Donate Funds

The campaign for the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health is a collaborative effort and priority fundraising initiative for the UBC Faculty of Medicine and the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation.

Erin Bartlett

Director, Development, UBC Faculty of Medicine

   erin.bartlett@ubc.ca

   (604) 827-4997

John Andru

Associate Director, VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation

   john.andru@vghfoundation.ca

   (604) 875-5193 or (778) 834-1082

Current Opportunities

Participate in ongoing research studies and clinical trials led by Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health scientists.

The purpose of our study is to explore the use of two separate non-medication treatments, light therapy and ion therapy, as maintenance treatment in major depression. We are interested in exploring factors affecting the two treatments as maintenance treatments (to help prevent the return of symptoms) instead of medications in people with Major Depressive Disorders who wish to stop their antidepressant treatment.

Participation would include daily use of a bright light device or ion device provided by our clinic for 6 months, as well as regularly completing self-rated scales and meeting the study doctor for assessments. However, half of the treatment devices have been modified so that they are inactive (placebo). You have a 1 in 2 chance (like flipping a coin) of receiving an active or an inactive device.

You may be eligible for our study if you:

  • are 19-65 years old
  • meet criteria for major depressive disorder (not bipolar disorder) and have had two or more episodes of depression
  • are currently taking an antidepressant for depression, and have taken it continuously for at least 3 months and no more than 12 months, with no dose change in the past month
  • are interested in or are considering stopping your antidepressant
  • are feeling well (no longer depressed) and in remission, according to a clinical interview
  • do not have a seasonal pattern of depressive episodes (seasonal affective disorder)
  • have no other major medical conditions or psychiatric conditions (except for major depressive disorder); do not have a problem with substance use currently or within the past 6 months.

For more information about this study and how to enroll, please contact: Lam.MDDResearch2@ubc.ca

Location: UBC Hospital

Compensation: an honorarium for each in-person visit

This study is being conducted by Dr. Raymond Lam at the Mood Disorders Centre, UBC Hospital.

This study is being conducted by Dr. Vesna Sossi and her team at UBC and is aimed at investigating brains of people with Parkinson’s at varying levels of exercise and comparing them against each other over a six-month period.

What is involved:

You will be asked to complete three baseline study visits and two follow up study visits after six months. Each set of visits includes a PET/MRI scan to learn more about brain behaviour and a VO2 max bike test of aerobic fitness. You will be reimbursed for travel or provided with transportation.

Who can participate:

  • Have a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease
  • Ages 40-80
  • Currently participating in less than 120 minutes of high-intensity exercise per week.
  • Able to maintain and report activity levels for 24 weeks
  • Able to tolerate laying down on their back for about 90 minutes for PETMR scanning and not have claustrophobia or a fear of needles

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Depression treated with antidepressants
  • Serious head injury with loss of consciousness for ≥ 5 minutes

For more information contact:

Nurse Coordinator: Jess McKenzie at 604-822-7764 or by email at jess.mckenzie@ubc.ca

We are conducting an observational study on vision and eye movements in patients with Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Dysfunctions in vision and cognition are often overlooked in patients with PD. Yet, these are major factors contributing to patients’ well-being and quality of life. This study tests visual abilities and eye movements in these patients and aims at linking dysfunctions to cognitive abilities and disease severity.

We are looking for both patients living with PD, as well as healthy volunteers to act as our control participants.

You may be eligible if:

  1. You are age 50-85 years old with a diagnosis of PD (diagnosed within this time) and you are currently taking medication for your PD (e.g., Levodopa (L-DOPA) or other).
    OR
  2. You are age 50-85 years old and would like to volunteer as a healthy control.

AND

  • You have normal or corrected-to-normal visual acuity (at least 20/40 in both eyes)
  • You do not have any other neurological or neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., Alzheimer’s, dementia), or history of brain injury (stroke, traumatic brain injury, brain surgery)
  • You have no history of eye disease (e.g., lazy eye, glaucoma, macular degeneration or cataracts)
  • You are fluent in English

What is involved: You will be asked to come for one study visit which takes approximately 2.5 hours. You will be asked to sit in front of a computer monitor and look at, or away from, dots on the screen and we will record your eye movements using a non-invasive camera. We will also ask some demographic and medical questionnaires and will complete a brief series of cognitive and motor tasks.

Location: This study takes place at our Oculomotor Laboratory in UBC hospital (2nd floor of the Koerner Pavilion, room S257), 2211Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T1Z3.

To participate or inquire: please contact Study Coordinator, Leah Kuzmuk at lkuzmuk@student.ubc.ca

Principal investigator: Dr. Miriam Spering, Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences

The Mood Disorders Centre at UBC is recruiting people who:

  • Are between 19-65 years of age
  • Have a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder
  • Are clinically stable on current medication
  • Are not currently in a manic or depressed episode

Study visits will be at the UBC, Vancouver campus.

Contact us at bipolar.research@ubc.ca with Subject line “ ELICE-BD study”

This study is looking at changes in cognitive function in bipolar patients who are treated with 1.5mg/day of cariprazine vs Placebo add on therapy over a 6 week period.

Who can participate:

  • Males and females between 19-65 years of age
  • Have a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder
  • Are clinically stable on current medication
  • Not currently in a manic or depressed episode
  • No changes will be made to your current medications.

What is involved: 

The study involves 4 clinical visits and four telephone calls. Participants will complete neurocognitive (e.g. memory, reasoning and attention) testing and give blood samples. Participants with cognitive impairment will be randomly allocated, to either receive cariprazine or placebo added to their current medications for six weeks.

For more information contact:

Study Coordinator Email: bipolar.research@ubc.ca

This study is looking at changes in cognitive function in bipolar patients who are treated with 20 to 80mg/day of Lurasidone vs Placebo adjunctive therapy over a 6-week period.

Who can participate:

  • Males and females between 19-65 years of age
  • Have a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder
  • Are clinically stable on current medication
  • Not currently in a manic or depressed episode
  • No changes will be made to your current medications.

What is involved: 

The study involves 4 clinical visits and four telephone calls. Participants will complete neurocognitive (e.g. memory, reasoning and attention) testing and give blood samples. Only participants with cognitive impairment will be randomised into the study to receive either Lurasidone or placebo added to their current medications for six weeks.

For more information contact:

Study Coordinator Email: bipolar.research@ubc.ca

The purpose of this study is to determine if there are differences between individuals with bipolar disorder (BD) and healthy individuals in the position and density of nerve cells in the brain, and if they are related to inflammation. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) will be used to obtain this information.

What’s Involved:

Participants, who are eligible after the screening visit, will be scheduled to come in for a second visit for a PET/MRI scan. In addition, there will be two blood tests (one at each visit) and a cognitive test.

Eligibility: 

Age: 19 Years – 50 Years Old

Patient participants must have had a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder Type 1 for more than 5 years.

Control participants must have no history of any psychiatric diagnosis.

For more information contact:

Study Coordinator bipolar.research@ubc.ca

Do you use stimulants and cannabis? You may be eligible to participate in a cannabis research study!

The Behavioral Reward Affect + Impulsivity Neuroscience (B.R.A.I.N.) Lab at the University of British Columbia is conducting an exciting study investigating the short-term effects of cannabis consumption!

Study title: Cannabis and Polysubstance Use: Response Inhibition and Stress Exposure

Principal Investigator: Dr. Christian Schütz, MD, PhD

What is this study about? 

The goal of the study is to assess the effects of cannabis oil in individuals who use both stimulants and cannabis recreationally.

What does my participation involve? 

The study involves taking cannabis oil during three sessions and completing MRI scans, computer tasks, questionnaires, and biological samples. If you participate, you will attend 5 in-person sessions and complete a daily survey at home for approximately 24 hours. You will receive a paid honorarium and an image of your brain for your participation.

How do I get involved? 

If you are interested, please contact the B.R.A.I.N. Lab by email at brainlab.cannabis@ubc.ca, or phone us at 604-827-4287.

UBC BRAIN Lab hopes to better understand impulsivity differences between people with Bipolar Disorder (BD) and healthy individuals. Specifically, this study will look at:

  1. The link between regions of brain activity and impulsivity
  2. A non-invasive intervention called repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to help reduce the risk of impulsive behaviors.

This study will be the baseline for further exploration of impulsivity and inhibition as part of decision-making processes in BD individuals.

In over 4 visits (11.5-16 hours in total), you will:

  1. Have your brain activity measured using fMRI and EEG
  2. Answer questions about your background, health, mood, and behaviour
  3. Play decision making computer games
  4. Receive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)

Participant Eligibility:

  1. You are between 19 and 45 years old
  2. Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, in the euthymic state
  3. No other major physical or mental illness
  4. Proficient in English

Location: The research will be conducted at 3 UBC sites: the David Strangway research office, the Centre for Brain Health (MRI Centre – Fipke Neuroimaging Suite), and Detwiller Pavilion of UBC Hospital.

Compensation: You will receive monetary compensation up to $95-100.

To participate: contact the BRAIN Lab via email brainlab.hri@ubc.ca or phone: 604-827-4287.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Christian Schütz, MD, PhD, Department of Psychiatry

Call for research participants! Help shape the future of ethical social media use in dementia prevention research.

We are looking for participants who:

  • Have a lived experience of dementia;
  • Are a researcher or expert working in dementia research; or
  • Are simply interested in dementia research and social media

We invite you to take part in a 30-45min virtual interview conducted by Dr. Julie Robillard and her research team at the University of British Columbia.

To participate or inquire, please email Viorica Hrincu at viorica.hrincu@ubc.ca

The purpose of this study is gather qualitative data from clinicians and care providers to assess the feasibility and efficacy of implementing a novel cognitive remediation program for treating treating cognitive deficits related to depression through the usage of immersive virtual reality.

Donate Your Samples

The Centre is home to a biobank, which collects human biospecimens and associated data, and provides a unique opportunity to get involved in research.

Examining a sample in the biobank at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health

Seti Boroomand

Research and Facility Manager, Brain Tissue and DNA Bank

   seti.boroomand@brain.ubc.ca

   (604) 822-0766

FAQ: Getting involved with research at the Centre

Below are some frequently asked questions about donating time, funds and samples to the Centre.

At this time, we do not accept whole-brain donations. Please contact the Biobank about other ways to get involved in research by donating samples.

The UBC Body Program does accept donations, with the majority used for teaching purposes although some are used specifically for medical and research training. The program can be reached at body.program@ubc.ca or (604) 822-2578.

No, we appreciate any and all donations. You can donate online by clicking here.
If you are looking to make a larger donation, please connect with Development or VGH + UBC Hospital Foundation. Their contact information can be found under the “Donate Funds” section of this page.

No, not always. Please reach out to the contact person for each study to receive specific information about what is required to participate.