Picture of Dr. Saija Kontulainen

Dr. Saija Kontulainen PhD Professor

PAC 331

Research Area(s)

  • Musculoskeletal Health
  • Biomechanics
  • Women's Health

Research Areas

My research areas fall under the following College of Kinesiology research themes: Child and Youth Health and Development, Human Performance, and Healthy Aging and Management of Chronic Conditions.


The overall goal of my research is to develop evidence-based strategies to optimize musculoskeletal health across the lifespan and prevent musculoskeletal disease, particularly osteoporosis, and train future generation of musculoskeletal researchers. Collaborative, interdisciplinary research program and Laboratories Imaging Bone and Muscle Structure (LIMBS) focus on characterizing bone development and identifying modifiable factors that can optimize bone structure and strength development and prevent bone fragility in children and older adults. Research collaborations include Canadian Multicenter Osteoporosis Bone Quality Study and randomized controlled trial assessing the effects of resistance training and ibuprofen supplementation on musculoskeletal health in postmenopausal women. Part of my research program aims to develop and validate imaged-based measures of bone strength. Current projects are supported by the  UofS One Health Initiative, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF), Dairy Farmers Canada, Canadian Space Agency and Royal University Hospital Foundation.


Academic Background

Current Trainees

  • Kelsey Björkman, PhD student, Kinesiology
  • Mahdi Rostami, PhD student, Kinesiology
  • Wadena Burnett (co-supervised with JD Johnston), PhD student, Engineering 
  • Amy Bunyamin (co-supervised with JD Johnston), MSc student, Engineering
  • Anthony Kehrig, MSc student, Kinesiology
  • Atia Nadjafi (co-supervised with JD Johnston), MSc student, Engineering
  • Kadin Majcher (co-supervised with JD Johnston), MSc student, Engineering
  • Mahdi Hosseinitabatabaei (co-supervised with JD Johnston), MSc student, Engineering
  • Yuwen Zheng, MSc student, Kinesiology
  • Bethany Hase, Honours student (undergraduate), Kinesiology
  • Kate Thompson, Honours student (undergraduate), Kinesiology

If you are interested in research training opportunities, please contact Dr. Kontulainen with the following information

  • A one-page letter outlining your research interests, experiences and goals
  • CV and unofficial transcripts
  • Names of two academic referees

Recently Graduated Trainees (PhD and MSc)

  • Dr. Andrew Frank-Wilson, PhD, Kinesiology - current position: PDF, Research Fellow in National Institutes of Health, USA
  • Dr. Chantal Kawalilak, PhD, Kinesiology - current position: Senior Analyst, Alberta Health Services
  • Dr. Katie Crockett (co-supervised with Cathy Arnold), PhD, Health Sciences - current position: Physical Therapist and Reseracher, Saskatoon Health Region
  • Dr. Whitney Duff (co-supervised with Phil Chilibeck), PhD, Kinesiology - current position: PDF, College of Medicine, UofS
  • Hanieh Arjmand (co-supervised with JD Johnston), MSc, Engineering - current position: PhD student UofT
  • Kelsey Björkman (co-supervised with Joel Lanovaz), MSc, Kinesiology - current position: PhD student UofS
  • Matthew McDonald (co-supervised with JD Johnston), MSc, Engineering - current position: Industry, The Neatherlands

Courses Taught

  • KIN 428.3 - Drugs, nutrition and physical activity
  • KIN 445.3 - Acquisition, analysis and interpretation of musculoskeletal imaging
  • KIN 807.3 - Research Methods
  • KIN 898.3 - Special Topics
  • ACB 221.3 - Gross Anatomy