G.Y. Robin Hsiung

Wall Associate


Associate Professor


Centre for Brain Health





Geographic Location

G.Y. Robin Hsiung

Primary Recipient Awards

G.Y. Robin Hsiung – International Research Roundtables – 2014

Bending the Knotted Oak: What do clinical Music Therapy and research in Music Cognition add to the Management of Neurodevelopmental Disorders?
Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Robin Hsiung, School of Medicine, UBC; Dr. Larry Frisch, School of Population and Public Health, UBC; and Professor Rena Sharon, School of Music, UBC.
In the last two decades, we have seen enormous advances in our understanding of how music is processed by the human brain. We now know that humans respond to music using specialized brain pathways that overlap with those involved with language processing, confirming the intimiate relationship between music and linguistic characteristic of poetry, chant, and song. As our knowledge of music cognition advances so too has the profession of music therapy strengthened its base in neurological science and clinical epidemiology. There is now a large and growing evidence base showing that music therapy has impact on a variety of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders, including stroke and other acquired brain injury. Recognizing the increasing well-delineated therapeutic effect of music on brain disorders, many Canadian and US universities have established inter-disciplinary research institutes to bring together scholars with expertise in cognitive psychology, neurology, music, music therapy, and related discipline in order to expand our understanding of music cognition and of music therapy’s clinical efficacy. These institutes have created innovative research programs that have broken traditional barriers between the arts and medicine, and have led to new knowledge in basic science and clinical care. Much is known, much new knowledge still needs to find its way into daily practice, and a great deal remains to be discovered.
The purpose of this Roundtable is to determine the most relevant research questions around the science underlying the therapeutic applications of music therapy today and to define current best evidence for therapeutic benefit of music therapy in the treatment of neurological conditions as well as potential barriers to effective implementation of current knowledge in BC. It is also our goal to clarify physical and human infrastructure needed for UBC to become a significant contributor to new knowledge around therapeutic music interventions for neurological conditions. For instance, relevant academic disciplines within UBC and partner institutions will be identified to establish effective research collaboration across institutional.

Co-Principal Investigator Awards

William Forde Thompson – International Visiting Research Scholars – 2019

Known for his warmly inclusive speech style and remarkable skills in presenting complex research, Dr. Thompson will review existing research and theory on how music and other creative arts have been used to nurture social cohesion and community resilience across segments of society. Special attention will be directed towards the benefits of creative arts programs for disadvantaged groups, whether arising from physical or cognitive disability, social exclusion or marginalisation, or both.
Dr Thompson will present a framework for the investigation and promotion of intercultural music engagement (IME), along with an outline of its implications for education and social policy.

Dr. Thompson will bring extensive research insight on the psychosocial and neurological benefits of the creative arts for individuals with physical and cognitive impairment as well as innovative work on how music can impact intercultural understanding, issues related to refugees and recent migrants. Working closely with hosts, Ève Poudrier and Rena Sharon (School of Music), Silke Appel-Cresswell, Jon Stoessl and Robin Hsiung (Medicine-Neurology), and Christina Hoppman (Health Psychology), Dr. Thompson will help foster research and practice initiatives focused on disability and marginalization in multicultural societies, addressing questions of how engagement with the creative arts can increase cultural fluency and facilitate collaboration across individuals and communities.
Links between existing research groups will stimulate avenues of research that have gained momentum through the Centre for Brain Health (co-director, Jon Stoessl) and Brain Wellness Program (Silke Appel-Cresswell), and several Research Excellence Clusters.