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. 

Morag Yule, PhD

Research Associate
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.

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 received her BA (Hons) in Psychology from the University of Victoria in 2009 and her MA in Clinical Psychology from the University of British Columbia in 2015. After graduating she worked as a study coordinator in three University- and Hospital-based psycho-sexual research labs. Cara currently attends the University of British Columbia as a graduate student in Clinical Psychology, and is in the process of conducting research for her Masters Thesis under the co-supervision of Dr. Lori Brotto and Dr. Boris Gorzalka of the UBC Sexual Psychoneuroendocrinology and Psychophysiology Laboratory. Her primary research interests include sexual functioning, sexual esteem, attachment style, paraphilia, physiological arousal, and arousal specificity.

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.

Jessica Ferreira

Visiting Researcher
Jessica is a PhD student from Brazil at the University of Campinas where she works in the field of Human Reproduction and Sexual Health. She joined the Sexual Health Laboratory as a visiting researcher and will work from May to October 2017 with Dr. Lori Brotto in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of British Columbia. Her research includes investigation of the main concerns about sexual health of those who seek council on Sex Sense Line, a service provided by Options for Sexual Health Clinic. 

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).

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.

Adrienne Marsh, BA

Study Coordinator
Adrienne is currently enrolled in the University of British Columbia’s MA program in Counselling Psychology. She is the study coordinator for “GyneGals: A research study of an online support group for women diagnosed with gynecologic cancer” and for “COMFORT: Cognitive Therapy or Mindfulness for Treatment of Provoked Vestibulodynia”.

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.

Sonia Milani, BA

Research Assistant
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 research assistant for the  EYES study.

Julia O'Loughlin, MA

Study Coordinator
Julia received her BA (Hons) in Gender and Sexuality Studies from the University of Victoria in 2006 and her MA in Counselling Psychology from the University of British Columbia in 2016.  She currently works as a clinical interviewer and study coordinator for the study “Mood, Stress, and Sexual Desire in Women” (MODEST). Julia’s doctoral training in Counselling Psychology will commence in September 2016.  She has several areas of interest including gender ideology adherence in the context of psychopathology, attachment style, and alexithymia.

Erin Breckon, MA

Study Staff
Erin  graduated with her MA in counselling psychology from the University of British Columbia in 2015 and is a Registered Clinical Counsellor. She currently works as a moderator for the study “Online Support Group Intervention for Women who are Sexual Distressed due to Gynaecologic Cancer and its Treatment” (Gyne Gals). She has many research interests in the field of human sexuality and is currently exploring such areas as sexual intimacy among couples struggling with infertility and sexual functioning among cancer survivors. She has worked as a study coordinator in the UBC Sexual Health Lab and in the Prostate Centre at Vancouver Hospital.

Laurel Paterson, PhD, R. Psych.

Study Staff
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.   

Amy Antonsen

Summer Student Research Assistant
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

Laura Sze, BA

Laura is currently completing her undergraduate degree in psychology at UBC. Her primary research interests include sexual health, sexual dysfunction, unusual sexual interests and intimate relationships. In the future she hopes to pursue her curiosities in these areas through graduate studies.

Iulia Dascula

Iulia is an undergraduate UBC student currently completing her BSc Honours degree in Cellular, Anatomical and Physiological Sciences. She is currently a research assistant on the VENUS study, and she is also conducting her own study (POEM) to investigate the relationships between meditation experience, mood, general health, and sexual functioning in women. Her research interests lie primarily in the domain of overlap between psychology and physiology, including topics such as sexual health and mindfulness/meditation. She hopes to pursue a career in medicine.

Giuliana Chimarios

Giuliana Chimarios is currently a student at Dr. Charles Best Secondary School. Her interests include dancing, swimming and spending her spare time in the outdoors. She one day hopes to attend the University of British Columbia to pursue her education in Health Sciences.

Alyssa Greco

Alyssa is currently a grade twelve student at Notre Dame Regional Secondary School. She is also taking Psychology 100 and 101 at Corpus Cristi College and after high school hopes to continue her study in Psychology at SFU.  In addition to this Alyssa is part of a competitive dancing team, her school show choir and all drama productions put on by Notre Dame.

Rose Aunaetitrakul

Rose is currently an undergraduate student studying Psychology at the University of British Columbia. Her research interests are sexuality, emotions, memory, motivation, addiction, cognition, and development. She plans to pursue graduate school to become a Clinical Psychologist in the near future.

Adianna Xue

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.

Kendra Coleman

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.

Brynn Lavery, BA

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 as a research assistant in the UBC Sexuality Lab. She is eager to be expanding her experience to the UBC Sexual Health Lab where she will be helping out in the DESIRE study. Her research interests include sexual education, women's sexual disorders and arousal.