Postdoctoral Fellowship

UBC Healthy Aging Postdoctoral Fellowship

This award is intended to provide financial support to exceptional postdoctoral researchers to conduct research relevant to healthy aging at UBC. The goal is to attract, develop and train promising researchers, early in their careers, to support the advancement of world-class aging research in British Columbia (BC). Fellows are expected to conduct research that is directly relevant to at least one of the four focus areas of the Edwin S.H. Leong Centre for Healthy Aging and that will contribute to the vision of the Program to harness the science of healthy aging in order to help people in BC, across Canada, and around the world stay healthy, happy and active longer into old age. Applicants must be supervised by a faculty member of the Edwin S.H. Leong Centre for Healthy Aging. 

Please see the application guidelines and the application cover sheet below.

This competition is now closed. The next competition is anticipated to launch in the fall of 2024.

Winners of the 2022/2023 Competition

Samantha Schaffner, Faculty of Medicine (Supervisor: Dr. Silke Appel-Cresswell)

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is an age-associated neurodegenerative disorder affecting the dopamine system. One of the major subtypes of PD, termed “body-first,” is hypothesized to begin in the gut and may be related to shifts in gut microbiota composition. Caffeine consumption is associated with reduced risk for PD and impacts both the brain and the gut microbiome in healthy adults; however, the effects of long-term caffeine consumption on the gut microbiome in PD patients are not fully understood. In this study, Samantha will investigate the effects of moderate long-term caffeine intake on the fecal microbiome of PD patients and healthy adults over a 5-year period in order to determine whether caffeine consumption can counteract gut microbiome disturbances in PD. The effects of caffeine intake on PD symptom severity and disease progression will also be assessed. This will shed light on whether the effects of caffeine on gut microbiota are differ in PD patients compared with healthy adults, and will enhance our understanding of the effectiveness of caffeine as an intervention in PD.

Elham Esfandiari, Faculty of Medicine (Supervisor: Dr. Maureen Ashe)

Social isolation can have negative health impacts, including increased anxiety and depression, particularly among older adults who face mobility challenges or live in less supportive physical environments. To address these issues, social prescribing is an integrated health and social model of care that aims to connect individuals with community resources such as social groups, arts, and physical activities. However, there is a lack of information on how social prescribing is implemented in practice, and local context is not well considered. The objective of Elham’s project is to conduct semi-structured interviews with social providers and individuals who have accessed social prescribing in BC to gain insight into its implementation. This information will be used to develop an online program to assist social prescribers in referring individuals to appropriate programs and to guide future research and practice in social prescribing in other parts of Canada.