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 Health. She is the Research Director of the Vancouver General Hospital Falls Prevention Clinic (www.fallsclinic.ca) and Director of the Aging, Mobility, and Cognitive Health Laboratory (https://cogmob.rehab.med.ubc.ca). Dr. Liu-Ambrose is an associate member of the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health.

Dr. Liu-Ambrose has a leadership role in two major Canadian Institutes of Health Research initiatives in aging – the Canadian Longitudinal Study of Aging (CLSA) and the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA). Recognition of Dr. Liu-Ambrose’s research excellence include her national research chair award (Canada Research Chair), 2 national salary awards (Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada), 1 provincial salary award (Michael Smith Foundation of Canada), and 2 institution research excellent awards (Faculty of Medicine Distinguished Achievement in Clinical Research and Peter Wall Scholar Award). She also received the Royal Society of Canada’s Alice Wilson Award as a postdoctoral fellow.

Dr. Liu-Ambrose is known internationally for her work in randomized controlled trials of exercise with cognitive and mobility outcomes in older adults. Her research findings have been implemented in health authorities, translated into a provincial-wide program, and influenced international practice guidelines to promote healthy aging.

 


Postdoctoral Fellows

Cindy Barha
PhD

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

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Cindy Barha is a postdoctoral research fellow supervised by Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose. 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. She completed a CIHR-funded postdoctoral fellowship in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University and the a joint fellowship from MSFHR and the Pacific Alzheimer Research Foundation (PARF) at the University of British Columbia. She recently received a 3-year joint fellowship from Brain Canada and Alzheimer Association of USA.

 

Nárlon Cássio Boa Sorte Silva
PhD

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

Nárlon Cássio Boa Sorte Silva is a postdoctoral research fellow in Dr. Liu-Ambrose’s lab. He received a PhD degree in Kinesiology from Western University in London, Ontario. Originally from Brazil, Narlon received a BSc degree in Physical Education from Nove de Julho University in São Paulo. The overarching goal of Narlon’s research is to investigate the impact of physical exercise on health outcomes in older adults at risk of dementia. In Dr. Liu-Ambrose’s lab, he is investigating whether exercise can prevent or slow down pathological processes affecting the white matter of the brain, in older adults with vascular cognitive impairment. He has established international collaboration in dementia research through the Vascular Cognitive Disorders Professional Interest Area (VPIA) within the Alzheimer’s Association International Society to Advance Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment (ISTAART). His postdoctoral fellowship in Dr. Liu-Ambrose’s lab is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and a joint grant by the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR)/Pacific Alzheimer Research Foundation (PARF). Narlon is passionate about research, exercise, poetry, music, and Brazilian food.

Contact: narlon.silva@ubc.ca

Elizabeth Dao
PhD

Previously, Liz completed her BA (Hons) in Psychology at the University of British Columbia.  In her undergraduate training, she looked at the role of mind wandering in visual attention using event related potentials (ERPs) with Dr. Todd Handy. After completing her undergraduate degree, Liz worked as a coordinator on several research studies investigating the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation in promoting neuroplasticity and motor recovery after stroke with Dr. Lara Boyd. Currently, Liz is a PhD candidate under the supervision of Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose. Her PhD work focuses on the pathophysiology of small vessel ischemic disease and how it may affect cognitive and physical function in older adults. Specifically, Liz utilizes conventional and novel neuroimaging methods to assess the role of demyelination, white matter hyperintensities, and cerebral amyloid deposition in cognitive and physical impairments. In addition, her PhD work investigates the role of lifestyle interventions, such as aerobic exercise, in modifying small vessel ischemic pathology to improve clinical outcomes for older adults with mild cognitive impairment.

Contact: lizdao@hiphealth.ca

Lisanne ten Brinke
PhD

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

Lisanne ten Brinke is a postdoctoral fellow supervised by Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose. During her PhD Lisanne focused on the effects of computerized cognitive training and exercise on cognitive function in healthy older adults and those at risk for neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s Disease. In addition to cognitive performance, she focused on neuroimaging outcomes such as resting-state functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging collected at multiple timepoints. Lisanne is originally from The Netherlands and loves all the outdoor opportunities British Columbia has to offer, such as (mountain) biking, beach volleyball, surfing, and snowboarding.

Contact: lisanne.tenbrinke@ubc.ca

 

Ryan Falck
PhD

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

Ryan Stanley Falck is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Physical Therapy. His research investigates how lifestyle can promote healthy cognitive aging in people at risk for cognitive decline. Major research foci include examining how physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep quality share an interactive relationship with cognitive health.
Contact: ryan.falck@hiphealth.ca

 

Guilherme Moraes Balbim
PhD

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

Guilherme (Gui) got his PhD in Kinesiology and Nutrition from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Gui is from Brazil, where he received his BS and MSc in Physical Education from the State University of Maringá. During his PhD, his research interests revolved around increasing older Latinos‘ physical activity levels with dance interventions and examining its impact on the brain and cognitive health. In Dr. Liu-Ambroses lab, in collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency, Gui investigates the efficacy of exercise training in mitigating the effects of experimental bed rest on older adults’ cognitive function and brain health. The research also explores the underlying mechanisms by which both bed rest and exercise training impact cognitive function and its potential moderators. His postdoctoral fellowship is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). In his free time, Gui loves running, cooking, being outdoors, and exploring the city and nature.

 

Rachel Crockett
PhD

Rachel Crockett completed her PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences 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 cognitive and motor neuroscience and the effect of exercise on brain.

Contact: rachel.crockett@hiphealth.ca

 


PhD Trainees

Rebeca Hernández Gamboa
M.Sc.

Rebeca is a licensed psychologist and current doctoral student under the supervision of Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose. She received her MSc on Human Movement Sciences at the University of Costa Rica, specializing on lifestyle factors that influence cognitive ageing. Her research has been mainly focused on the effect of resistance training on cognitive function, and the relationship between changes on physical and cognitive outcomes during ageing. Rebeca’s doctoral studies will explore sex differences in exercise efficacy in improving cognitive function in older adults with mild cognitive impairment.

Contact: rebecahg@student.ubc.ca

 

Matthew Noseworthy
B.Sc.

Matthew is a PhD student in the Neuroscience program under the supervision of Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose. Previously, he completed a BSc in Biochemistry (Honours and Co-op) and ran with the varsity cross-country running and track team at the University of Victoria. During his Honours and Co-op terms, Matt performed research in Dr. Brian Christie’s molecular neurobiology lab, Dr. Brad Nelson’s cancer immunotherapy lab, Dr. Katherine Elvira’s microfluidics lab, and Drs. Sandra Hundza and Marc Klimstra’s motion and mobility research lab. Broadly, Matt is interested in lifestyle and integrative approaches to cognitive and physical health and performance. His MSc project will assess the effect of exercise in a natural, outdoor environment versus a built, indoor environment on cognitive health in community-dwelling, older adults. Outside of the lab, Matt will be training and competing with UBC’s cross-country running team.

Contact: mattnose@alumni.ubc.ca


MSc Trainees

Ryan Stein
B.Sc.

Ryan Stein is a MSc Student in the Rehabilitation Sciences program and is under the supervision of Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose. He completed his BSc in Kinesiology at the University of Victoria under the supervision of Dr. Brian Christie in the UVic Concussion Lab.

Contact: rstein03@student.ubc.ca

Jammy Zou
B.Sc.

Jammy is a MSc student in the Rehabilitation Sciences program under the supervision of Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose. He previously completed a BSc in Kinesiology at McGill University and participated in Exercise Psychology research investigating the effects of peer-models on exercise self-efficacy. One of his favourite courses during his undergraduate degree was musculoskeletal and visceral anatomy because it gave him the opportunity to appreciate the complexity of the human body. Outside of the lab, he enjoys any type outdoor activity especially when the activity involves being surrounded by nature. Although he prefers the snow over rain, he is happy to have left the cold winters in Montreal.

Contact: jmzou@student.ubc.ca


Research Coordinators

Alexis Bullock
B.Sc., M.Sc.

Alexis completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and Masters of Science in Kinesiology at McMaster University. In her spare time, Alexis enjoys mountain biking, skiing, hiking, and spending time in the great outdoors.

Sofia Grant
B.Sc.

Sofia completed her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology at the University of Calgary with a major in Exercise and Health Physiology. In her spare time, Sofia enjoys reading, listening to music, spin classes, and spending time with her family and friends.

 


Research Assistants

Patrick Chan
B.Sc.

Patrick completed his Bachelor of Science in Integrated Sciences at the University of British Columbia. He has an 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.

Daria Tai
B.Sc.

Daria completed her Bachelor of Science in Behavioural Neuroscience at the University of British Columbia. She is currently the Clinic Coordinator for the Falls Prevention Clinic. She enjoys baking, hiking and swimming in her spare time; she is also a swimming instructor and lifeguard.

Mij Santos
B.Sc.

Mij completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of British Columbia. She is the Falls Prevention Clinic Admin Assistant. She supports the Falls Clinic Coordinator in her day-to-day work and assists with other research activities. She hopes to pursue a career in healthcare in the future. In her free time, Mij likes watching movies, going to concerts, and visiting new places.

Jasmine Sindhar
B.Kin.

Jasmine completed her Bachelor degree in Kinesiology at the University of British Columbia. She is currently working as a research assistant within the Factorial exercise studies and assisting in other exercise studies. After tearing her ACL and having a positive experience with physical therapy throughout her recovery, Jasmine became inspired to pursue physical therapy to provide the same if not better level of care for others. In her spare time, Jasmine enjoys hiking, weightlifting, and baking.

Sarah Heath
B.Kin.

Sarah completed her Bachelor of Kinesiology specializing in Exercise Science with a minor in Psychology at the University of the Fraser Valley. Her dance background and experience with scoliosis inspired her passion for sports injury and physiotherapy. Sarah’s goal is to help encourage others to maintain their physical, emotional and cognitive well-being. After traveling to Fiji in 2019, this sparked her desire to make sports programming, physiotherapy and nutrition education more accessible, especially in developing countries. Her passions include dance, snowboarding, yoga and traveling.

Gwen Tam
B.A.

Gwen completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of British Columbia. Her goal is to continue to advocate for mental health and persons with disabilities awareness. Gwen hopes to someday pursue a career in mental health care and/or social and support work for persons with disabilities. During her spare time, Gwen likes to go hiking, take long scenic drives, dine out with friends, and generally be part of nature wildlife viewing.

Brandon Gatchalian
B.Kin.

Brandon completed his undergraduate degree at the University of British Columbia in Kinesiology. He is an exercise instructor for the RVCI and Factorial studies. Outside of the lab, he enjoys traveling and listening to music.

George Gao
B.Kin.

George completed his Bachelor of Kinesiology degree at the University of British Columbia, and hopes to pursue a career in the fields of physical or occupational therapy. In the lab, he is an exercise instructor for the RVCI and Factorial studies. He also works as a strength and conditioning coach at the UBC Varsity Gym. Outside of work and research, he enjoys weightlifting, biking, long-distance running, and basketball.

Undergraduates

Katrina Loutet

Kat is an undergraduate student at the University of British Columbia completing her degree in Behavioural Neuroscience. She is also doing a minor in Spanish, and hopes to study abroad in Spain. Kat is a provincial team athlete and coach in the sport of Canoe / Kayak. In her free time she enjoys hiking, weightlifting, and baking.

Janine Horsley
B.A.

Janine completed her Bachelors degree in South Africa and is now in the 4th year of her Kinesiology degree at the University of British Columbia. She works as a personal trainer and enjoys all things outdoors in her free time. Janine works in the lab as a lead exercise instructor for our research interventions.

Kiran Bangar

Kiran is currently completing her Bachelor of Science in Integrated Sciences at the University of British Columbia. She previously volunteered in the lab and is now working as a student assistant for research exercise interventions. In her spare time, she enjoys weightlifting, watching sunsets and spending time with her family and friends.

Daniel Do

Daniel is an undergraduate student in University of British Columbia and is majoring in Biochemistry. In his spare time, he likes listening to music, reading novels, and watch TV shows.

Vicky Gu

Vicky is currently an undergraduate student at the University of British Columbia pursuing a BSc degree in Cognitive Systems, brain and cognition stream. She will be a MSc Student in the Neuroscience program in September under the supervision of Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose. Her undergraduate research focuses on brain imaging techniques (e.g., rs-fMRI) and the resultant brain functional connectome. She is also interested in investigating brain aging and aging-related neurodegenerative disorders (e.g., AD, MCI) through the brain imaging approach. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and baking. She loves the summer in Vancouver.

Alumni

Masters Students

Madison Kaisers, MSc
Kim Bennett, MSc
Tracy Dignum, PT, M.Ed
Walid Al Keridy, MD
Elizabeth Dao, B.A.
Lauren Marcotte, B.Sc.
Liang Hsu, B.Sc.
Lindsay Nagamatsu, B.A.

PhD Students

Rachel Crockett, PhD
Ryan Falck, PhD
Lisanne ten Brinke, PhD
Elizabeth Dao, PhD
Liang Hsu, PhD
Lindsay Nagamatsu, PhD
Niousha Bolandzadeh, PhD
Jennifer Davis, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellows

Deborah Jehu, PhD
Glenn J. Landry, PhD
Jennifer Davis, PhD
Olav Kringolson, PhD
Anna Rita Egbert, PhD
John R. Best, PhD
Hyuma Makizako, PhD

Research Associates

John Best, PhD
Jennifer C Davis, PhD