Mikaela Stiver

PhD Candidate, University of Toronto
Aspiring Anatomy Educator | CIHR Vanier Scholar | Lifelong Learner

About Me

I am a PhD candidate in the Division of Anatomy (Rehabilitation Sciences Institute) at the University of Toronto. Working under the supervision and guidance of Dr. Anne Agur, my research in the Musculoskeletal Anatomy Lab focuses on mapping, quantifying, and modelling the 3D architecture of the human trapezius muscle. In combination with advanced medical imaging techniques (e.g., ultrasound shear-wave elastography) we are investigating how the anatomical and structural characteristics of this muscle are related to patterns of chronic pain presentation.

Beyond research, the highlight of my post-secondary experience has consistently been teaching. When I’m not demonstrating anatomy labs or developing my skills in teaching workshops, you can find me volunteering with Let’s Talk Science, engaging the rehabilitation community through rehabINK and The rehabINK Podcast, developing online resources for histology & neuroanatomy, and occasionally creating anatomical doodles.

Moving forward, I aspire to find a position in higher education that combines my enthusiasm for education and discovery with my eagerness to help people. I’m always on the lookout for new challenges and opportunities—don’t hesitate to get in touch!


University of Guelph

Bachelor of Science
Human Kinetics & Neuroscience
2010 – 2014

University of Guelph

Master of Science
Neuroscience & Applied Cognitive Science
2014 – 2016

University of Toronto

Doctor of Philosophy
Rehabilitation Science (Anatomy)
2016 – Present


Publications (Peer-Reviewed Journals)

Stiver ML, Cloke JM, Nightingale N, Rizos J, Messer W, Winters BD. Linking muscarinic receptor activation to UPS-mediated object memory destabilization: implications for long-term memory modification and storage. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. 2017; 145: 151–164. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nlm.2017.10.007.

Zwicker JG, Miller SP, Grunau RE, Chau V, Brant R, Studholme C, Liu M, Synnes A, Poskitt KJ, Stiver ML, Tam EW. Smaller cerebellar growth and poorer neurodevelopmental outcomes in very preterm infants exposed to neonatal morphine. Journal of Pediatrics. 2016; 172: 81–87. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2015.12.024.

Stiver ML, Kamino D, Guo T, Thompson A, Duerden EG, Taylor MJ, Tam EW. Maternal postsecondary education associated with improved cerebellar growth after preterm birth. Journal of Child Neurology. 2015; 30(12): 1633–1639. https://doi.org/10.1177/0883073815576790.

Stiver ML, Jacklin DL, Mitchnick K, Vicic N, Carlin J, O’Hara M, Winters BD. Cholinergic manipulations bidirectionally regulate object memory destabilization. Learning & Memory. 2015; 22(4): 203–214. https://www.learnmem.org/cgi/doi/10.1101/lm.037713.114

Published Conference Abstracts

Stiver ML, Agur AMR (2020, June). Review of musculoskeletal ultrasound shear wave elastography: past, present, and future. Presented at the 37th American Association for Clinical Anatomists Conference, Virtual Meeting [ePoster]. Published in Clinical Anatomy: TBC

Stiver ML, Agur AMR, Mirjalili, SA (2020, April). Mapping tissue properties in trapezius with ultrasound shear wave elastography: a pilot study. Presented at the American Association of Anatomists Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology 2020, Virtual Meeting [ePoster]. Published in The FASEB Journal: https://doi.org/10.1096/fasebj.2020.34.s1.00714

Stiver ML, Agur AMR, Mirjalili SA (2019, December). Development and pilot testing of a novel ultrasound protocol for investigating chronic pain in trapezius. Presented at the 16th Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Clinical Anatomists, Perth, WA, Australia [Platform Presentation]. Published in Clinical Anatomy: https://doi.org/10.1002/ca.23544

Stiver ML, Agur AMR (2019, August). Analysis of myofascial trigger point-prone regions in trapezius: novel insights from cadaveric data. Presented at the 19th Congress of the International Federation of Associations of Anatomists, London, UK [Platform Presentation]. Published in the Journal of Anatomy: https://doi.org/10.1111/joa.13163

Stiver ML, Bradshaw LR, Breinhorst EM, Agur AMR, Mirjalili SA (2019, June). Trapezius architecture in infancy and adulthood: preliminary developmental insights. Presented at the 36th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Clinical Anatomists, Tulsa, OK, USA [Platform Presentation]. Published in Clinical Anatomy: https://doi.org/10.1002/ca.23451

Stiver ML, Käärid K, Kumbhare D, Agur AMR (2019, April). Comprehensive 3D Architecture of the Adult Human Trapezius: A Cadaveric Study. Presented at the American Association of Anatomists Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology 2019, Orlando, FL, USA [Platform Presentation]. Published in The FASEB Journal: https://fasebj.org/action/doi/abs/10.1096/fasebj.2019.33.1_supplement.77.2

Stiver ML, Kumbhare D, Agur AMR (2018, July). Parsing out the Relationship between Contractile and Connective Elements in the Human Trapezius. Presented at the 35th American Association for Clinical Anatomists Conference, Atlanta, GA, USA [Poster Presentation]. Published in Clinical Anatomy: https://doi.org/10.1002/ca.23260


Recent & Upcoming Conferences

AAA @ Experimental Biology

April 4–7, 2020
Virtual Meeting

AACA Annual Meeting

June 15–19, 2020
Virtual Meeting

AACA/HAPS Fall Regional Meeting

October 3, 2020
Virtual Meeting