Summer Student Research Award

UBC Healthy Aging Summer Student Research Award


The UBC Healthy Aging Summer Student Research Awards are intended to support highly qualified undergraduate students across all disciplines and faculties who are interested in completing a research project that is relevant to the field of healthy aging. The award supports the student’s salary while they complete the research project over the summer (May to August) under the supervision of an Investigator of the Edwin S.H. Leong Centre for Healthy Aging.


The duration of the award is 8 to 16 consecutive weeks of full-time work (35 hours/week) to be completed between May 1 to August 31. The award amount is consistent with the BC minimum wage ($16.75.hour) for a total of $586.25/week. This award is open to undergraduate students from all disciplines, including those enrolled in undergraduate health professional degree programs (e.g. MD, DMD, BScN, etc.).

The 2023/2024 competition is now closed.

Please see the application form and award guidelines below.


Winners of the 2022/2023 Competition

Cecilia Liu, Faculty of Science (Supervisor: Dr. Nancy Sin)

Cecilia’s project will focus on the relationship between sleep and the burden of chronic stress on the body as people age. Previous research shows that both too much and too little sleep may have negative effects on health. One way that this might occur is through greater risk of accumulation of wear and tear on the body due to chronic stress. This burden also is known to increase as individuals age. Cecilia will analyze data from the Daily Experiences and Health Study, an ongoing project at the UPLIFT Health Lab, to explore if the relationship between sleep and hormonal dysregulation due to chronic stress is different in older adults compared to younger adults.


Adam Gierej, Faculty of Science (Supervisor: Dr. Stefan Taubert)

The geroscience concept states that many age-related diseases, like heart disease and cancer, can be delayed, prevented, or ameliorated by preventing molecular, cellular, tissue, and organism aging. It is therefore critical to map cellular and molecular pathways underpinning aging, which are evolutionarily highly conserved. In this project, Adam will be studying the nuclear hormone receptor NHR-49, an important lifespan regulator in the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans. Adam’s objective is to examine two new promising transcription factors and kinases involved in NH4-49 pathway, which have implications in human diseases like cancer, and to delineate the mechanisms for NHR-49 driven longevity.


Kathryn Crosby, Faculty of Health and Social Development, UBC Okanagan (Supervisor: Dr. Jennifer Jakobi)

Outdoor green space is identified as a key element to physical activity that supports healthy aging. The objective of Kathryn’s research project is to combine quantitative GPS data with participant survey analysis to examine how environmental factors (e.g., air quality, temperature, precipitation levels) of the Thompson-Okanagan region impact physical activity of older adults in outdoor green spaces. Identifying how the environment may act as a barrier or motivator to physical activity could potentially inform novel health strategies to promote exercise and wellbeing among the older adult population.


Sabine Bonnor, Faculty of Science (Supervisor: Dr. Jessica Dennis)

As people age, changes in mental health often occur. Sabine’s project will aim to understand how genetic and non-genetic factors influence changes in anxiety and depression as people get older. Sabine will use data from a Canadian cohort of 26,000 genotyped older adults recruited between 2010-2015, who have been followed up with repeatedly over a nine-year period. Results from her project will ultimately help target prevention and treatment strategies to the right person at the right time.