., Caswell, S., Bickerton, L., Abel, R., Fomenoff, S., Davidson, S., Lundberg, J., & Zwicker, J.G. (2015). Effect of internal versus external focus of attention on implicit motor learning in children with developmental coordination disorder. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 37, 119-126. doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2014.11.009

Zwicker, J.G., Rehal, H., Sodhi, S., Karkling, M., Paul, A., Hilliard, M., & Jarus, T. (2014). Effectiveness of a summer camp intervention for children with developmental coordination disorder. Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics, Sept 17 [epub ahead of print], doi: 10.3109/01942638.2014.957431

Restall, G., Cantin, N., Law, M., Montgomery, I., Phelan, S., Zwicker, J.G., & Anaby, D. (2014). The knowledge translation café at the 2014 CAOT conference: Closing the gap between presenters and participants. Occupational Therapy Now, 16(4), 18-19.

Makepeace, E., & Zwicker, J.G. (2014). Parent perspectives of occupational therapy assessment reports. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 77, 538-545. doi: 10.4276/030802214X14151078348396

Sabarre, C.L., Rassekh, S.R., & Zwicker, J.G. (2014). Vincristine and fine motor function of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 81, 256-264. doi: 10.1177/0008417414539926

Zwicker, J.G. (2014). Motor impairment in very preterm infants: implications for clinical practice and research. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology [epub ahead of print 2014 Apr 3], doi: 10.1111/dmcn.12454 [invited commentary]

Montgomery, I., & Zwicker, J.G. (2013). Power of partnership: Development of Printing Like a Pro! using the Knowledge to Action framework. Occupational Therapy Now,15(2), 8-10.

Zwicker, J.G. & Holfelder, B. (2013). Motorische ungeschicklichkeit aus der perspektive der Neurowissenschaft (Developmental coordination disorder: Insights from neuroimaging). Zeitschrift für Sportpsychologie (German Journal of Sport Psychology), 20(1), 5-9. doi:10.1026/1612-5010/a000087. [invited paper]

Zwicker, J.G., Grunau, R.E., Adams, E., Chau, V., Brant, R., Poskitt, K.J., Synnes, A. & Miller, S.P. (2013). Score for Neonatal Acute Physiology-II and neonatal pain predict corticospinal tract development in premature newborns. Pediatric Neurology, 48, 123-129. doi.org/10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2012.10.016

Zwicker, J.G., Yoon, S.W., Mackay, M., Petrie-Thomas, J., Rogers, M., & Synnes, A. (2012). Perinatal and neonatal predictors of developmental coordination disorder. Archives of Diseases in Children – Fetal and Neonatal Edition, Published Online First: 20 December 2012 doi:10.1136/archdischild-2012-302268

Zwicker, J.G., & Montgomery, I. (2012). Application of motor learning principles to handwriting instruction and intervention. Handwriting Today, 11, 9-19. [invited paper]

Zwicker, J.G., Missiuna, C., Harris, S.R., & Boyd, L.A. (2012). Developmental coordination disorder: A review and update. European Journal of Paediatric Neurology, 16, 573-81 [epub 2012 Jun 15] doi:10.1016/j.ejpn.2012.05.005

Zwicker, J.G., Harris, S.R., & Klassen, A. (2012). Quality of life domains affected in children with developmental coordination disorder: A systematic review. Child: Care, Health, and Development, [epub ahead of print] doi:10.1111/j.1365-2214.2012.01379.x

Zwicker, J.G., Missiuna, C., Harris, S.R., & Boyd, L.A. (2012). Developmental coordination disorder: A pilot diffusion tensor imaging study. Pediatric Neurology, 46, 162-167. doi:10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2011.12.007

Montgomery, I., & Zwicker, J.G. (2011). Applying current research evidence into practice: Development of a handwriting intervention program. Dyspraxia Foundation Professional Journal, 10, 12-20. [invited paper]

Zwicker, J.G. (2011). Cognitive versus multisensory approaches for handwriting: Current state of the evidence. Dyspraxia Foundation Professional Journal, 10, 3-11. [invited paper]

Edwards, J., Berube, M., Erlandson, K., Haug, S., Johnstone, H., Meagher, M., Sarkodee-Adoo, S., & Zwicker, J.G. (2011). Developmental coordination disorder in school-aged children born very preterm and/or with very low birth weight: A systematic review. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 32, 678-687. doi: 10.1097/DBP.0b013e31822a396a

Zwicker, J.G., Missiuna, C., Harris, S.R., & Boyd, L.A. (2011). Brain activation associated with motor skill practice in children with developmental coordination disorder: An fMRI study. International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience, 29, 145-152. doi:10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2010.12.002. Epub 2010 Dec 8.

Zwicker, J.G., & Mayson, T.A. (2010). Effectiveness of treadmill training in children with motor impairments: An overview of systematic reviews. Pediatric Physical Therapy, 22, 361-377. doi: 10.1097/PEP .0b013e3181f92e54

Zwicker, J.G., Missiuna, C., Harris, S.R., & Boyd, L.A. (2010). Brain activation of children with developmental coordination disorder is different than peers. Pediatrics, 126, e678-686. doi: 10.1542/peds.2007-0169. Epub 2010 Aug 16.

Zwicker, J.G., Missiuna, C., & Boyd, L.A. (2009). Neural correlates of developmental coordination disorder: A review of hypotheses. Journal of Child Neurology, 24, 1273-1281. doi: 10.1177/0883073809333537. Epub 2009 Aug 17.

Zwicker, J.G., & Harris, S.R. (2009). A reflection on motor learning theory in pediatric occupational therapy practice. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 76, 29-37.

Zwicker, J.G., & Hadwin, A. (2009). Cognitive versus multisensory approaches to handwriting intervention: A randomized controlled trial. OTJR: Occupation, Participation, and Health, 29, 40-48.

Zwicker, J.G., & Harris, S.R. (2008). Quality of life of former preterm and very low birth weight infants from preschool-age to adulthood: A systematic review. Pediatrics, 121, e366-376. doi: 10.1542/peds.2007-0169