There is some exciting research happening at the UBC Department of Physical Therapy. The UBC Physical Therapy & Research Clinic will have the opportunity to leverage that knowledge and experience to create a positive learning and clinical experience for both the patients and students.

To learn more about our research faculty, follow the links to their personal bios.

Lara Boyd, PT, PhD        
Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Neurobiology of Motor Learning
Director, Brain Behaviour Laboratory
CIHR Delegate & Health Research Advisor to the VP Research

Lab website

Canada Research Chair and Michael Smith Scholar, Dr. Lara Boyd, is a physical therapist and neuroscientist who is leading the effort to understand what therapies positively alter patterns of brain activity after stroke.

Her group uses a combination of functional magnetic resonance imaging and transcranial magnetic stimulation to map changes in brain activity. Her studies are among the first to comprehensively examine the patterns of brain activation as they relate to motor learning and parameters of practice after stroke. Please visit the Brain Behavior Laboratory website for more information.

Janice Eng, BSR (PT/OT), MSc, PhD
Associate Dean, Funding, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Lab website

Dr. Eng spends 90% of her time on research activities and directs a large interdisciplinary research team in neurological rehabilitation with several graduate students, post-docs and staff at the Rehab Research Lab, GF Strong Rehab Centre. Her research includes mechanistic studies (movement, muscle, bone, brain imaging, cardiovascular fitness) in people with stroke, spinal cord injury and chronic disease and extends to randomized controlled trials to improve mobility, physical activity, upper and lower limb motor recovery, chronic disease self-management and quality of life. Dr. Eng will supervise MSc, PhD and post-doc students in affiliation with the Graduate Programs of Rehabilitation Sciences, Neuroscience or engineering. Her previous trainees have had backgrounds in physical therapy, occupational therapy, engineering, nursing, medicine, kinesiology, psychology or science.

Linda Li, BSc, PT, MSc, PhD        
Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Patient-Oriented Knowledge Translation
Harold Robinson/Arthritis Society Chair in Arthritic Diseases
Director, Arthritis, Joint Health & Knowledge Translation Research Program

Lab website

As a health services researcher, Linda’s research focuses in two areas: 1) understanding the help-seeking experiences of people with early inflammatory arthritis, and 2) evaluating models of arthritis care. Her methodological skills include clinical epidemiology and mixed-methods design. She also collaborates with digital media experts to develop and evaluate online tools, such as decision aids for promoting shared-decision making and interactive programs for counseling people to be physically active. Her research is currently funded by CIHR, The Arthritis Socienty and the Grand NCE (Graphics, Animation & New Media, a Network of Centres of Excellence).

Teresa Liu-Ambrose, PT, PhD    
Canada Research Chair (Tier II), Physical Activity, Mobility, and Cognitive Neuroscience
Director, Aging, Mobility, and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory

Lab website

Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose, PhD, PT, Associate Professor, is a Canada Research Chair and a physical therapist at the University of British Columbia, Department of Physical Therapy. She directs the Aging, Mobility and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory as well as the Vancouver General Hospital’s Falls Prevention Clinic.

Her research program focuses on defining the role of exercise to promote healthy aging, with a particular focus on cognitive and neural plasticity, as well as mobility. Various method are utilized, including randomized controlled trials, functional neuroimaging, and actigraphy.

Pat Camp, PT, PhD
Principal Investigator, UBC Centre for Heart Lung Innovation
Director, Pulmonary Rehabilitation Research Laboratory

Lab website

The primary aim of the UBC Pulmonary Rehabilitation Research Laboratory is to develop novel, patient-oriented strategies to improve physical activity and health outcomes of people with chronic lung disease, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Dr. Camp’s research has two main themes:

Pulmonary rehabilitation for hospitalized patients with an acute exacerbation of COPD (AECOPD); and
Pulmonary tele-rehabilitation in Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities (telehealth strategies to promote lung health, exercise and chronic disease management).

Kristin Campbell, P.T., MSc, Ph.D           
Director, Clinical Exercise Physiology Laboratory

Lab website

Dr. Campbell is an investigator in the BC Cancer Agency Cancer Survivorship Research Centre, Interdisciplinary Oncology Program (College of Interdisciplinary Studies at UBC), Providence Health Care and Vancouver Coastal Health.  Her areas of methodological expertise include randomized controlled trials, exercise testing, exercise prescription for individuals with cancer and other chronic diseases, and biomarkers.

Jordan Guenette, B.H.K., M.Sc., Ph.D.   
Director of the Cardiopulmonary Exercise Physiology Laboratory

Lab website

The focus of the Cardiopulmonary Exercise Physiology Laboratory is to better understand the physiological factors that limit exercise tolerance across the spectrum of health and chronic lung disease.  The lab uses a number of novel techniques to simultaneously assess the respiratory, cardiovascular, muscular and neuro-physiological responses to dynamic exercise.  This integrative approach allows us to better understand how these various physiological systems interact to cause exercise intolerance in humans.  We then design and test novel rehabilitation interventions to reduce symptoms and improve exercise performance and quality of life for patients suffering from chronic lung diseases.

Michael Hunt, BHK, MPT, MSc, PhD       
Director, Motion Analysis and Biofeedback Lab
Associate Head of Research
Head, Graduate Program in Rehabilitation Sciences

Lab website

Dr. Hunt’s research interests focus on identifying changes in movement patterns and biomechanics as a result of injury or disease. The Motion Analysis and Biofeedback Laboratory uses state-of-the-art real-time motion analysis techniques to analyze movement pattern differences between injured and healthy individuals. He then uses this information to develop targeted treatment approaches that aim to optimize function and/or prevent disease progression. His primary group of interest is individuals living with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. He has identified key gait deviations exhibited by those with OA that have the potential to alter the loading patterns at the knee – a known risk factor for disease progression. He has also studied the role of exercise and movement retraining on biomechanical (joint loading) and clinical (pain, function) disease characteristics. Dr. Hunt works closely with experts in rheumatology, physical therapy, orthopaedic surgery, and neuroscience. Dr. Hunt is accepting research trainees at the MSc, PhD and Post-doctoral levels through the Rehabilitation Sciences program.

Alex Scott, PhD
Associate Professor

Dr Scott’s research targets a widespread problem, overuse injuries and chronically painful tendon disorder in workers and athletes. His laboratory is examining the biological and biomechanical responses of tendons to mechanical loading and/or injury. His research has been supported locally by organizations including WorksafeBC and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, nationally through CFI, CIHR, NSERC and the Physiotherapy Foundation of Canada, and internationally through the Canada-Scandinavia Foundation, the Swedish Research Council, the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, and the Physical Medicine Research Foundation. His work has been incorporated into a widely used web-based clinical guideline (UpToDate©).

Naznin Virji-Babul, PT, PhD        
Director, Perception-Action Laboratory

Dr. Virji-Babul is a physical therapist and a neuroscientist. Her Lab (Brain Development: Perception to Action) uses a combination of behavioural and brain imaging tools (i.e. DTI and EEG) to probe the brain and investigate the patterns of brain activation as they relate to perceptual-motor and social-emotional development in children and youth. Dr. Virji-Babul also has a strong research focus on concussion in adolescents.  Her goals are to develop sensitive, multimodal measures of brain injury that can be used for early diagnosis and use these measures to chart the recovery process following concussion.  Dr. Virji-Babul works collaboratively with faculty in Engineering, Physics, Mathematics and Statistics and in the Developmental Neurosciences and Child Health Cluster at the Child and Family Research Institute.

Courtney Pollock, BA, BHSC (PT), MSC, PHD

 Dr. Pollock’s research aims to: 1) comprehensively understand the fundamental mechanisms of motor control of walking balance and balance reactions and, 2) understand how neurological changes associated with aging, disease and injury impact these aspects of motor control and mobility.  The overarching goal of her research is to advance rehabilitation practice by development and evaluation of innovative therapeutic interventions designed with sufficient levels of challenge to optimize the motor control of independent mobility.

Jackie Whittaker, BScPT, PhD   
Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Therapy
Research Scientist of Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, Arthritis Research Centre

Dr. Whittaker’s research focuses on preventing chronic musculoskeletal conditions, with a particular emphasis on knee osteoarthritis resulting from youth traumatic sport-related injuries. Her work aims to improve patient outcomes through: 1) understanding the consequences of youth sport-related knee injuries, 2) optimizing healthcare pathways for youth that suffer a knee injury, 3) developing and evaluating interventions to reduce the risk of osteoarthritis after knee injury and, 4) optimizing function in persons that develop knee osteoarthritis pre-maturely as a result of an injury. A further interest is the application of diagnostic imaging in the management of musculoskeletal conditions. Her research has direct implications for the clinical management of individuals with sport-related knee injuries and has included the identification of common factors that mediate knee injury as well as the onset and progression of post-traumatic osteoarthritis. Central to her work is an integrated knowledge translation approach, involving patients and health professional throughout the research-to-practice continuum.