Julie Robillard

Julie Robillard is a recently appointed Assistant Professor of Neurology that leads a research program at the intersection of dementia, ethics, and technology. Her current research is aimed at evaluating the quality and ethics of online health information and computerized tools for dementia screening and diagnosis. Dr. Robillard holds a B.Sc. in Biology from the Université de Montréal and became interested in a career in research while working as an undergraduate research assistant in a neuropharmacology lab where she learned to record electrical signals from brain cells. She then moved to Vancouver to complete her PhD in neuroscience at UBC, focusing on the mechanisms underlying synaptic plasticity, a model for learning and memory, in the aging brain. During her PhD, Dr. Robillard became interested in how findings from neuroscience laboratories impact the lives of individuals and societies. To investigate this further, she joined the National Core for Neuroethics at UBC for postdoctoral training where she built on her thesis work in a way that emphasizes the human translational side of neuroscience. Now an Assistant Professor at UBC, Dr. Robillard’s goals are to ensure that older adults have access to high quality online information to support their health decision-making, and to ensure that new technological innovations for the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of dementia are aligned with social values and meet the highest ethical standards to maximize the benefit and minimize the harms to our older demographic. Dr. Robillard’s position in the UBC Division of Neurology at the UBC Department of Medicine has provided her with the opportunity to engage with various stakeholders in health care, including physicians, other researchers, residents, students, and members of the public. She feels that the UBC Department of Medicine, the National Core for Neuroethics, and Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, all together, provide a rich and productive research environment, ideal for her research. She has co-chaired the 2014 Brain Matters! Vancouver International conference, organized outreach programs showcasing the research done by students in the UBC Neuroscience graduate program, and has been to invited to present her work at prestigious conferences around the world. This summer, she will present her work on online self-assessments for dementia at the 2015 Alzheimer Congress in London, UK and at the Alzheimer Association International Conference in Washington, DC. Aside from research, she enjoys mountain biking and sailing.