Dr. Virji-Babul is a physical therapist and a neuroscientist. Her lab (Perception-Action Lab) 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
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.
Shaun Porter received his undergraduate degree in Human Kinetics from the University of Ottawa. During his undergrad he was involved in Parkinson’s Disease research looking at its impact on gait and posture.
Shaun has recently started his Master’s Degree in the Rehabilitation Sciences program, under the supervision of Dr. Virji-Babul. He will be studying the effect of exercise on the brain after concussion in adults and children using a variety of imaging techniques including EEG and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS).
Najah Alhajri received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Concordia University. During her undergrad she was involved in psychophysics research looking at the effect of stimulus size and eccentricity on the strength of the curveball illusion.
Najah has recently started her master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Sciences program, under the supervision of Dr. Virji-Babul. She will be studying the development of mirror neurons networks in infants using EEG.
Amna Hyder received her undergraduate degree from McMaster University in Integrated Science with a concentration in Physics and Astronomy. Her undergraduate thesis explored the application of spectral graph theory in analysis of carcinogens and protein protein interactions.
Amna has recently started her Master’s degree in the Neuroscience program at UBC under the supervision of Dr. Virji-Babul. She will be studying how the mirror neuron system is involved in interactions between individuals using a method known as hyperscanning, with EEG.
Angela Muller received her PhD in neuropsychology at the University of Zurich. Her doctoral thesis investigated the intrinsically active baseline configuration of the aging brain and how this configuration relates to cognition and behaviour in healthy older adults.
Angela started her Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Virji-Babual Lab in fall 2016 with the aim to explore the functional and structural alterations in the brain following a mild traumatic brain injury. Her main interest lies thereby in a better understanding of how mTBI-caused changes in functional brain dynamics relate to brain structure and cognition
Vrinda Munjal is completing her undergraduate degree in the Integrated Sciences program at the University of British Columbia. She is integrating both Physiology and Psychology as part of her degree. Under the supervision of Dr. Virji-Babul, Vrinda is researching quantifiable risk factors of sports-related concussions and assisting graduate students with data collection using EEG.
Zahra Rajwani is a second year undergraduate student in the Faculty of Science at UBC. She is currently in the Pharmacology Specialization and is interested in the health sciences. Zahra is helping with research on concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury in the Perception-Action Lab under Dr. Virji-Babul’s supervision. Zahra enjoys playing various sports and volunteering.