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. EEG, MEG and DTI) to probe the brain and investigate the patterns of brain activation as they relate to perceptual-motor and social-emotional development in children, youth and adults.
Dr. Virji-Babul is also investigating the impact of concussion on the structure and function of the brain in youth ice hockey players using cutting edge brain imaging tools. The goal of this work is to develop imaging “signatures” of concussion and to study the long term impact of concussion in adolescents.
CURRENT STUDENTS AND STAFF:
Kim Watt received her undergraduate degree in Education from the University of Alberta. She has worked with Dr. Virji-Babul on several projects related to facial expression recognition and social cognition in individuals with Down syndrome. She is currently completing graduate work in Psychology, and in her spare time enjoys watching sports, cooking, and gardening.
Nadia Makan received her undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is working with Dr. Virji-Babul to help explore the effects of concussion on adolescent athletes, using magnetoencephalography (MEG) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to look for changes in brain activity and structure, respectively.
When she is not working, Nadia attends classes at UBC, volunteers at Vancouver General Hospital, and plays the cello in a local community orchestra.
Naama Rotem-Kohavi received her undergraduate degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from Bar-Ilan University, Israel. Her master’s thesis in Pharmacology, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, focused on traumatic brain injury and recovery mechanisms. In the last years she’s been working on characterizing gender disparities in relation to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome at the Center for Integrative Brain Research at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute.
She has recently joined Dr. Virji-Babul’s lab as a Ph.D student. In collaboration with the lab of Dr. Oberlander from BC Children’s Hospital, Naama will be studying the effects of prenatal exposure to Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) on infant’s neurodevelopment. Using EEG, DTI, and fcMRI methods she will study brain structural effects of SSRI on exposed infants as well as changes in emotional and facial perception. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family and snowboarding.
Courtney Hilderman received her undergraduate degree in Physical Therapy from the University of British Columbia and has worked clinically in community-based pediatrics at the BC Centre for Ability since 2005. As a Clinical Instructor for the Faculty of Medicine at UBC, she has enjoyed contributing to the learning of upcoming health care professionals and providing mentorship for students and new graduates.
Courtney has recently returned to UBC to pursue graduate studies in Rehabilitation Sciences, and under Dr. Virji-Babul’s supervision is investigating the health and developmental benefits of adapted dance programming as a participation-based therapy for children with developmental disabilities.