HBIC Award 2023 Winners


The Health and Behavior International Collaborative (HBIC) Award committee and the HBIC’s six sponsoring organisations are pleased to announce the 2023 award winners.

  • Alysha Deslippe and Luz Torres (sponsored by the International Behavioural Trials Network in collaboration with the CIHR-SPOR Chair and the Canadian Behavioural Interventions and Trials Network)
  • Tamla Evans (sponsored by the International Society of Behavioral Medicine)
  • Sol Vidal Almela (sponsored by the Society of Behavioral Medicine)
  • Elizabeth Schneider (sponsored by the German Society for Behavioral Medicine – DGVM)

The purpose of the award is to facilitate mentorship collaborations with international laboratories or research groups under the guidance of an international mentor. Selected mentorship collaborations will pursue specific research or program development projects in the areas of health research, clinical behavioral health, behavioral medicine, or health promotion. Winners are each awarded USD$3,000 to offset the costs of travel and collaborative activities that contribute to building their mentor partnerships.

The quality of the 2023 applications was excellent, and applicants included individuals at various career stages including graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and early career faculty members. Mentors come from nine different host countries, highlighting the international international reach of the award.

Details about each winner, their home institution, mentor institution, and project are provided below. Winner photos are available upon request.

More information:



Alysha Deslippe – Canada

Winner – Sponsored by the Canadian Behavioural Interventions and Trials Network

Home institution: Department of Human Nutrition, University of British Columbia, Canada
Mentor and host institution:
Dr. Molly Byrne, Health Behaviour Change Research Group, University of Galway, Ireland
Email: Alysha.deslippe@bcchr.ubc.ca

Project outline: Alysha is a PhD student researching the role of gender in high school student athletes’ food habits in order to create more inclusive food education tools for schools in the EatGen study. Alysha will train with Professor Molly Byrne and the Health Behaviour Change group in Galway to better understand how to incorporate the perspectives of coaches and athletes through guidance panels. Incorporating this into the EatGen study will help increase the relevancy of the developed food education tool for student athletes and schools.

Luz Torres – Colombia

Winner – Sponsored by the International Behavioural Trials Network and the CIHR-SPOR Chair

Home institution: Fundación Cardioinfantil-Instituto de Cardiología (LaCardio), Bogotá, Colombia
Mentor and host institution:
Yael Bar-Zeev, Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Israel
Email: torreslopez.luzangela@gmail.com 

Project outline: Luz is a public health physician from Colombia. She holds a Masters in Public Health from the Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Luz has been involved in the care of patients with high cardiovascular risk and several projects focusing on the empowerment of patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals in evidence-based medicine with a special focus on cardiovascular disease. This award will support a collaboration with Dr. Yael Bar-Zeev, a leading expert in the fields of behavioral medicine, health promotion, tobacco control, and smoking cessation, and a Senior Lecturer at the Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine. The HBIC award will allow them to develop a protocol for a qualitative multi-level study to explore the barriers and facilitators for providing a brief smoking cessation intervention among hospitalized smokers with high cardiovascular risk in Bogotá. This multi-level study will include interviews with patients, healthcare professionals, and higher-level hospital administrators and stakeholders. This will provide a solid ground to apply for a grant to conduct the project and in the future, develop and implement a behavioral intervention for smoking cessation among hospitalized patients.

Tamla Evans – UK

Winner – Sponsored by the International Society of Behavioral Medicine

Home institution: Leeds Beckett University, UK
Mentor and host institution:
Profs Clare Collins and Tracy Burrows, University of Newcastle, Australia
Email: t.evans4433@student.leedsbeckett.ac.uk

Project: Tamla is a PhD student and Trainee Health Psychologist. Her PhD evaluates the design and delivery of behavioral support for people with Type 2 Diabetes on the NHS Low-Calorie Diet programme. Tamla has collaborated with the University of Newcastle, Australia to develop a cohort study examining temporal relationships between eating behaviors, mental health, and weight change in young adults in the UK and Australia. Under the mentorship of Laureate Prof Clare Collins and Prof Tracy Burrows, this award will extend the collaboration by using the findings to adapt and pilot test an Australian telehealth intervention for addictive eating (TRACE) in a UK sample of young adults, using co-production methods.

Sol Vidal Almela – Canada

Winner – Sponsored by the Society for Behavioral Medicine

Home institution: University of Ottawa, Canada
Mentor and host institution:
Dr. Fran Ortega and the PROFITH Research group, University of Granada, Spain
Email: svida056@uottawa.ca

Project: Sol is nearing the end of her PhD in Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa, Canada, before starting as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Jennifer Reed at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. The HBIC award will allow Sol to collaborate with Dr. Fran Ortega and the PROFITH Research group from the University of Granada, Spain. Through this hybrid collaboration, Sol will work towards: (1) testing and communicating strategies to enhance the recruitment of females for clinical research trials, (2) acquiring technical training in physiological measures related to brain and vascular health, and, (3) producing scholarly work related to sex differences in the brain and vascular health of patients with heart disease.

Elizabeth Schneider – Germany

Winner – Sponsored by the German Society for Behavioral Medicine (DGVM)

Home institution: APC Microbiome Ireland, University College Cork, Ireland
Mentor and host institution:
Prof. Anja Hilbert, University of Leipzig, Germany
Email: eschneider@ucc.ie

Project: Dr Elizabeth Schneider is a postdoctoral researcher interested in understanding the mechanisms underlying overeating in clinical and non-clinical populations. She is based at APC Microbiome Ireland, University College Cork, Ireland, and will travel to the University of Leipzig to work with Prof Anja Hilbert. Elizabeth’s project is focused on gut-targeted interventions to alter top-down processing of appetite control. There is evidence to suggest that the bidirectional communication between the gut microbiome and the brain, comprising the microbiome-gut-brain-axis, may be a viable target to alter top-down processing of appetite control, but this has yet to be investigated in humans. With this award, Dr Schneider will acquire training in electroencephalography (EEG) recordings from Prof Anja Hilbert, an expert in applied EEG techniques, to implement in a project at her home institution. The project will use EEG to measure changes in brain responses to food stimuli before and after a gut-targeted dietary intervention. These findings will inform how the gut-brain axis modulates eating behaviour, connecting eating behaviour, gut microbiome, and neural recordings for the first time in a human sample.