Meet the Research Team

Principle Investigator

Jodie Gawryluk, Ph.D., R.Psych.

I graduated with Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology (specializing in neuropsychology) from Dalhousie University in Halifax. During my training, I had the opportunity to gain expertise in magnetic resonance imaging techniques, and study a variety of patient groups.

In 2014, I joined the Psychology Department at University of Victoria, where I am now an Associate Professor. My research aims to combine neuropsychology and neuroimaging to better understand aging and to advance care for patients with neurodegenerative conditions. I also teach graduate courses on neuropsychology and neuropsychological research methods in the neuropsychology stream of the clinical psychology program as well as undergraduate courses in human neuropsychology and advanced biopsychology in the mind and brain stream.

I am lucky to work in beautiful Victoria with incredible colleagues and collaborators and bright, engaged students! Outside of work, I enjoy being active (cycling, hiking, running) and traveling and having fun with my family!


Sepideh Heydari, Ph.D.

I am a Mitacs Postdoctoral Research Fellow and joined the Gawryluk Lab in September 2021. I collaborate closely with PROTXX Ltd., the industry partner, to investigate the utility of their wearable sensor in diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). I investigate the potential of digital biomarkers derived from wearable sensor signals to determine brain lesion locations in patients with MS (PwMS). I am excited to assess the sensor as an easier-to-use, lower cost, and more widely accessible and equitable solution compared with the current gold standard MRI scans. I use a combination of methods including neuropsychological assessments, physiological vibration acceleration (Phybrata) data assessment, advanced MRI analyses, and Diffusion Tensor Imaging. I am interested in improving the diagnosis of MS and the monitoring of its progression trajectories to provide better tailored treatment plans for patients.
My other research interests include cognitive control, decision-making, and pain. I completed my M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Cognition and Brain Science at the University of Victoria. I researched the role of cognitive control in modulating pain during effortful and goal-directed decision-making using behavioural experimentation, computational modeling, and neuroimaging (EEG). After graduation, I worked as a research assistant at Seniors Health within Island Health. I also worked as a research assistant at the School of Child and Youth Care that informed the design and start-up of a trauma-and violence-informed childcare in Greater Victoria community.  Outside of the lab, I enjoy drawing, playing tennis, and watching comedies


Graduate Students

Lisa Ohlhauser, PhD.

Ashleigh Parker, MSc.

Naz Saadat, MSc.

Colleen Lacey, MSc.

Heather Kwan, BSc (Hons).

Tara Cooper

Undergraduate Students

Riley Grewcock

I am a Ph.D. student in the Clinical Psychology, Neuropsychology Stream and joined the Gawryluk lab in 2016. I am currently on my residency at Hamilton Health Sciences. For my master’s thesis, I investigated biomarkers of Parkinson’s disease using neuroimaging. Specifically, I examined diffusion tensor imaging data from the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative to determine whether there are microstructural differences in white matter between those with prodromal Parkinson’s disease and healthy controls. I am also very interested in neuropsychological assessment.  Other research areas of interest include the incorporation of different neuroimaging modalities to assess cognition and exercise interventions to improve cognition. Clinically, I am interested in working with adult populations with impairments in cognition, including those affected by neurodegenerative disorders and acquired brain injuries. While not at school, I enjoy the outdoors with my dog LRRR, playing volleyball, and Netflix binges.



I am a PhD candidate in the Clinical Psychology program specializing in Neuropsychology. I joined the Gawryluk Lab when I began my MSc in September 2017. My doctoral research focuses on earlier detection of Alzheimer’s disease through the identification of brain-based changes using MRI in older women who report subjective cognitive decline (SCD) and in those who do not. I am also interested in the associations between potential sex-related risk factors and gender-related risk factors on brain structure and function in healthy women and women with SCD. I am currently completing my internship at St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Neuropsychology Stream. When not in the lab or working from home, my pastimes include cross-stitching while watching 90 Day Fiance, The Office, Modern Family, or Blue Jays games. I am also kept busy taking care of (and dressing up) my senior Maltese, Max!

I’m a Ph.D. student in the Clinical Psychology (Neuropsychology Stream) program. I completed my BSc (Honours) in Psychology and an MSc in Neuroscience at McGill University, where I investigated cognition within the context of a pre-surgical Parkinson’s population. I am interested in using neuropsychological and neuroimaging measures to predict or understand response and outcome to interventions. My research at the Gawryluk lab involves using neuroimaging tools such as fMRI to better understand the neural underpinnings of Multiple Sclerosis, as well as brain changes following an exercise intervention in Multiple Sclerosis. I am currently completing my advanced clinical neuropsychology practicum in Toronto at Baycrest. Outside of the lab, I like to listen to podcasts, read longform articles and eat spicy food!


I am a Ph.D. student in the Neuropsychology stream of the Clinical Psychology program. I completed my undergraduate Honours in Psychology in the Gawryluk Lab in 2018 and then re-joined the Gawryluk lab in 2019 for my Master’s. My research interests include using neuroimaging and neuropsychological measures to evaluate healthy and abnormal aging processes. For my Master’s thesis, I looked at the impact of Apolipoprotein E (APOE) alleles on brain structure, using multimodal MRI techniques, and cognitive functioning in healthy older adults. For my PhD, I am comparing the neurobiological, cognitive, and lifestyle factors between women with and without Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Outside of school, I am an avid outdoors enthusiast (my favourites being skiing and hiking) and also enjoy playing music and cooking!


I am a Master’s student in the clinical Neuropsychology stream. I completed my BSc in Psychology in the Gawryluk Lab, where I conducted my honours thesis examining the behavioural and functional changes between healthy older and younger adults using functional near infrared spectroscopy within the lens of the theories of cognitive aging. My master’s research investigates sex-specific and sex-general modifiable risk factors in relation to their impact on grey matter volume in healthy older women from the Women’s Healthy Aging Project (WHAP) database out of Australia. When I’m not in school, I am volunteering with a crisis line, working at my community pool, reading, or hiking!


I am a MSc student in the Lifespan Health and Development program at the University of Victoria. My research interests focus on modifiable factors that relate to healthy cognitive aging. Individual differences in cognitive abilities related to life experiences in spite of accumulating brain aging (i.e., neurofibrillary tangles, amyloid plaques etc…) is especially interesting to me. In the Gawryluk lab, I am working on projects to describe the characteristics of Super Agers – adults over 90 whose cognitive performance is like that of adults between 50-60 years old.







 My name is Riley Grewcock and I’m currently in my senior year of the Biology-Psychology combined major at UVIC. I joined the Gawryluk lab in January of 2023 and started to get involved with research working on a systematic review. Currently, I’m completing an independent studies course focusing on neuroimaging and cognition. When I’m not studying I love to spend my time in nature whether that be hiking, running, or enjoying the beautiful


Chantel Mayo, PhD

Chantel was the first student in the Gawryluk Lab to graduated from the Ph.D. Clinical Psychology program, Neuropsychology stream. Her doctoral research used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques to assess brain structure and function pre- and post- intervention for Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Her goal was to inform evidence-based MS treatments that target improved cognitive and psychosocial functioning. She was also involved in a number of other research projects related to aging and dementia, such as using MRI to examine longitudinal white matter changes in Alzheimer’s Disease and the relationship between white matter and cognitive decline. Throughout her training, she has been supported by Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the University of Victoria, and generous community donors. She completed her residency year at Hamilton Health Sciences and went on to become a faculty member in Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. 

Lisa Wright, PhD

Lisa joined the Gawryluk lab in 2016 in the clinical neuropsychology stream. She completed her residency at Hamilton Health Sciences in August, 2023. Research areas of interest included the incorporation of different neuroimaging modalities to assess cognition and exercise interventions to improve cognition. Clinically, she is interested in working with adult populations with impairments in cognition, including those affected by neurodegenerative disorders and acquired brain injuries. While not at school, she enjoys the outdoors with my dog LRRR, playing volleyball, and Netflix binges. She has since moved back to Vancouver Island and will be working as a Neuropsychologist with Island Health.

ABu-Bakar Sherif, MSc

Abu completed his Master’s degree in Neurosciences in the Division of Medical Sciences, co-supervised by Dr. Gawryluk and Dr. Brian Christie. His Master’s thesis explored the relationship between white matter microstructure and cognition in younger and older adults.

Vanessa Scarapacia, PHD

Vanessa recently graduated from the Ph.D. Clinical Psychology program, Neuropsychology stream. Her doctoral research involved using a multimodal neuroimaging approach to study the brains of younger and older adults. Here, she looked at the link between cardiovascular risk factors and brain structure, how fMRI blood-oxygen level (BOLD) response variability changed with age, and incorporated fNIRS to further study BOLD changes across the two cohorts. She completed her residency at the Ottawa Hospital and went on to work in private practice in Ottawa. 

Nicole neufeld, BSc

Nicole completed her undergraduate honours degree in Psychology in the Gawryluk Lab, and collaborated on a number of additional graduate research porjects as an RA. Her honour’s thesis investigating longitudinal white matter changes in the grey matter and cognitive functioning of healthy older adults went on to be published in Neuroimage: Reports.

Maddy Yanish, BSC

Maddy was an undergraduate student completing her Biology/Psychology BSc. She had previously completed a directed study with the Christie Lab and UVic Concussion Lab looking at the effectiveness of a concussion education program in high school students, specifically looking at the relationship between previous concussion knowledge in athletes, as well as youth with a history of concussion. In the Gawryluk Lab, she conducted a second directed study, where she used neuroimaging to explore white matter integrity in ageing adults with a history of concussion. During her undergrad, she enjoyed playing volleyball as a member of the UVic volleyball team.

Rebecca KennY, BSC (Hons.)

Rebecca specialized in concussion research. Her graduate research was conducted  under the supervision of Dr. Brian Christie and Dr. Jodie Gawryluk, and examined how repetitive heading in youth soccer affected brain structure, brain function and heart rate variability. She used magnetic resonance imaging and heart rate to determine if repetitive, intentional heading can cause sub-concussive injury similar to concussion. She was also involved in a study evaluating the effects of cognitive training on neuropsychological evaluation in individuals post-concussion. 

Nicole Grant, BSc (Hons.)

Nicole completed her BSc in Psychology. She was most interested in neuropsychological changes related to aging and learning how to incorporate patient oriented research, open science, and culturally informed practices into her research. She conducted her honours project in the Gawryluk Lab, where she used MRI data obtained from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) to investigate structural and functional biomarkers in individuals with subjective cognitive decline (SCD) and Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) that may indicate pre-clinical Alzheimer’s Disease. Following the completion of her undergraduate degree, she was a research assistant at the Branch Out Neurological Foundation, where she used functional MRI to investigate the relationship between the cognitive symptoms of multiple sclerosis and functional brain activity. Nicole went on to be accepted into the Clinical Psychology program at Concordia Univerisity.

Kyla Barlow-Reely, BSC (Hons.)

Kyla conducted her BSc Honours program in Psychology. She had an interest in various subjects within psychology, but was specifically drawn to learning about neuropsychological disorders and the clinical practice of neuropsychology.

DYLAN Demedeiros

Dylan completed his undergraduate BSc in Biology and Psychology and joined the Gawryluk Lab in of May 2017. His goal was to expand his knowledge in psychology though laboratory experience and learning applied research techniques through an Independent Study with Dr. Gawryluk. Here, he explored a potential bridge between traumatic brain injury and Alzheimer’s Disease. This project entailed examining neuroimaging (MRI) and clinical neuropsychological data via the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) database.

Jacob Koudys

After joining the Gawryluk lab in his undergrad, Jacob worked on a project funded by the Branch Out Neurological Foundation to investigate the neuroplastic power (in regards to DTI and resting-state fMRI) of exercise in individuals with multiple sclerosis. He also analyzed structural differences in cortical thickness and voxel-based morphometry between expert Vajrayana meditators and controls. Prior to this work, he received a Jamie Cassels Undergraduate Research Award to conduct a SIENA analysis of individuals with subjective cognitive decline after a mindfulness-based stress reduction intervention.

Apart from this neuroimaging work, he completed my HnBSc with Dr. Smart and Bryce Mulligan in 2016. For this project, he studied the reinforcement reasons for alcohol consumption in emerging adults.  In fall 2017, he began in the clinical psychology program at University of Toronto – Scarborough, working on research using fNIRS, MRI, and impulsivity measures to investigate the neurobiology of BPD, MDD, and self-injurious/suicidal clinical populations.

Kelly Miksche, BSC (Hons.)

Kelly came to Victoria in 2012 to conduct her undergraduate degree at the University of Victoria and was with the lab until January, 2016. During the 2016/2017 school year, Kelly collaborated with co-supervisors Dr. Gawryluk and Chantel Mayo on an honours project studying the effects of exercise on Multiple Sclerosis symptoms. Kelly completed her Honours B.Sc. degree in Combined Biology and Psychology and went on to pursue a career in the pharmaceutical sciences.