People

The faculty and staff of the Undergraduate Program in Neuroscience are are made up of members of the Departments of Psychology, Cellular & Physiological Sciences, and Zoology.

Steven Barnes

Director | Associate Professor of Teaching | Co-Founder of the Undergraduate Program in Neuroscience

Steven J. Barnes (he/him/his) is well-regarded for his work related to online learning technologies (e.g., the Tapestry Project; see tapestry-tool.com), student mental health and wellbeing, and bipolar disorder (BD). Steven is deputy co-lead of the Collaborative RESearch Team to study psychosocial issues in BD (CREST.BD; see crestbd.ca), a BD research and knowledge exchange network which received the 2018 CIHR Gold Leaf Prize for Patient Engagement, Canada’s most prestigious recognition for patient engagement in research across all health disciplines.

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Department: Psychology


Liisa Galea

Professor | Co-Founder of the Undergraduate Program in Neuroscience

Dr. Liisa Galea is a Professor in the Department of Psychology and a member of the Centre for Brain Health at the University of British Columbia (UBC). She is also Health Advisor to VPRI, Lead of the Women’s Health Research Cluster and a Scientific Advisor for the Women’s Health Research Institute. Her research investigates how sex hormones influence brain health and disease in both females and males. The main goal of her research is to improve brain health for women and men by examining the influence of sex and sex hormones on normal and diseased brain states such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

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Department: Psychology


Vanessa Auld

Professor and Head | Co-Founder of the Undergraduate Program in Neuroscience

My research program investigates the roles that glia play in the development and function of the nervous system. Glia are known to fulfill a number of important functions during nervous system development. Glia help guide axon guidance, separate axons bundles in nerves and finally wrap and insulate their associated axons and nerves. The molecules and mechanisms that mediate these roles of glia are not well understood. Yet knowing how glia function is important given the essential role that glia play in the nervous systems of all animals. Any mutation or disease that disrupts glial cell function or development results in disruption of nervous system function and can lead to paralysis or death of the animal.

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Department: Zoology


Tim O’Connor

Professor | Co-Founder of the Undergraduate Program in Neuroscience

I am interested in the functional analysis of transmembrane and secreted Semaphorins in the developing nervous system. We also examine the mechanisms that underlie directed cellular motility. My lab is currently working on three main projects: (1) Intracellular signaling during neurite outgrowth and sprouting, (2) Identification of small molecules that stimulate neurite outgrowth and regeneration, and (3) Examination of the role of semaphorins during embryonic development.

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Department: Cellular and Physiological Sciences (CPS)

Ryan Bouma

Undergraduate Neuroscience Program Manager and Academic Advisor

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Department: Undergraduate Program in Neuroscience


Nicole Jenni

Graduate Research Assistant, Curriculum Development

Nicole is a PhD candidate in the Behavioural Neurosciece program. She completed both her BSc and MA in Pyschology at UBC. Nicole’s research focuses on characterizing cortico-striatal and amygdalar circuits that control different aspects of appetitvely motivated behaviours, from simple reward learning to more complex forms of decision-making such as decisions related to reward uncertainty, or risk.

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Department: Psychology


Alireza Kamyabi

Graduate Research Assistant, Curriculum Development

I am driven by the challenge of describing and understanding how the nervous system functions. The brain is one of the least understood organs in the body and also one of the most interesting ones to study. It’s often described as the last frontier of science, so it’s exciting to take part in discovering how our nervous system works.

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Department: Graduate Program in Neuroscience


Zoe Lin

Work Learn Program Assistant, Front-End Web Developer and Graphic Designer

I am interested in the design of smart systems, most particularly, in deceptively simple systems that behave intelligently and robustly. I am driven by my passion for understanding and consolidating the often conflicting intersections between the values and frameworks of technology and society, addressing the types of issues this tension can produce, from unintuitive UX to serious ethical concerns.

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Program: Cognitive Systems