Research Team

Justin Andrushko is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Brain Behaviour Laboratory. Justin completed his Ph.D. in the College of Kinesiology at the University of Saskatchewan where he worked with Dr. Jonathan Farthing. Justin’s previous research focused on the inter-limb transfer of unilateral motor training to the opposite untrained limb, often termed cross-education, and understanding how the brain and nervous system adapt to motor training and disuse. Justin has held visiting researcher appointments at Deakin University in Melbourne Australia and at the University of Oxford in Oxford England where he worked with Dr. Ashlee Hendy (Deakin) and Professor Charlotte Stagg (Oxford). For his postdoctoral research Justin is interested in determining the role of non-primary descending motor pathways in post-stroke motor recovery in individuals with severe hemiparesis.

Ronan Denyer is a PhD student in the Graduate Program in Neuroscience. Ronan completed his Bachelor’s degree at Trinity College Dublin, receiving First Class Honors in Psychology. While studying at TCD Ronan worked with Dr. Richard Carson investigating the neurophysiological basis of cross education of motor function using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Ronan also spent some time with Dr. Kathleen Friel at the Burke Rehabilitation Institute in New York, investigating the efficacy of bimanual therapy in kids with cerebral palsy. Dr. Lara Boyd’s work investigating the neurobiology of motor learning using both neurophysiological and imaging techniques, and in particular her focus on translating findings into applications to improve the quality of life of individuals with stroke, is what attracted Ronan to Canada, UBC and the Brain Behaviour Lab.

Jennifer Ferris is a PhD Candidate in the Graduate Programs in Rehabilitation Sciences. Jenn completed her BA in Psychology and MSc in Neuroscience at UBC. Jenn’s doctoral research used structural neuroimaging techniques to research stroke and cerebral small vessel disease. She is especially interested in how comorbid cardiovascular and metabolic diseases impact brain health in aging and the brain’s capacity for recovery after injury.

Christy is a PhD student in the Graduate Program in Rehabilitation Sciences. Christy completed her undergraduate training in Kinesiology at UBC and at the Queensland University of Technology and her Master’s degree in Neuroscience at McMaster University. Her past research has looked at neuroplasticity in healthy and clinical populations using non-invasive brain stimulation as well as balance and gait in Parkinson’s disease. Currently, she is interested in using neurotechnology and portable devices for rehabilitation of individuals following stroke. Her thesis is focused specifically on how we can use EEG-based biomarkers as objective measures of motor function. She is currently completing a Mitacs Accelerate Fellowship with a Surrey-based health technology company, HealthTech Connex.

When not in the lab, you can find her in the mountains, rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking and skiing and is always happy to share her love of these activities with anyone who is interested!

Bev Larssen is currently a student in the MPT/PhD program at the University of British Columbia. Bev completed her BHK and MSc under the supervision of Dr. Nicola Hodges in the School of Kinesiology, also at UBC. During her undergraduate and MSc programs, Bev studied the role of feedback and observational practice in adaptation learning. After completing her physical therapy training, with the supervision of Dr. Lara Boyd, she plans to study the use of robotic devices in upper-limb training interventions, and how they can be used as a tool to facilitate motor performance and learning.

Negin Motamed Yeganeh is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Negin completed her Ph.D. at the University of Tehran, Iran, in Psychology. As part of her Ph.D. degree program, she also spent some time with Dr. Rachel Weber and Dr. Lara Boyd, working on the Arrowsmith Brain imaging study at the University of British Columbia. The research goal was to catalyze future work in the area of learning disability to lead to the development of novel educational interventions that optimally stimulate learning in children. Negin’s interest in the field of Learning Disability and Neuropsychological Assessments caused her to come back to UBC after her Ph.D. defence. For her postdoctoral research, she is working on a novel project with a collaboration of an interdisciplinary team over UBC campus to answer this question: “Does opera training sculpt the brain to learn?”. The immediate goal of this study is to evaluate the hypothesis that intensive language practice as a part of opera training can lead to changes in the brain structure and brain function that support improvements in learning, memory, and executive function. The importance of this work would advance the science of music and language psychology.

Research Interests

Neuropsychology and Neuropsychological Assessment,  Cognitive Development, Executive Functioning, Learning Disability, Psycholinguistics

 

Anjana is an MSc Student in the Graduate Program in neuroscience. Anjana has completed her BSc in Behavioural Neuroscience and English Literature at the University of British Columbia. Her interest in disorders impacting the nervous system began with her involvement in investigating the ketogenic diet in mice models of multiple sclerosis at ICORD during her undergraduate degree. Seeing Dr. Lara Boyd’s work investigating how individual, neurobiological differences affect recovery, specifically using imaging, drew her to the lab. Anjana hopes to continue exploring how we can tailor stroke recovery to match an individuals neurological profile through her Master’s degree. When not in the lab you can find her singing with her a cappella group or exploring coffeeshops in Vancouver.

Shie is a PhD student in the Rehabilitation Sciences program. She completed her BOT at Tel Aviv University, and her MSc at UBC. Her graduate work with Dr. Jill Zwicker investigated neural correlates of Developmental Coordination Disorder. Shie’s passion for stroke research began while working as an occupational therapist in an inpatient neurological rehabilitation unit in Tel-Aviv. Her doctoral work aims to investigate stroke in women, and specifically, the effect of sex hormones and past pregnancies on stroke risk and recovery in women. Although women account for 60% of stroke-related deaths, they are often under-represented in stroke research. As a result, the unique risk factors affecting women’s stroke risk and recovery are largely understudied and poorly understood. The outcomes of Shie’s research will help close this gap in knowledge, and promote care for women with stroke.

Cristina Rubino completed her BSc in Biology at York University and her MSc in Neuroscience at the University of British Columbia. Her graduate work with Dr. Jason Barton investigated the role of eye-movement training in patient populations with homonymous hemianopia. In the Brain Behaviour Lab at UBC, Cristina is interested in using neurophysiology and structural and functional neuroimaging to investigate the mechanisms associated with learning-dependent changes in stroke patients. Cristina plans to investigate the role of eye-movements during upper-extremity motor learning in healthy and stroke populations. Ultimately, her goal is to contribute to neurorehabilitation research and devise tools to improve the quality of life for those living with mobility and motor control limitations from stroke. Outside the lab, Cristina likes to explore new places through road biking, hiking, snowboarding, and playing Ultimate Frisbee.