Grad psychology students take first and second spot for neuroscience award

Galina Goren and Sabrina Lemire-Rodger

It was a banner day for York’s Graduate Psychology Program with two students receiving the top prize and runner-up, respectively, for a prestigious graduate student neuroscience award.

Sabrina Lemire-Rodger, a second year master’s student in clinical psychology in York’s Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health, won the Donald O. Hebb Graduate Student Award for best poster among more than 200 posters that were presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science (CSBBCS) that took place July 3 to 5 in Toronto at Ryerson University.

Sabrina Lemire-Rodger
Sabrina Lemire-Rodger

Her poster was entitled “Dissociating the Neural Correlates of Executive Control” and showcased her work on higher order cognition, also known as “executive functioning” in the brain that controls cognitive abilities such as memory, flexible thinking and maintaining self-control. Lemire-Rodger analyzed data that was collected on York’s state-of-the-art MRI scanner.

The CSBBCS is a key organization for the promotion and support of experimental psychology and behavioural neuroscience in Canada. The society advances research concerning brain, behaviour, and cognitive science in Canada, according to the highest standards of scientific inquiry and promotes and fosters the education and training of students in these scientific disciplines.

In his congratulatory letter to Lemire-Rodger, CSBBCS President Jean Saint-Aubin wrote: “Your work reflects the high quality of research currently being carried out by Canadian students. We are very proud of you.” The award includes a cheque for $500, a plaque and free membership in the society for one year.

“It was very exciting and an honour to receive this award,” said Lemire-Rodger. “It’s also very gratifying to have such interest and recognition from our peers for the research currently taking place in our lab.”

Galina Goren
Galina Goren

“Sabrina’s work represents an important contribution to our understanding of how complex cognition, skills for everyday tasks like planning and decision-making, are implemented in the brain,” said Gary Turner, York psychology professor and Lemire-Rodger’s supervisor. “Sabrina has done a wonderful job in designing the study, analyzing the data and showcasing the findings. This award is well deserved and truly reflects the leading-edge neuroscience and neuroimaging research that is happening here at York.”

Galina Goren, a first year psychology master’s student in brain, behaviour and cognitive sciences at York, under supervisor James Elder, was Runner-up for the 2014 Hebb Award for her poster “Visual Distortions Induced by Simple and Complex Shapes.”

Goren’s impressive showing follows her success last year in which she won the 2013 Best Poster Award for her entry “Shape-Induced Distortions of Spatial Judgements” at the international Vision Sciences Society meetings.