The Neuroscience Graduate Student Association (NRSC.GSA) is the official student association of the UBC Graduate Program in Neuroscience. Contact us at, and find us on facebook for the latest news and events.

Upcoming Events

Past Events

Feb 26, 2016 - Neurons
Neurons is run by students for students. Come participate in some interesting dialogue, engage in the neuro grad student community, and enjoy lots of free food and drinks before you head out for the weekend.

Jan 29, 2016 - Annual GSA Curling Night
Neuroscience GSA's 2nd Annual Curling Event!
This event is for students, faculty and friends of neuroscience.

Nov 13, 2015 - Neurons
Neurons is run by students for students. Come participate in some interesting dialogue, engage in the neuro grad student community, and enjoy lots of free food and drinks before you head out for the weekend.

Oct 29, 2015 - Neuroscience Extravaganza
The Neuroscience Extravaganza is an annual poster event and competition for neuroscience trainees and postdoctoral fellows. Prizes will be awarded for the winners in each category, and refreshments will be available. Join us for a fun afternoon of friendly competition!

Mar 18, 2015 - Neurons to Nirvana

Download a high-res NRSC GSA logo here:

Our History

The Neuroscience Graduate Student Association (NRSC.GSA) was founded in June 2009 by two graduate students, Conny Lin and Vilte Barakauskas. The association organized two departmental socials in the inaugural year. In its second year (2010/2011), the NRSC.GSA established an executive team to meet the expanded goals of building an academic and social support network for students.

Mission Statement

The Neuroscience Graduate Student Association (NRSC.GSA) aims to promote the growth of the academic, professional, cultural and social well-being of its members with the ultimate goal of developing a cohesive, supportive and vibrant neuroscience community both on and off-campus.

Specific goals of the NRSC.GSA are to:

  • Represent, advocate for and protect the interests of neuroscience graduate students.
  • Facilitate and foster synergistic relationships between supervisors, professors and students.
  • Provide timely and efficient communication of relevant information to students and NRSC.GSA members about events and news relevant to the GPN.
  • Provide ongoing academic advice and support to students completing required coursework and working towards their thesis.
  • Encourage and promote social interaction between NRSC.GSA members, students and faculty and the UBC community at large through the organization of social events, fundraisers and volunteering opportunities.
  • Improve and enhance all aspects of graduate student life in the NRSC program at UBC.

Executive Team


Presidents - Naila Kuhlmann & Matt Sacheli

Sets annual plan and goals to be accomplished for each year. Organizes monthly meetings and ensures work is completed by VPs and Coordinators in a timely and professional manner.

VP Finance - Tamara Bodnar & Riki Dingwall

Obtains funding and reports to neuroscience department on spending for events. Sets annual budget and allocates monies for events. Maintains financial records and ensures reimbursements are made to individuals. Applies for external funding whenever awards /grants are made public to the UBC community. Takes lead in writing and editing the annual report.

VP Academic - Jordan Shimell & Juelu Wang

Oversees Academic Guidelines, Mentorship Program and Neuroseminar Series. Researches academic guidelines for the student manual. Ensures student manual is up-to-date. Receives comments/feedback/suggestions from students and faculty regarding guidebook and makes revisions where necessary. Works with the Mentorship Program coordinator to ensure that information passed onto mentors is consistent with guidelines in the student manual.

VP Social - Sarah McIssac & Troy McDiarmid

Takes the lead in organizing bi-annual socials (one in September to coincide with the incoming class orientation and another in the summer). Works with the VP Finance to ensure events are under budget. Works with coordinators for Pub Nights and Recreational events to ensure these events are ongoing and well-attended.

VP External - Xun Zhou & Katerina Othonos

Acts as the neuroscience representatives for GSS and regularly attends these meetings. Also acts as TA liaison for CUPE 2278.

VP Communications - Melissa Woodward & Sarah Paschall

Social media outreach, advertisement strategy. Also acts as secretary for the GSA, taking minutes.

VP Outreach - Eli York
Help in the promotion of neuroscience research and its impact the treatment/prevention of Neurological diseases and disorders through volunteer work (will work with the Letís Talk Science Neuroscience Representative).

First Year Rep - Igor Tatarnikov

Members at Large - James Cairns, Stephanie Tran, Maria Zhu†

Please feel free to contact if you are interested in joining the team.


Presidents - Thariq Badiudeen & Matt Sacheli
VP Finance
- Tamara Bodnar
VP Academic -
Jenny Smith & Juelu Wang
VP Social - Beibei Song & Naila Kuhlmann
VP External - Vivian Lam, Xun Zhou & Sun Nee Tan
VP Communications
- Chelsie Kadgien & Eli York
VP Outreach
- Katerina Katerina, Golnoush Alamian, Zeina Waheed


President - Sun Nee Tan
VP Finance
- Tamara Bodnar
VP Academic -
Thariq Badiudeen & Xun Zhou
VP Social
- Matt Sacheli & James Cairns
VP External
- Vivian Lam & Matt Sacheli
VP Communications
- Zeina Waheed
Executive Assistant
- Eli York
Members at Large
- Shelly Fan, Barak Caracheo, Caodu Buren & Shunya Yagi


President - Barak Caracheo
VP Academic - Vivian Lam
VP Communications - Shelly Fan
VP Finance - Tamara Bodnar
VP Events - Bryson Armstrong
VP External - Conny Lin
Alumni Coordinator - Carmen Chow
Mentorship Program Coordinator - Vivian Lam
Neuroseminar Coordinator - Barak Caracheo


President - Conny Lin
VP Academic - Tamara Bodnar
VP Communications - Shelly Fan
VP Finance - Sherri Tran
VP Social - Nadia Scott
Alumni Network Coordinator - Carmen Chow
First Year Class Representatives - Vivian Lam, Aqsa Malik, Ricardo Bortolon
GSS/CFIS rep, GSS FoGs representative - Conny Lin
Facebook Coordinator - Ricardo Bortolon
Mentorship Program Coordinator - Vivian Lam
Monthly Pub Night Coordinator - Aqsa Malik
Neuroseminar - Barak Caracheo
Sports Coordinator - Bryson Armstrong, Shan Shan Zhu

Ongoing Projects

First-year orientation, socials and monthly pub nights

NRSC.GSA hosts 2-3 program socials per school year, including a mixer/orientation for incoming students. We believe these socials are particularly important in forging a sense of identity and belonging when individuals work in facilities off-campus.

Neuroscience Pub Nights are generally held on the third Friday of every month. Students gather at Mahoney and Sons pub on campus (5990 University Blvs) in order to wind down with other Neuroscience students after a busy week. In addition to being a social event, students can use this opportunity to seek advice and guidance and discuss issues on a wide range of matters with their peers. This also allows students to build their academic network by meeting and interacting with students outside of their lab and classroom setting.

Mentoring Program

To facilitate the transition into the Neuroscience program, we established the Neuroscience Mentorship Program, which pairs incoming students (mentees) with senior graduate students or postdoctoral fellows (mentors) to provide academic and social support to new students. Additionally, this program also offers mentoring opportunities for interested individuals in Neuroscience.

Graduate Student Handbook (guidebook)

To provide academic guidelines in a succinct and accessible manner, the NRSC GSA has spent the past year developing a guidebook which outlines expectations, guidelines, important deadlines, and notable conferences specifically for students in the department. First year Neuroscience students are targeted as the main audience, however students in senior years can also benefit from the guidelines proposed in the manual. NRSC GSA executives have written the bulk of the sections. It is hoped that incoming students will refer to his guidebook throughout their studies.


Neuroseminar is an interactive, graduate student-run seminar series which allows graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to develop and improve their teaching and communication skills. Presenters give a 30-45 minute talk on their research or other topics of interest in the neuroscience field.
Neuroseminar developed independently from the NRSC GSA and began collaborating with the NRSC GSA as of January 2011. Since then, the NRSC GSA has helped improve the seminar series' communication strategy in reaching a broader audience and recruiting speakers.

Neuroscience Alumni Network and Alumni Talks

The Neuroscience Alumni Network was first proposed by Lee Lau (MSc, 2010) in 2009/2010. By connecting current students with past graduates, this network aims to act as a platform to maintain lasting collaborative relationships and to spark new relationships based on a commonly shared experience Ė obtaining a Neuroscience graduate degree at UBC. Dr. Steve Vincent, Director of Neuroscience, has been supportive of this initiative and has used the opportunity to invite notable alumni to present as part of the Neuroscience Research Colloquia.

Recreational Events

This program was developed in recognition of the importance of a balanced lifestyle which includes recreational activities in addition to graduate studies and research. Activities are proposed at executive meetings and are organized by the Sports Coordinator. Past events have included indoor rock climbing, skiing, and skating.

Projects Under Way

NRSC.GSA has a list of projects under development. If you are interested in any of the following projects (or have ideas of your own) please contact us.

  • Online resource initiative: share our talks and seminars with the world through social media outlets such as Youtube.
  • Neuroscience Annual Retreat
  • Ombudsmen
  • Revamp NRSC core course: re-organizing NRSC500 and NRSC501 to better suit the needs of students.
  • NRSC.GSA news updates: blog/tweet about the latest GPN news.

End-of-year Reports


This past year, we expanded our goals and implemented initiatives to foster a community within UBC Neuroscience. In addition to organising bi-annual socials, we have started monthly Pub Nights and offered recreational activities. We have partnered with NeuroSeminar to expand academic opportunities for graduate students. An Alumni Network has brought in past graduates as speakers for the Neuroscience Research Colloquia. Established projects under development set for a September 2011 launch include a mentorship program, student guidebook, and revamped website.