Research Team

The UBC Sexual Health Lab collaborates with physicians at the BC Centre for Sexual Medicine (Rosemary Basson, Miriam Driscoll, Shauna Correia), the Department of Psychiatry (Andrea Grabovac), the Department of Anatomy (Joanne Weinberg) as well as researchers on other university campuses.

Lori A. Brotto, PhD

Director, UBC Sexual Health Laboratory, Canada Research Chair in Women’s Sexual Health
Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, UBC
Executive Director, Women's Health Research Institute
Dr. Brotto completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of British Columbia (UBC), where her research focused primarily on psychophysiological aspects of sexual arousal in women diagnosed with sexual dysfunctions. Her psychology internship at the University of Washington (UW) specialized in the use of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for mood, anxiety, substance abuse and psychotic disorders. Following her internship, Dr. Brotto’s Fellowship in Reproductive and Sexual Medicine at UW was mentored by Dr. Julia Heiman, director of the Kinsey Institute. As a registered psychologist, Dr. Brotto offers psychological therapy to patients referred from both UBC Departments of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Psychiatry, as well as the BC Cancer Agency. Dr. Brotto also sees private patients. Dr. Brotto has been awarded many scholarships, fellowships and research grants. For a complete list of Dr. Brotto’s credentials, research and funding records, please view her CV below.

Bozena Zdaniuk, PhD

Research Associate
Bozena has a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh (1999), a postdoc from Carnegie Mellon university, and she has held multiple roles as a data analyst, methodologist, research associate, and writer. She is particularly strong at aggregating complex sets of data into usable units for analysis, and she has ushered several projects through to completion and knowledge translation. Working on this team gives her opportunity to pursue her ongoing interest in female sexuality research. 

Yvonne Erskine, MEd

Lab Coordinator
Yvonne completed her Masters of Education in Counselling Psychology at UBC in the fall of 2006, and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Her research experience includes working in mood, hypertension and health psychology. Her current research interests are in female sexuality and health, and her counselling interests are in sexuality, grief, trauma, loss, and mood. Yvonne is a Registered Clinical Counsellor and has a small private counselling practice working with clients who are seeking help in the areas of grief, sexuality and trauma.

Jenn Bossio, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow
Jenn Bossio is a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the UBC Sexual Health Lab in collaboration with the Vancouver Prostate Centre. Her research interests primarily focus on psychological and physiological factors that contribute to men’s sexual lives. Jenn completed her training in Clinical Psychology at Queen’s University, where her PhD research focused on men’s sexuality, including penile sensitivity, sexual arousal, and the impact of circumcision status on the sexual lives of men and their partners. During her Clinical Psychology Residency at Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, Jenn collaborated with the UBC Sexual Health Lab and the BC Center for Sexual Medicine to develop a mindfulness-based group treatment protocol for men with situational erectile dysfunction. Her Fellowship, which is funded by Prostate Cancer Canada and the Michael Smith Foundation of Health Research, explores the use of acceptance-based therapy to help men and their partners cope with the changes to one’s sex life following prostate cancer treatment. Jenn is particularly interested in the integration of clinical psychology into interdisciplinary health care, especially as it relates to human sexuality.

Cara Dunkley, MA

Graduate Student
Cara completed her B.A in Honours Psychology at the University of Victoria in 2009. After graduating she worked as a study coordinator in two University- and Hospital-based sexual research laboratories. Cara received her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 2015. She is currently in her third year of the Ph.D. Clinical Psychology Program at UBC, working under the supervision of Dr. Lori Brotto. Her doctoral program of research examines the association between disordered eating and sexual dysfunction among clinical samples of women with an eating disorder and women with provoked vestibulodynia – a chronic and distressing vulvar pain condition. Additional ongoing research projects focus on the role of attachment style in relation to adult sexuality, as well as mindfulness and alternative sexual practices.   Clinically, Cara works as a group facilitator for the DESIRE program at the UBC Sexual Health Lab. 

Silvain Dang, MA

Graduate Student
Silvain completed his BSc in Psychology in 2011 and his MA in Clinical Psychology in 2014. He is currently working towards his PhD in Clinical Psychology. His research interests include sexual attitudes, paraphilias, attachment style, perfectionism, culture/ethnicity, and the neurobiology of sexual behaviours.

Madison Lackie, BSc

Graduate Student
Madison is a Masters of Science student in the UBC Reproductive and Developmental Sciences program, working primarily out of the Women’s Health Research Institute at BC Women’s Hospital. Her research interests include the effects of major life events on mental health, with a focus on postpartum depression and the effects of parenthood on psychological outcomes. Madison completed her Bachelor of Science with Honours at Queen’s University, specializing in Life Sciences, and is now using this foundational biomedical background to inform her Masters studies, which focus on the development of an online platform for intervention in women with postpartum depression. There is great hope that this tool will also be extended to create specific interventions for Aboriginal populations, as well as potentially new refugee populations and other at-risk cohorts.

Kelly Smith, PhD

Assistant Professor in the UBC Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Division of Gynaecologic Specialties
Dr. Smith’s research is focused on women’s vulvar and sexual health. Her primary area of research to date has been vulvodynia (chronic vulvar pain), including the pregnancy and post-partum experiences of women with this condition. Dr. Smith is the Research Director for the Multidisciplinary Vulvodynia Program ( and the Centre for Vulvar Health. She has a PhD in Clinical Psychology from Queen’s University and completed fellowship training at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School and in the UBC Sexual Health Lab. Dr. Smith received fellowship awards from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and the Canadian Pain Society, and her research has been funded by the National Vulvodynia Association and Women’s Health Research Institute. Dr. Smith has authored several publications in the area of women’s health and vulvar pain and has received several awards for her research.

Paul Yong, MD, PhD, FRCSC

Assistant Professor in the UBC Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Division of Gynaecologic Specialties
Dr. Paul Yong is Assistant Professor in the UBC Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Division of Gynaecologic Specialties, and is actively involved in clinical and translational research in endometriosis, pelvic pain, and vulvodynia.  Dr. Yong completed a MD/PhD degree in Experimental Medicine in 2006, followed by a Residency in Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Fellowship in Endometriosis, Pelvic Pain & Advanced Laparoscopy in 2012 at the University of British Columbia. His clinical practice is focused on pelvic pain, with particular interest in endometriosis, vulvodynia, sexual pain, painful periods, co-existing bladder and bowel problems, and pain related to the musculoskeletal system. His surgical interests include laparoscopic excision of endometriosis and prevention of adhesions in women with pelvic pain (+/- infertility).

Morag Yule, PhD

Morag completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of British Columbia in 2016. Her research interests lie largely in investigating the many different aspects of asexuality, including patterns of sexual attraction and sexual arousal, mental health correlates of asexuality, and factors differentiating asexuality from a sexual dysfunction. Through this research, we hope to better understand the experiences of those who lack sexual attraction in the hopes that this will reduce any stigma that might be associated with asexuality. Clinically, Morag works to help individuals dealing with issues related to sexuality and gender, sexual dysfunction, and a range of anxiety disorders.

Laurel Paterson, PhD, R. Psych.

Dr. Laurel Paterson completed a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Brotto from 2013-2016, during which they developed and tested two types of group therapy for low sexual desire in women.  This research was supported by fellowship awards from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.  She has a PhD in Clinical Psychology from McGill University and has completed extensive training in sex and couple therapy, as well as cognitive-behavioural and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.  She currently works as a registered psychologist in private practice in Vancouver, focusing on individual and couple therapy for sexual difficulties.  She also continues to facilitate therapy groups for the DESIRE Study and regularly presents workshops in the community on the impact of mental and physical health on sexuality.   

Faith Jabs, BA

Study Coordinator
Faith completed her BA in Anthropology at the University of British Columbia in 2014 and is now studying Psychology. She is currently the study coordinator on the DESIRE study, and is also working on her own project (the DISRUPT study), which investigates the interruptions in the sexual response cycle of women with low sexual desire. Her research interests include sexual health, sex education, and psychosocial aspects of sexual desire. She hopes to study Clinical Psychology and further pursue her research interests.

Sonia Milani, BA

Study Coordinator
Sonia obtained her BA in Psychology at the University of British Columbia. She hopes to enroll in a Clinical Psychology graduate program to further pursue her research interests which include sexual health, sexual dysfunction, and intimate relationships. She recently completed a directed studies project that is looking at visual attention to erotic stimuli and impression management in women. Sonia is the study coordinator for the  EYES, TRACE & BRACE studies.

Julia O'Loughlin, MA

Study Coordinator
Julia received her B.A. (Hons) in Gender and Sexuality Studies from the University of Victoria in 2006 and her M.A. in Counselling Psychology from the University of British Columbia in 2016. She is currently in the Ph.D. Counselling Psychology program at UBC. Julia is the coordinator for the study “Mood, Stress, and Sexual Desire in Women” (MODEST) and contributes to the DESIRE study as a clinical interviewer and group facilitator. Her research interests include sexual health (particularly as it intersects with attachment and early life adversity), intimate relationship satisfaction (particularly within consensual non-monogamous configurations), and the impact of traditional masculinity ideology adherence on relationship functioning.

Chris Pang, BSc

Study Coordinator
Chris Pang is a research coordinator for the INTROSPPECT Study, a Movember Discovery Grant funded project on mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy as supportive care for couples surviving prostate cancer. He is excited to help with this project, as he is deeply interested in biopsychosocial processes that determine health and wellness.   Chris brings previous experience in research coordination to the team, having completed a Bachelor of Science Honours in Psychology at the University of British Columbia and then working as research staff for two years in the UBC Department of Psychiatry. Outside of research and psychology, he enjoys sampling new restaurants and he is passionate about animals. In the future, Chris hopes to become a mental health practitioner. 

Brynn Lavery, BA

Social Media and Participant Recruitment Coordinator
Brynn is a 2017 BA Psychology graduate from UBC with a minor in Critical Studies in Sexuality. Passionate about the field of sexual health, she volunteers with Options for Sexual Health on their Community Relations team, with BLUSH (Bold Learning for Understanding Sexual Health) as a Youth Educator, and in the past as a research assistant in the UBC Sexuality Lab. Brynn is the Social Media and Participant Recruitment Coordinator for the lab and runs their Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages and is also a research assistant on the DESIRE study. Her research interests include sexual education, women's sexual disorders, and paraphilias.

Maggie Bryce, BA

Research Assistant
Maggie Bryce has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from UBC. She is a youth educator with Vancouver Coastal Health’s BLUSH (Bold Learning for Understanding Sexual Health) program, which brings sexual health workshops to high schools around Vancouver. Maggie is working on a number of studies in the lab related to female sexual health, dysfunction, and cervical cancer prevention. She recently completed a directed studies project regarding female genital self-image, and partner perceptions of the vulva, and is the research assistant for the SAFE study.

Kendra Coleman

Directed Studies Student
Kendra is an undergraduate psychology student at the University of British Columbia. Her interests include sexual desire, health and arousal. Specifically, she is keen to explore the impact of genital pain, mood disorders, anorgasmia, stress and sexually transmitted infections on sexuality on both the individual and partner level. She is currently a research volunteer for the EYES study, comparing genital response and eye tracking patterns in women. She plans to further her studies in sexology in either medicine or clinical psychology.

Adianna Xue

Directed Studies Student
Adrianna is currently completing her BA with a major Psychology and a minor in Critical Studies of Sexuality at the University of British Columbia. Her research interests are women’s sexual health, women’s arousal, sexual education, poly relationships and safe BDSM practices. In the future she hopes to pursue graduate studies in Counselling Psychology and contribute to Canada’s sex research development.

Alyssa Greco

Alyssa is currently a student at SFU studying psychology.  She very much enjoys stepping into new environments and learning new things, which is why she is very appreciative of her time at the UBC sexual health laboratory, where she can learn and explore something new every time she comes in.  In the future, Alyssa is interested in perusing a career in the field of psychology.     

Sarah Lillemo

Sarah is currently in her last year of her Bachelor of Psychology degree at UBC and will be graduating in May. Sarah’s long-term goal is to pursue graduate studies in clinical psychology focusing on women’s sexual health. She is particularly interested in the role anxiety plays in desire, as well as, rural access to sexual and mental health services and the impact low population rates have on the willingness to access these services. In the Sexual Health Lab she is currently helping out with the EYES study.

Amy Antonsen

Amy is an undergraduate student at UBC looking to enter the health sciences. She has a particular interest in sociopolitical attitudes, policies and practices relating to sexuality, gender, race, and equality, with a focus on their roles in the healthcare system. She plans to pursue graduate studies in this area. She is currently investigating the romantic-aromantic spectrum among asexual individuals

Ellen Dipple

Ellen is an undergraduate psychology student currently attending the University of British Columbia. Her research interests include sexual interest and arousal, especially in relation to mood disorders, chronic stress, and different approaches to sexual education. At present, she is a volunteer for the EYES study. She plans to one day continue her education in either a social or clinical psychology graduate program.

Brett Makarenko, BSc

Brett recently completed her BSc in Biology with a minor in Psychology at the University of British Columbia in 2017. She is a Crisis Line and Educational Outreach Volunteer for WAVAW (Women Against Violence Against Women), where she provides anti-oppressive emotional support to survivors of sexualized violence. Her research interests include psychophysiological manifestations of sexual dysfunctions, long-term effects of sexualized violence against women, and improving sex education. She is working towards being accepted into a Clinical Psychology graduate program in order to pursue her interests of human sexuality.