Julien Gibon

40 under 40: Julien Gibon

The Kelowna Chamber partners with BDO on the Top 40 Under 40

Julien describes himself as an immigrant, who moved from France in 2011 with his wife and four-month-old son. In Montreal he spent four years working at the best neurological centre in Canada, the Montreal Neurological Institute. He moved with his family to the Okanagan in January 2016 to work at UBC Okanagan as a lab manager in a laboratory of Neuroscience. In 2019 he was promoted assistant professor without review and started his research lab studying the neurobiology of memory. He has been teaching courses in neurobiology, clinical neuroscience and psychology to more than 850 students in the last four years. His lab is very active with undergraduate and graduate students (Master and Ph. D students). He received funding from The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to study the impact of a genetic mutation on memory. He is also the president of the Parent Advisory Council of the francophone school L’Anse-au-sable.

Julien has been in a leadership position at UBCO since January 2016. First, as a lab manager, he was in charge of training all the students in the lab and making essential decisions about every lab project (more than ten projects simultaneously). He maintains an exceptional work environment in which students thrive and feel respected. Many students from his class want to volunteer in the lab and pursue further work because they know about his leadership style. He is open to discussion, cares about their success, and provides clear goals and expectations. From strength-based leadership, his top one is Harmony, which he believes defines his leadership very well. He creates an exceptional environment for people to succeed. He is now leading his research lab with the same idea and still managing the previous lab. He mentors one undergraduate and six graduate students as well as a technician. He is recognized as a leader in neuroscience research at UBCO.

He volunteers in two main domains: At his kids’ school, L’anse-au-sable (310 students) and UBCO (12,000 persons working or studying here). He was elected president of the Parent Advisory Council in 2019. He is a liaison between the parents and the school director. His role is also to promote the school, supervise and organize fundraising, and discuss and propose a plan for the school’s future. They collected via grants and fundraising more than $60,000 over the last four years and redistributed everything to the students via the purchase of books, time at the CNC Kelowna for skating, graduation ceremony and many other activities. L’Anse-au-sable is critical to the francophone community in Kelowna, and he is proud to serve the community as much as possible. At UBCO, he volunteers to organize events promoting knowledge translation: he organizes conferences for students to present their research. He firmly believes that we need to better connect research to the public, and those events are crucial to achieving this goal.

Julien received a Ph.D. in neurobiology and neuroscience from the University of Grenoble (France)

He also received five-year research funding from The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (more than $150,000) in 2021. He received a certificate from Management@UBCO in 2019. Two students working in his lab received a prestigious Undergraduate Research Award and an NSERC Undergraduate Research Award to perform research under his supervision, one in 2021 and one in 2022.

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