Pictured: Melanie Bertrand (left) and Julia Boyle (right), both Lab Managers and Sustainability Coordinators for the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health. 

Sustainability leadership at DMCBH

The Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health (DMCBH) was recognized for our participation in UBC’s Seasonal Shutdown. The goal of the Seasonal Shutdown, an initiative of UBC Sustainability, is to take steps to lower the temperature in buildings during the winter break to reduce energy use and emissions on campus.

Julia Boyle, Lab Manager and Sustainability Coordinator at DMCBH, organized the Seasonal Shutdown.

“I see sustainability as something to be incorporated into our everyday actions, rather than a separate special thing, and the Seasonal Shutdown is part of that,” says Boyle in a story on the UBC Sustainability website. “At the same time as reminding everyone about office closures, let’s also ensure that unnecessary equipment is shut down, any water leaks are dealt with, and so on.”

Developed at UBC in 1999, the Sustainability Coordinator program engages staff at buildings across UBC’s campuses and distributed sites, providing them with the support, awareness, skills and tools needed to foster sustainability in their own departments.

In 2009, Melanie Bertrand, Lab Manager and current DMCBH Sustainability Coordinator, worked with Melissa Ashman, then Communications Manager and Sustainability Coordinator for the Brain Research Centre, to submit a proposal to the Xerox Workplace Sustainability Fund. The fund, administered at the time by the Campus Sustainability Office, enabled Ashman and Bertrand to establish a styrofoam recycling and reduction pilot project. Their pilot was a success, and their approach has since been adopted as a waste-management strategy by the University.


DMCBH members received more than $5.2 million in funding for nine brain research projects in the fall CIHR Project Grant competition, amounting to nearly 15 percent of the research funding received UBC researchers. For information on how UBC fared more broadly, visit the UBC Research & Innovation website.

Related: UBC Psychology researchers awarded $3.6M in CIHR funding.

  • Dr. Kalina Christoff was awarded a CIHR Project Grant for her study, Investigating the Dynamics of Thought using Brain Connectivity and Experience Sampling.
  • Dr. Tim Oberlander received a CIHR Project Grant with co-investigator Dr. Gillian Hanley. The project title is A population-level linked data study of the long-term developmental impacts of prenatal antidepressant exposure.
  • Dr. William Honer and Dr. William Panenka were awarded a CIHR Project Grant for their study, Neuropsychiatric complications of co-morbid illness in people living in homelessness or precarious housing.
  • Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose and Dr. Liisa Galea received a CIHR Project Grant for their project, Sex Matters: Understanding Sex Differences in Exercise Efficacy on Brain Health in Mild Cognitive Impairment.
  • Dr. Kiran Soma received CIHR Project Grants for two projects: Neurosteroid regulation of executive function and Effects of added sucrose on hormones, neural circuits, and behaviour.
  • Dr. Paul van Donkelaar was awarded a CIHR Project Grant for his study, Using cerebrovascular biomarkers to characterize traumatic brain injury associated with intimate partner violence.
  • Dr. Robin Hsiung and Dr. Ian Mackenzie were awarded a CIHR Priority Announcement Grant (Neurosciences, Mental Health, & Addiction) for their study, Diagnostic and predictive biomarkers for Frontotemporal Dementia with TDP-43 pathology.
  • Dr. Cheryl Wellington was awarded a CIHR Priority Announcement Grant (Neurosciences, Mental Health, & Addiction) for her project, Using bioengineered human vessels to understand how brain and peripheral apoE affect cerebrovascular functions relevant to Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Simpson was awarded a Fighting Blindness Canada research grant for her project, Using gene therapy to treat congenital blindness.
  • Dr. Shelina Babul received funding from the UBC Collaborative Research Mobility Awards Program for a concussion research project with Dr. Paul van Donkelaar titled Supporting Survivors of Abuse and Brain Injury through Research.
  • Dr. Peter Cripton was elected to the International Research Council on Biomechanics of Injury.
  • Dr. Liisa Galea is President-elect of the Organization for the Study of Sex Differences.
  • Dr. Naznin Virji-Babul appointed Senior Advisor to the Provost on Women and Gender-Diverse Faculty
  • Dr. Piotr Kozlowski appointed Director, UBC MRI Research Centre.
  • Dr. Adele Diamond will receive an Honorary Degree from Swarthmore College in recognition of her leadership and groundbreaking research in the field of developmental cognitive neuroscience.
  • Watch: Immersive learning is changing the way psychology students learn about the brain
    • Learn how Dr. Kiran Soma and the PSYC 270 teaching team partnered with the UBC Emerging Media Lab  to give UBC psychology students a 3D tour of the brain using HoloBrain webVR technology.


Did we miss something? Do you have a story tip? We want to hear from you! Send your research highlights, upcoming publications, trainee successes, and funding and awards news to emily.wight@brain.ubc.ca.