Two graduate students at UBC’s Okanagan campus have received $6,000 each from the Canada Graduate Scholarship – Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement (CGS-MSFSS). The national award supports high-calibre Canadian graduate students pursuing exceptional research experiences at research institutions outside of Canada.
Tabitha Steager, pursuing a PhD in Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies, and Chris Willie, a PhD student in the department of Human Kinetics, will use the funds to support travel, living and other expenses during their individual research study periods abroad.
The CGS-MSFSS awards are provided by three granting agencies: the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Steager will be pursuing doctoral training at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, where she will work with researchers to explore how people perceive the relationship between climate change, food supply and food habits.
“The opportunity to exchange ideas with Sussex researchers and bring those experiences back to UBC is extraordinary and I’m very appreciative to have the support of SSHRC and UBC that makes it possible,” says Steager.
Willie will be traveling to Perth, Australia, to carry out an interventional study with a group of more than 100 healthy elderly people with and without dementia.
“The overall aim of this project is to examine the specific effects of a three-month exercise program on the regulation of brain blood flow in a healthy, older adult population with and without dementia,” says Willie, whose research interests focus on understanding the physiological mechanisms responsible for the regulation of brain blood flow, and how these mechanisms are altered with exercise, aging and disease.
Willie notes the research collaboration brings together two of the world’s most productive teams working on the clinical implications of vascular responses to exercise in humans — led by Human Kinetics Professor Philip Ainslie at UBC’s Okanagan campus and Professor Danny Green at the University of Western Australia.
“This is the first study to assess such mechanistic changes, and the first to evaluate potential training programs in the context of whole brain health — as such, it represents a forward-thinking approach to basic human science that is readily applicable to the clinical setting worldwide,” Willie says.
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