Graduate & Postdoctoral Education (GPE) Office Staff

Dr. Miriam Spering is an associate professor in the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences. She previously served as director of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience, where she carried out initiatives to promote students’ wellbeing and lived experience, as well as curriculum evaluation and renewal to continue student access to world-class graduate education. Her passion lies in graduate mentorship, and her success in supervising and supporting students has been recognized with the 2021 Mentorship Award by Women in Cognitive Science Canada. As Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, Dr. Spering works closely with the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, managing graduate and postdoctoral education programs within the Faculty of Medicine. She plays a key role in developing UBC’s academic health vision in graduate and postdoctoral education across the province, ensuring that graduate and postdoctoral education activities align with the Faculty’s and UBC’s strategic priorities and plans.
Dr. Yan Gao is the Education & Advancement Coordinator at the Graduate & Postdoctoral Education Office. She manages educational projects and initiatives in the office. Her current portfolio includes graduate program review, the Advancing Renewal Project, FoM curriculum change, and the Responsible Conduct of Research course. Yan completed her PhD in Educational Studies at the University of Victoria and joined the GPE office in August 2021.
Asmae El Bouhali is our Embedded Counsellor dedicated to the clinical care and support of our graduate students. Asmae is a Clinical Counsellor with membership with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. She holds graduate degrees in Counselling Psychology and Human Development from the University of Ottawa and the University of British Columbia. Her undergraduate degree in Clinical Psychology and Communication was obtained at the University of Amsterdam.
Asmae offers a collaborative, safe, compassionate therapeutic space in which clients can explore self- awareness, mindfulness, and personal growth. She facilitates change and goal attainment utilizing a trauma informed lens and several theoretical and research-based methodologies, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Solution Focused Therapy.  Asmae also has extensive experience in cross-cultural therapy and is able to offer services in Moroccan-Arabic and Dutch. 
Sandrine Espié is a Graduate and Postdoctoral Wellbeing Support for the Graduate Postdoctoral Education Office. Her role is to promote health and education activities that proactively improve wellbeing for Faculty of Medicine research graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Her portfolio encompasses direct, non-clinical wellbeing support for research trainees and wellbeing-focused consultation with trainees, faculty, and staff. Sandrine completed a MPA from Seattle University and joined the GPE office in February 2022.
Richa Sharma is the Graduate Student & Postdoctoral Affairs Coordinator for the Graduate & Postdoctoral Education (GPE) Office in the Faculty of Medicine. Her role is to support GPE Office in strategically planning, designing, developing, and implementing a variety of activities that support Masters and Doctoral students, as well as postdoctoral fellows (PDFs). She is responsible for maintaining and improving the graduate student experience through the organization and coordination of centralized events, awards, policies, and procedures. Richa holds Masters degree from Carnegie Mellon University, USA, and joined the GPE office in October 2021.
Leigh  Spanner is the Healthy Environments in Academic Research Teams (HEART) Project Coordinator. Her role is to develop the HEART program, which aims to support faculty, staff and learners to enhance competencies in wellbeing, equity, diversity, inclusion and effective leadership to promote healthy, respectful, and productive work environments in academic research teams. Leigh holds a Maser’s degree from the University of Oxford, co-authored the University Mental Health Charter and joined the GPE team in July 2022.

Graduate and Postdoctoral Education Office email:

Faculty of Medicine Graduate Program Contacts

Audiology and Speech Sciences (MSc, PhD)
Advisor: Dr. Stefka Marinova-Todd
Program Assistant: Winnie Wong

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (MSc, PhD)
Advisor: Dr. LeAnn Howe
Program Coordinator: Doris Metcalf

Biomedical Engineering (MEng, MASc, PhD)
Director: Dr. Karen Cheung​
Program Coordinator: Michelle Lee

Cell and Developmental Biology (MSc, PhD)
Director: Dr. Cal Roskelley
Program Coordinator: Cyndi Liu

Experimental Medicine (MSc, PhD)
Director: Dr. Tricia Tang
Senior Program Assistant: Sharon Xu

Genetic Counselling (MSc)
Advisor: Dr. Jehannine Austin
Program Assistant:

Global Surgical Care (MGSc)
Director: Dr. Brian Westerberg
Education Manager: Cecilia Gruber

Health Administration (MHA)
Advisor: Dr. Nick Bansback
Program Coordinator:

Health Sciences (MHSc)
Director: Dr. Martin Schechter
Program Coordinator:​

Interdisciplinary Oncology (MSc, PhD)
Co-Directors: Dr. Kevin Bennewith and Dr. Wan Lam
Program Administrator: Sharon Ruschkowski

MD/PhD Program (MD/PhD)
Director: Dr. Torsten Nielsen
Program Administrator: Jane Lee​

Medical Genetics (MSc, PhD)
Advisor: Dr. Stefan Taubert
Program Assistant: Cheryl Bishop

Neuroscience (MSc, PhD)
Director: Dr. Miriam Spering
Program Coordinator: Emily Palmer

Occupational Therapy (MOT)
Director: Dr. Liisa Holsti
Student Services Manager: David Tsukada

Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (MSc)
Director: Dr. Chris Mcleod
Program Coordinator: Shaine Meghji

Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (MSc, PhD)
Advisor: Dr. Helene Cote
Program Coordinator: Heather Cheadle

Pharmacology and Therapeutics (MSc, PhD)
Director: Dr. Pascal Bernatchez
Program Secretary: Emily Palmer

Physical Therapy (MPT, MTP/PhD)
Director: Dr. Alison Greig​
Student Services Officer: MPT Advisor

Population and Public Health (MSc, PhD)
Director: Dr. Susan Cox​
Program Manager: Emily Vangulik

Public Health (MPH)
Director: Dr. Paul Kershaw
Program Manager:

Rehabilitation Sciences (MRSc, MSc, PhD)
Advisor (MSc, PhD): Dr. Bill Miller
Advisor (MRSc online): Dr. Tal Jarus
Program Assistant: Cassandra Gilliam

Reproductive and Developmental Sciences (MSc, PhD)
Advisors: Dr. Alex Beristain​ and Dr. Paul Yong
Program Assistant: Samantha Rosiczkowski​

Women+ and Children’s Health Sciences (WACH) (MSc, PhD)
Advisors: Dr. Alex Beristain​ and Dr. Angela Devlin
Program Manager: Natalie Twohey

Surgery (MSc)
Advisor: Dr. Alice Mui​