ICORD welcomes four UBCO researchers

ICORD is excited to welcome four researchers from University of British Columbia Okanagan to the team. From the School of Health and Exercise Sciences, Drs. Philip Ainslie, Heather Gainforth, Kathleen Martin Ginis, and Paul van Donkelaar are ICORD’s newest members. “We believe that finding treatments for spinal cord injury requires a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach,” says ICORD Director Dr. Wolfram Tetzlaff. “This is why we are so happy be joined by such eminent investigators, who work in basic, clinical, and social research. Such diversity along with the strengthened connection between campuses will be a valuable asset.”

UBCO Investigators banner

L-R: Drs. Heather Gainforth, Paul van Donkelaar, Kathleen Martin Ginis, and Philip Ainslie.

“As the Director of the School of Health and Exercise Sciences, I’m thrilled to have several of our faculty members join ICORD,” says Dr. van Donkelaar. “We will benefit from the collaborative connections with other ICORD members and thereby extend ICORD’s reach into the BC Interior.”

Professor van Donkelaar joins ICORD as an Associate Member. His research spans from basic science to clinical studies with a focus on human brain function. He is currently collaborating with ICORD’s Dr. Peter Cripton on a project examining helmet design to reduce the effects of head impacts in contact sports.

Professor Martin Ginis is ICORD’s newest Principal Investigator. She is a distinguished SCI researcher and the Director of SCI Action Canada, which promotes the physical activity of people with SCI. SCI Action Canada brings together university researchers and community organizations around the country to develop and share evidence-based strategies, practices, and tools that can help people with SCI live more active lives. In her own research, Dr. Martin Ginis addresses the psychosocial mechanisms and consequences of physical-activity behaviour change, particularly in the SCI community. She already has several collaborations with ICORD, including work with Dr. Andrei Krassioukov on the CHOICES Project. She is also the Principal Investigator for the Canadian Disability Participation Project with ICORD co-investigators, Drs. Gary Birch, Jaimie Borisoff, Janice Eng, Susan Forwell, William Miller,  and Ben Mortenson.

Professor Ainslie joins ICORD as an Investigator. He studies the integrated mechanisms which regulate human cerebral blood flow in health and disease, the influence of environmental stress, and the effects of exercise training on cerebrovascular function. He holds a Canada Research Chair and is the co-director of the Centre for Heart, Lung & Vascular Health at UBC Okanagan.

Assistant Professor Gainforth also joins ICORD as an Investigator. She comes from a background in Health Promotion, Knowledge Translation, and Kinesiology, and her research is directed toward closing the gap between health behaviour change research and practice, through the dissemination of evidence-based health promotion interventions in general and special populations.

These are the first faculty members from UBC Okanagan to join ICORD. The Okanagan campus is an intimate learning community embracing bold new ways of thinking that attract exceptional students and faculty. More than 8,300 students from throughout the Okanagan region, across Canada and 90 other countries are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs in eight faculties and schools. Here, students interact with one another and their professors on a daily basis, while becoming global citizens through interaction with their community and the world.