Research Team

ANGELA-150x150Angela Auriat, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow

Angela Auriat completed her PhD in psychology at the University of Alberta where she used animal models to study mechanisms of recovery after hemorrhagic stroke. Her thesis work assessed how rehabilitation interventions alter brain plasticity and enhance functional outcome. Angela then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University, where she used animal models to study stem cell therapies for stroke. Angela is continuing to study recovery after stroke but is now focusing on human research. Currently, Angela is using multimodal neuroimaging to study if functional deficits and impaired cognition after stroke are associated with the presence and quantity of silent lesions.


Kate Hayward, PT PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow

Kate Hayward completed her Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours) at James Cook University (Australia) and her PhD at The University of Queensland (Australia). Kate’s graduate work built upon her clinical experience and focused on people with severe upper limb paresis after stroke. Here, she evaluated the use of novel training interventions (e.g., SMART Arm, outcome-triggered electrical stimulation), along with identifying clinical factors associated with functional recovery. To extend on her graduate work in people with severe paresis, Kate joined the Brain Behaviour Lab at UBC to use multimodal neuroimaging to explore the dynamic capacity of the severely damaged brain and identify possible brain-derived factors associated with functional recovery. Her postdoctoral work aims to unpack ‘who recovers’, ‘who does not recover’, and ‘why’ when severe upper limb paresis is present after stroke. The outcomes of her research will be used to inform the development of novel training interventions to promote optimal upper limb recovery after severe stroke.


Bimal-Lakhani-150-x150Bimal Lakhani, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow

Bimal Lakhani completed his BSc in Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo and his MSc and PhD degrees at the University of Toronto in the Department of Rehabilitation Science. His graduate work investigated the central nervous system mechanisms involved in the generation of rapid corrective balance recovery movements, which are typically impaired following stroke. Despite the increased likelihood of survival following stroke, the functional deficits suffered by stroke survivors are numerous. In the Brain Behaviour Lab at UBC, Bimal is interested in utilizing novel imaging techniques in order to investigate the mechanisms associated with learning-dependent changes of white matter in the stroke affected central nervous system. Bimal’s research interests are focused on improving the overall quality of life of stroke survivors by understanding the specific mechanisms that result in mobility and motor control limitations and by developing novel rehabilitation strategies that target those limitations.


Jason Neva, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow

Jason Neva completed his BSc and MSc in Kinesiology and Health Science at York University and his PhD in Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo. His MSc focused on aspects of behavioural motor learning and his PhD investigated how brain activity is modulated due to two-handed (bimanual) motor training and brain stimulation using TMS. In the Brain Behaviour Lab at UBC, Jason uses multiple neuroimaging techniques to understand the underlying neural mechanisms that are modulated due to skilled motor behaviour, aerobic exercise, brain injury (e.g. stroke) and other neurological disorders. Jason has two related overall research interests: (1) to understand how skilled motor learning, aerobic exercise, multisensory integration and non-invasive cortical stimulation effect neuroplasticity in the central nervous system and (2) how this understanding of neuroplasticity can positively alter brain activity and motor function following stroke and other neurological disorders.”


Katie Wadden, Katie-Wadden-150-x150MSc
Graduate Research Assistant

Katie Wadden completed her undergraduate degree in Kinesiology at Memorial University of Newfoundland where she began her research career studying the effect of acute hypoxia on muscle contracile properties. Katie continued research in the field of exercise physiology at Memorial University of Newfoundland and completed a Masters of Science in Kinesiology. Her research interest was directed towards the role of the stretch shortening cycling (SSC) during slow and rapid SSC movements. She studied neuromuscular responses via electromyography (EMG) following different forms of SSC training. Currently Katie is pursuing a PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences in the Faculty of Medicine at UBC. The aim of her research is to determine the role working memory plays in implicit motor learning. Her research will focus on studying the healthy brain through the use of TMS and brain imaging techniques during motor learning paradigms to further understand the role memory plays during the acquisition of motor skills.


Sue PetersSue Peters, PhD Student, MPT, BA (Kin)
Graduate Research Assistant

Sue Peters obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from the University of Western Ontario. Working as a Kinesiologist, Sue was interested in understanding normal human movement and how therapeutic exercise could facilitate recovery after an injury. To improve her understanding of motor performance and injury recovery, Sue returned to university to complete a Master’s degree in Physical Therapy. While working clinically as a Physiotherapist, Sue worked with people with a variety of neurological injuries, such as stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. She became curious with how the brain functions especially after injury. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Rehabilitation Science in the Faculty of Medicine at UBC. Sue’s research aims to better understand the role of motor planning and how it contributes to motor performance after a stroke.


Kate Brown, MSc
Graduate Research Assistant

Kate Brown completed her undergraduate degree in Kinesiology with a minor in Psychology at the University of Waterloo. She went on to complete a Master of Science in the Faculty of Medicine in Rehabilitation Science at the University of British Columbia. With the supervision of Lara Boyd in the Brain Behaviour Lab, she studied the role of the prefrontal and somatosensory cortices in attentional effects on sensory processing. Currently, she is completing her PhD in Rehabilitation Science. Specifically, she is studying the role of sensorimotor integration in motor learning.


Jennifer Ferris, BA (Hons.)
Graduate Research Assistant

Jennifer Ferris is currently an MSc candidate in the Graduate Program of Neuroscience. She completed her undergraduate degree at UBC with Honours in Psychology. During her time as an undergraduate she studied the distribution of Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone in the rat hippocampus under the supervision of Dr. Kiran Soma, and visual-spatial attention in senior fallers under the supervision of Dr. Todd Handy. Jenn’s interest in brain injury led her to the Brain Behaviour Lab. Her research will focus on the contribution of Type-2 diabetes to stroke incidence and stroke recovery.


Nick-Snow-150-x150Nicholas J. Snow, BKin (Hons.), CSEP-CEP, EIMC Level 2, BCAK Member
Graduate Research Assistant

Nick is currently a MSc student in the Rehabilitation Sciences program at UBC. Prior to living in BC, Nick completed his Bachelor of Kinesiology with honours at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, in his home town of St. John’s. Under the supervision of Fabien Basset and Jeannette Byrne, Nick studied the effects of barefoot running on simple reaction time and muscle activation patterns, in habitual users of “minimalist” footwear. At the BBL Nick is currently investigating how low-intensity aerobic exercise affects motor learning and neuroplasticity, as well as the interaction between these effects and neuroendocrine responses to exercise. This work, in young healthy adults, is geared towards informing future research involving persons with chronic stroke. Nick hopes that his results will provide evidence for the efficacy of exercise to facilitate improvements in motor learning, to be applied in a rehabilitation setting. In addition to exercise-based research, Nick is exploring how pairing rehabilitation robotics with repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation will affect motor function, tactile sensation, and motor system excitability in persons with chronic stroke. Outside the lab, Nick likes to seek adventure and inspiration through nature, physical exercise, and literature.


NOAHNoah Ledwell, BKin (Hons.)
Graduate Research Assistant

Noah Ledwell completed his Bachelor of Kinesiology with honours at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. Noah began his research career studying exercises for optimal core activation in an athlete population. Noah is currently pursuing a MSc in Rehabilitation Science in the Faculty of Medicine at UBC. Noah plans to investigate the cross-facilitation effects of strength training in individuals with chronic stroke, and how this affects cortical excitability and motor learning. Noah is also exploring how pairing rehabilitation robotics with repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation will affect motor function, tactile sensation, and motor system excitability in persons with chronic stroke. In his free time, Noah enjoys snowboarding, sports, and British Columbia’s beautiful nature.


jules1Julia Schmidt, PT PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow

Julia Schmidt is interested in understanding how changes in the brain impact a person’s function and everyday life. Specifically, she has two key interests: 1) how mild traumatic brain injury (i.e., concussion) affects brain connectivity and cognitive ability; and 2) how cognitive impairment after stroke affects motor learning and skill acquisition. Julia received her BSc in Occupational Therapy from The University of Alberta. She has over ten years of clinical experience in neurological rehabilitation, during which she identified critical gaps in the evidence, which together inform her research questions. Julia completed her PhD at the University of Queensland, Australia with studies including a randomised controlled trial and systematic review with meta-analysis. When Julia is not researching, she is running or biking or playing outside, preferably with her husband and two boys.


Jacob Jackson, BSc
Graduate Research Assistant

Jacob Jackson completed his BSc in Physics at the University of British Columbia. His undergraduate research utilized cutting-edge neuroimaging techniques to investigate the ability of the brain to experience structural changes in response to learning novel motor movements. Expanding upon his undergraduate work, Jacob is currently using a semi-immersive virtual reality environment as a means of neurorehabilitation for individuals with stroke. Jacob is most interested in understanding the mechanisms of neuroplasticity and employing neuroimaging to quantify structural and functional changes.


Tamara Koren, MA
Research Coordinator


bw picBrenda Wessel, MSc, PT
Grants Facilitator

Brenda Wessel completed her Master’s degree in Physical Therapy and worked many years in various clinical settings. Her responsibilities include identifying potential funding opportunities, the maintenance of Dr. Boyd’s CVs for grant applications, providing assistance with grant writing, editing, budget development, as well as ensuring that grant deadlines are met in accordance with UBC and grant agency policies and procedures. Brenda also assists with ethics application submission for studies undertaken by the lab as well as subject recruitment and testing for some projects.