The Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health is pleased to announce that Dr. Miriam Spering is the new Director of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience!

Dr. Spering is a neuroscientist whose research focuses on how we process visual information and interact with our environment through motor actions. She leads the Oculomotor Laboratory at UBC and works with many populations, including people living with Parkinson’s disease, to learn how the inability to see things properly can change the way we interact with the world.

Dr. Spering has a passion for supporting trainees—she’s in the process of writing a book with tips and tricks on navigating graduate life—and enjoys helping trainees nurture skills that translate to careers outside of academia. She was the 2021 recipient of the Women in Cognitive Science Canada Mentorship Award, which recognizes scientists who go above and beyond to mentor and support female students in cognitive science.

“One of my greatest joys is meeting students and getting to know them, and helping them along their path, both in and out of the lab,” says Dr. Spering. “I’m very excited to be leading the Graduate Program in Neuroscience for the next five years.”

Dr. Spering plans to build on the existing GPN program, with the goal of having students thrive and faculty members feel supported when it comes to mentoring people in their labs.  Equity, diversity and inclusion will be top of mind, such as finding ways to lessen the obstacles international students face when applying to graduate programs.

One of Dr. Spering’s first acts in her new role will be reaching out to all GPN trainees and supervisors to organize small group meetings so she can start getting more familiar with the community.

“I am committed to including faculty and students in collaborative decision-making processes through a governance structure that promotes clarity, active engagement and inclusion,” says Dr. Spering. “My door at the DMCBH will be open to hear ideas, comments and wishes from trainees and faculty members. I look forward to meeting everyone!”

Outside of the lab, Dr. Spering enjoys spending time with her family, playing the viola and reading.  She says work life balance is important, a mentality she hopes to promote for trainees and colleagues alike.

Please join us in giving a warm welcome to Dr. Spering!