Nearly two dozen researchers recognized province-wide
Five researchers from across UBC Okanagan have been named recipients of Michael Smith Health Research BC’s 2023 Scholars competition.
The Scholar program supports researchers in the early stages of their careers who are building leading health research programs. This year’s awards have been given to 23 researchers across the province, with five recipients from UBC Okanagan.
Dr. Kirk Bergstrom, an Assistant Professor in Biology, is being honoured for his research on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). By learning more about gut mucous and how to restore healthy host-bacteria relationships, Dr. Bergstrom hopes to help the thousands of Canadians who live with the gastrointestinal condition.
An Assistant Professor in Medical Physics, Dr. Rebecca Feldman focuses her research on using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exams to evaluate Multiple Sclerosis (MS). While MRI can currently be used to confirm MS lesions, with this award, Dr. Feldman aims to leverage MRI to detect and evaluate changes to the brain and use this information to better treat patients with MS.
In the School of Nursing, Assistant Professor Dr. Elizabeth Keys is developing a program to help diverse Canadian families with new babies improve the whole family’s sleep in the first year. Recognizing that severe and persistent sleep difficulties can cause numerous problems for families, but that parents often receive rigid or conflicting advice, Dr. Keys’ program will create a personalized approach with groups of program options to help prevent or lessen sleep problems and support family relationships and infant mental health.
Dr. Jessica Lougheed, Assistant Professor in Psychology, is being recognized for her work on mental health for adolescents and their parents. In addition to uniquely focusing on both generations, Dr. Lougheed’s research program aims to identify the types of emotion dynamics within the stress associated with both parents’ and adolescents’ anxiety. She hopes to eventually refine community-based interventions for parents of anxious adolescents.
An Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing, Dr. Laura Struik’s work aims to innovate health promotion efforts that respond to youth tobacco use. Amidst the popularity of e-cigarettes and immense changes like new social media platforms and smartphone apps, Dr. Struik is using youth-driven evidence to develop contemporary, youth-friendly resources for tobacco on their preferred platforms.
Each Scholar receives $90,000 annually for five years in support of their trailblazing research to improve health outcomes for British Columbians.
“This Health Research BC award will allow me to focus on developing my program of research,” says Dr. Keys. “It will also allow me to more meaningfully engage with parents to develop and evaluate a program that is driven by parent input.”
Michael Smith Health Research BC is British Columbia’s health research agency. Across both the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses, 16 UBC researchers were funded through the 2023 Michael Smith Health Research BC Scholar competition.