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New Staff


Ranil Sonnadara
Ranil Sonnadara
Ranil Sonnadara joined the University of Toronto Surgical Skills Centre as a Research Scientist in September 2008. Originally from England, Ranil brings a diverse and atypical skill set to the Department of Surgery. In his 'first career', he was a sound designer and composer for theatre and film. Ranil won several awards for his work which spanned 10 years, 4 continents, and included residencies at the Royal National Theatre and West Yorkshire Playhouse, two of England's "flagship" theatres, and several forays to Toronto, Sydney and New York. Ranil is also a highly successful fencing coach; several of his students have been selected for University, National, World Championship and Olympic Teams both in the UK and in Canada. A recognised expert in coaching development, Ranil has been an integral member of the team responsible for moving coaching and referee development models for fencing in Canada from time-based curriculae to a proficiencybased model of evaluation and training. Ranil is also an occasional consultant for Sport Canada, and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Coaching Association of Canada and the Ontario Fencing Association.

Ranil has masters degrees in Music and Physiology from the University of Leeds, where he researched factors which have an impact on skill performance, and a doctoral degree in Experimental Psychology from McMaster University. His thesis work sought to untangle the effects of listening to sounds and music on brain development, specifically looking at changes which occur in the brain as a function of experience. Following his doctoral work, Ranil completed a postdoctoral fellowship in "Motor learning and expert performance" with Drs. Tim Lee and Digby Elliott, extending his masters and doctoral research to look at motor learning and performance in athletes and musicians. Ranil's research has won awards from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition, and the Society for Psychophysiological Research, and has been published in a wide variety of high impact factor journals including Brain Research, Perception and Psychophysics, Neuroreport and Signal Processing.

Ranil's most recent research extends his previous work on skill acquisition, performance and evaluation in athletes to health professionals. Current projects include studying how underlying information processing pathways between the different systems which underpin surgical performance can be optimized as a function of training and deliberate practice, cognitive factors which impact performance, and studying how performance can more reliably be evaluated and predicted.

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