Victoria Cirone is an MSc student in Rehabilitation Sciences under the supervision of Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose in the Aging, Mobility, and Cognitive Health Lab. We caught up with Victoria to learn more about her research interests and her experience as a graduate student.

Victoria Cirone

What is your thesis project on?
My project is a pilot study investigating the feasibility and effects of 12-week high-intensity interval training on cognitive function and brain health in perimenopausal females.


What is your educational background?
I received my Honours Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from McMaster University in 2022. In my third and fourth year, I was a student in Dr. Jennifer Heisz’s Neurofit Lab. I got to work with graduate students who mentored and inspired me to pursue research related to exercise, aging, and cognitive function in graduate school.


What skills do you bring from your previous education and what skills are you gaining currently in the graduate program?
In Dr. Jennifer Heisz’s NeuroFit Lab, I helped to conduct a study exploring the role of fitness in executive functioning (e.g. inhibitory control, working memory, task switching) in adults with ADHD. I gained valuable experience in recruitment, data collection, and writing. Also, in the summer of 2021, I worked in the recreation department of a long-term care home assisting in programs for people living with dementia. After these experiences, I was excited to apply my experiences in research and working with older adults in the Aging, Mobility, and Cognitive Health Lab.

Since then I have learned a lot from working with older adults at risk of cognitive and physical decline in the Aging, Mobility, and Cognitive Health Lab. In my interactions with participants, it is rewarding to see them show enthusiasm about our lab’s research. Currently, I am doing some science communications work on social media to share stories about our research and lab members.


What is a typical day like for you as a graduate student?
A typical day consists of either completing assessments or exercise classes, and my own independent work. The assessments include a wide range of physical and cognitive tests. The exercise classes could be high-intensity interval training or resistance training. In terms of independent work, I am developing my R skills, manuscript writing, and preparing abstracts for upcoming conferences.


What do you like to do outside of research?
Outside of the lab, you can find me running or reading. I am currently training for the BMO Vancouver Marathon. Vancouver is a great city to be a runner!

Victoria working in the lab.

What are your future career goals?

After my MSc, I hope to have a career in science communications. I want to apply my research knowledge and effectively communicate research findings to the public. I enjoy modifying the tone of my writing based on the target audience.


What advice do you have for students interested in graduate school?
Be kind to yourself, and give yourself grace. In an MSc, you are learning so much and trying new things in a short period of time. In tough moments take a deep breath, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and lean on the support system around you.


Anything else you would like to share?
If you would like to learn more about the Aging, Mobility, and Cognitive Health Lab, feel free to follow us on X/Twitter @UBC_CogMobLab. We share stories about our research, trainees, postdoctoral fellows, staff, and more!