PEOPLE

Faculty

Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose
PhD, PT

Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose, PhD, PT, is a Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, and Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity, Mobility, and Cognitive Neuroscience. She is the Research Director of the Vancouver General Hospital Falls Prevention Clinic and Director of the Aging, Mobility, and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory. Dr. Liu-Ambrose is an associate member of the UBC Brain Research Centre and the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility.

Dr. Liu-Ambrose received her PhD from the University of British Columbia, Canada in 2004. She completed a 2-year post-doctoral fellowship in the area of cognitive science funded by both Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) and joined the UBC Department of Physical Therapy in April 2006 as an Assistant Professor. She was promoted to Full Professor in 2017. Dr. Liu-Ambrose is a recipient of the Royal Society of Canada’s Alice Wilson Award (2006), CIHR Institute of Aging Recognition Prize in Research in Aging (2005 & 2011), MSFHR Career Investigator Award (2006), and CIHR New Investigator Award (2011). Her research focuses on defining the role of exercise to promote healthy aging and prevent cognitive and functional decline among seniors. Her research has been featured by the New York Times and in the Globe and Mail (see News).

When not running around in the lab, Dr. Liu-Ambrose is running about getting her kids to hockey, swimming, soccer, and piano lessons. She also loves to bake whenever time allows it and taking her dog for swims along the beautiful beaches of Spanish Banks.


Research Associates

Jennifer Davis
PhD

Research Associate
Department of  Physical Therapy, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

Jennifer Davis, PhD, is a Research Associate working with  Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose’s research team. Jennifer has a B.Sc in Honours Physiology, a Masters of Science in Experimental Medicine, a PhD in Health Care and Epidemiology at UBC and she completed her postdoctoral fellowship in the School of Population and Public Health at UBC. Jennifer received both a MSFHR Junior Trainee Award, MSFHR Senior Graduate Studentship, MSFHR postdoctoral fellowship, CIHR Banting Canada Graduate Scholarship and CIHR postdoctoral fellowship for her graduate studies. 

The aims of Jennifer’s current work are to:

  1. Conduct an economic evaluation alongside randomized controlled trials using behavioural interventions (e.g. exercise) aimed at combating cognitive decline and improving mobility. Jennifer’s end goal is to add quality to later life years through providing high quality evidence to inform health policy decisions;
  2.  Determine key clinical outcomes that are predictive of health care resource utilization and health related quality of life among older adults at high risk of mobility impairment and/or cognitive decline. This research will serve to inform health care decision making in providing information on which clinical outcomes would provide the “best buy” for our limited health care dollars and;
  3. Jennifer is also working jointly with the BC Ministry of Health on an initiative to prevent falls and improve mobility among older adults. Jennifer, as Co-Director of Research Operations at the Vancouver Falls Prevention Clinic, is working with the Vancouver Falls Prevention Team on translating the geriatrician based evidence based model of falls prevention at Vancouver General Hospital to centres across BC.

John Best
PhD

Research Associate
Department of  Physical Therapy, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

RP_Best_John

John Best is a Research Associate working under the supervision of Teresa Liu-Ambrose. John’s research uses scientific approaches from lifespan developmental psychology, behavioural economics, health psychology, neuroimaging and kinesiology to study two interrelated questions: (1) What types of experiences bolster cognitive function across the lifespan? (2) What are the cognitive, neural and environmental factors that lead individuals to make choices in the world that promote positive health? In examining these questions, Dr. Best focuses most closely on executive functions, which refer to the cognitive functions essential to goal-oriented and controlled behavior. Originally from the USA, John received a PhD in developmental psychology from the University of Georgia and post-doctoral training in obesity research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.


Postdoctoral Fellows

Glenn J. Landry
PhD

CIHR Postdoctoral fellow
Department of  Physical Therapy, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

G Landry-ugly picGlenn Landry is a postdoctoral research fellow supervised by Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose. His current research efforts focus on circadian rhythms, sleep, aging and cognition. In particular, Glenn is interested in determining whether age-related changes in sleep duration, efficiency and architecture contribute to or accelerate cognitive decline in the elderly. Glenn’s goal is to identify chronotherapeutic interventions capable of delaying cognitive decline in the elderly, with the objective of improving quality of life, productivity, and extending capacity for independent living. Glenn completed his graduate research at Simon Fraser University, examining the circadian mechanisms of food & reward entrainment, supported by grants from MSFHR and NSERC.

Cindy Barha
PhD

CIHR and MSFHR/PARF Postdoctoral fellow
Department of  Physical Therapy, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

IMG_4152.jpg

Cindy Barha is a postdoctoral research fellow supervised by Drs. Teresa Liu-Ambrose and Robin Hsiung. Cindy’s primary research interests focus on the interactions between the stress and reproductive axes in determining developmental trajectories across the lifespan, with a concentration on how these interactions influence normal age-associated cognitive decline as well as risk for neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, she is interested in understanding how sex differences in the cognitive-enhancing ability of exercise training are related to hormones and genotype. Cindy received a PhD in Behavioural Neuroscience from the University of British Columbia and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University. She is currently supported by a fellowship from CIHR and a joint fellowship from MSFHR and the Pacific Alzheimer Research Foundation (PARF).


PhD Students

Liang Hsu
PhD

Research Interest: Exercise and cognition, functional connectivity
Research project: Investigating the differences in brain functional connectivity between senior fallers and non-fallers
Contact: liang.hsu@hiphealth.ca

——————–

 

Elizabeth Dao
PhD

Liz is currently a Master’s student in the Rehabilitation Sciences Graduate Program supervised by Teresa Liu-Ambrose and Robin Hsiung.  Previously she earned her BA in psychology where her work investigated the role of mind wandering in task related attentional responses. Liz has also done work looking at the effect of transcranial magnetic stimulation on motor learning and motor recovery in people with stroke.  Her current research will focus on the prevalence of mixed AD and the effect of exercise in people with vascular cognitive impairment.
Contact: lizdao@hiphealth.ca

Lisanne ten Brinke
PhD

Lisanne ten Brinke is a PhD Student in the Rehabilitation Sciences program and is supervised by Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose. She completed her B.Sc. in Human Movement Sciences at the University of Groningen and her M.Sc. in Biology of Human Performance and Health at Maastricht University, both located in the Netherlands. During her masters, she did an exchange program at the University of British Columbia under the supervision of Teresa Liu-Ambrose. She looked at the influence of exercise (aerobic and resistance exercise) on hippocampal volume.
Contact: lisanne.tenbrinke@ubc.ca

Ryan Falck
PhD

Ryan Falck is a PhD Student of Rehabilitative Sciences. He previously earned his MSc in exercise science from the University of South Carolina working under Dr. Sara Wilcox. His thesis work focused on the effects of a community-based walking program on cognitive function in older adults. He has also spent time working for the Energy Balance Study under principle investigators Dr. Steven Blair and Dr. Gregory Hand. A former collegiate strength and conditioning coach, he is interested in the effects of different intensities, frequencies and modalities on the cognitive function of older adults.
Contact: Ryan.Falck@hiphealth.ca

Rachel Crockett
PhD

Rachel Crockett is a PhD student in the Rehabilitation Sciences program under the supervision of Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose. Previously, she completed her B.Sc. in Psychology and her M.Sc. in Brain Imaging and Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Birmingham in the UK. Her research focus is in motor neuroscience and the effect of exercise on the structure and function of the brain.


Master’s Students

Tracy Dignum
B.Sc.(PT), M.Ed.

Tracy Dignum is a Master’s student in Rehabilitation Science under the supervision of Dr. Liu-Ambrose. Tracy’s research looks at the impact of mindful meditation on mobility and cognitive outcomes among older adults at risk for falls. Tracy received her BSc in Physical Therapy from Queen’s University and her Master of Education from Memorial University. She has extensive clinical experience in public and private physiotherapy practice and has also devoted much of her career to the education of rehabilitation assistants at Capilano University. Tracy is a mother of three and is passionate about running, yoga and the benefits of mindful living. Webpage: https://zenportfolios.ca/tdignum/


Visiting Scholars

Alfonso Joseph Alfini
PhD

Alfonso is a fourth year Ph.D. student working with Dr. J. Carson Smith in the Exercise for Brain Health Laboratory at the University of Maryland (UMD), College Park. His previous research has investigated the impact of acute/chronic exercise and exercise cessation on cerebral blood flow and cognition in older adults. He was awarded the UMD Whitlark Fellowship and has come to the University of British Columbia to work with Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose in the Aging, Mobility, and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory.He has a particular interest in the interactive effect of sleep and exercise on brain function and the versatility and expertise of Dr. Liu-Ambrose’s laboratory offers him the unique opportunity to measure these variables. The skills he acquires while here will provide him the necessary tools to complete his dissertation research.

Hyuma Makizako
PhD

Hyuma Makizako, PhD, was a postdoctoral fellow working under the supervision of Dr.Teresa Liu-Ambrose. Hyuma is currently a research fellow and is working at the National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology in Japan. Hyuma has examined the association of daily physical activity with memory and brain volume, especially hippocampus while he was in the Aging, Mobility and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory. Hyuma and his co-workers now conduct a randomized controlled trial investigating the effects of non-pharmacological intervention (e.g., physical exercise) in brain health among elderly at high-risk of dementia, such as mild cognitive impairment in Japan.
———-
Contact: hyuma.wsd@gmail.com

Willem J.R. Bossers
M.Sc.

Willem got his M.Sc. in 2009 in Human Movement Sciences at the University of Groningen. In 2010 he started as a PhD student at the University of Groningen and University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG). The research project he is working on looks at the cognitive (executive functions and memory) and physical (endurance capacity, mobility, muscle strength, and balance) effects of a combined aerobic and resistance exercise program in institutionalized elderly with dementia. Furthermore, effects on Activities of Daily Living, quality of life, and healthcare burden are a focus of his study. His PhD research project is finished in February 2014 and is financially supported by the UMCG and Fonds NutsOhra.

Currently, Willem is performing a research project with PhD student Niousha Bolandzadeh M.Sc. to investigate the mediating effects of the amount of Gray Matter Volume on the relationship of improved cognition via targeted exercise training.

Contact: w.j.r.bossers@umcg.nl


Research Coordinator

Michelle Munkacsy
M.Sc.

Michelle completed her Bachelors of Science in Movement Science from the University of Michigan, and her Masters in Human Kinetics at the University of British Columbia. In the Aging, Mobility, and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, Michelle is currently working on the CogMob Study and the Promote Study. In addition, Michelle assists in the VGH Falls Prevention Clinic.
In her spare time, she enjoys any activities in the outdoors, including hiking, kayaking, skiing, and rock climbing.
Email: michelle.munkacsy@hiphealth.ca

 


Research Assistants

Winnie Cheung
B.Sc.

Winnie Cheung completed her Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of British Columbia. She is currently coordinating the Action Seniors! Study, a research project investigating a home delivered exercise program for its effectiveness at reducing falls among community-dwelling seniors, at the Aging, Mobility, and Cognitive Neuroscience Lab. In addition, Winnie also assists with the Falls Prevention Clinic and various other studies within the lab. On her days off, Winnie enjoys seeking adventure outdoors hiking, camping, and snowboarding, or at home cooking up a delicious meal for her loved ones.

Patrick Chan
B.Sc.

Patrick completed his Bachelor of Science in Integrated Sciences at the University of British Columbia.  In the Aging, Mobility, and Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, he is mainly working on the Buying Time Study. He has a interest in medicine, hoping to pursue a career as a geriatrician. In his spare time, Patrick also enjoys playing the piano, listening to music, running, hiking, and playing soccer.

Joey Chan
B.Sc.

Joey completed her Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry at the University of British Columbia. She is currently working as a research assistant for the Fit Brains study where she assists in the classes that are being conducted. In the future, she plans on pursuing a career in the healthcare field. In her spare time, Joey enjoys playing ultimate frisbee, volleyball, hiking, and travelling.

 


Undergraduates

Cheyenne Ghag
B.Sc.

Cheyenne is an undergraduate student completing her Bachelors of Science in Behavioral Neuroscience. She is currently working as a research assistant for the Fit Brains study, under the supervision of Lisanne ten Brinke. After completing her undergraduate degree, she plans to pursue a career in the medical field. In her spare time Cheyenne enjoys playing Water Polo, playing Piano and reading.

 

 

 


Alumni

Alison Chan
MSc. PT, B.Sc.

Alison Chan has completed her Master of Physical Therapy.

Bryan Chiu
B.Sc.

 

Bryan has graduated from the University of British Columbia with a combined major in Computer Science and Physics. He is currently finishing an internship with IBM.

Caitlin Gomez
B.Sc.

 

Caitlin Gomez recently completed a Bachelor’s degree in Human Kinetics at UBC, focusing on Kinesiology and Health Sciences.

Christopher Lim
B.Kin.

Chris completed his bachelors of kinesiology at the University of British Columbia. He is continuing his studies at UBC to become a nurse.

Danielle Boyd
MSc. PT, B.Sc.

Danielle completed her Bachelor of Human Kinetics at the University of British Columbia with a minor in Commerce. She is now a physiotherapist.

Devika Sharma
B.Sc.

Devika graduated from Simon Fraser University with a Bachelors of Science in Biology and a Health and Fitness certificate. She is now a is a registered dietitian.

 

 

Jessica Rogers
B.ScN, B.Sc.

Jessica Rogers graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Kinetics. She is now working as full-time nurse.

Joseph Liu
B.Com.

 

Joseph has graduated with a Bachelors of Commerce from the University of British Columbia. He is now working in financial banking.

 

Kelly Vertes
M.A.

Kelly Vertes received a Bachelor of Science and Masters of Arts degree at the University of Ottawa in Human Kinetics.

Lindsay Nagamatsu
PhD

Lindsay Nagamatsu completed her PhD in Psychology at the University of British Columbia under the supervision of Dr. Todd Handy and Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose. She is know an Assistant Professor at University of Western Ontario.

 

Mika Johnson
M.Sc.

Mika graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Master’s of Science in Human Kinetics. She is working as a grant facilitator at UBC.

Nader Fallah
PhD

 

Nader Fallah has a B.Sc. in Statistics, M.Sc. in Biostatistics and PhD in Biostatistics at Tehran University of Medical Sciences. He is currently a statistician at ICORD.

Niousha Bolandzadeh
PhD

 

Niousha Bolandzadeh did her PhD in Experimental Medicine in the faculty of Medicine. She is currently down in silicon valley and started up her own company in brain health.

Dr. Olav Kringolson
PhD

Associate Professor
Department of  Exercise Science, Physical & Health Education, University of Victoria

Dr. Olav Kringolson was a former postdoctoral fellow and now an Associate Professor at the University of Victoria.

Sandy Gill
B.Sc.

 

—————

Sanford Kong
MD

———-
———-
———-
———-
———-
———-
———-

Serena Midttun
B.Kin.

 

Serena completed her bachelor of kinesiology at the University of British Columbia and will be returning to complete her Master of Physical Therapy in the fall of 2017.

 

 

Shirley Wang
B.Sc.

Shirley completed her Bachelors of Science in Biology and completing her Master of Physical Therapy at UBC.

Wency Chan
B.Sc.

1395157_10151985974117422_864483586_n
Wency completed her bachelors of science at the University of British Columbia in Biochemistry. Currently, she is travelling the world and hopes to be a physician.