Office: Harbour Centre, Room 2800

John R. Best

Term Lecturer | University Research Associate

John R. Best completed his PhD at the University of Georgia, and has since completed postdoctoral fellowships at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of British Columbia. Most recently, Dr. Best was a Research Associate at the University of British Columbia in the Aging, Mobility, and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory. Dr. Best’s research interests fall within the emerging, interdisciplinary field of health neuroscience, which aims to understand how the brain both affects and is affected by physical health.

The aim of this work is to:

  • Gain a better understanding the modifiable risk factors for cognitive impairment and dementia. 
  • Identify the role of neurocognition, both independently and in interaction with environmental and social factors and incentives, in determining adherence to positive health behaviours.
  • Design lifestyle interventions that reduce dementia risk and manage its progression.

This work has been supported by fellowships from the US National Institutes of Health, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.


  • PhD (Psychology), University of Georgia
  • MSc (Psychology), University of Georgia
  • BA (Psychology), Emory University


Behavioral science; cognition; statistics; executive function; rehabilitation medicine; cognitive neuroscience; lifespan development

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

  • Best, J. R., Falck, R. S., Landry, G. J., & Liu‐Ambrose, T. (2019). Analysis of dynamic, bidirectional associations in older adult physical activity and sleep quality. Journal of sleep research, 28(4), e12769.
  • Best, J. R., Liu-Ambrose, T., Metti, A. L., Rosso, A. L., Satterfield, S., Studenski, S., ... & Health, Aging and Body Composition Study. (2018). Longitudinal associations between walking speed and amount of self-reported time spent walking over a 9-year period in older women and men. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, 73(9), 1265-1271.
  • Best, J. R., Davis, J. C., & Liu-Ambrose, T. (2015). Longitudinal Analysis of Physical Performance, Functional Status, Physical Activity, and Mood in Relation to Executive Function in Older Adults Who Fall. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 63, 1112-1120.
  • Best, J. R., Liu-Ambrose, T., Boudreau, R. M., Ayonayon, H. N., Satterfield, S., Simonsick, E. M., Studenski, S., Yaffe, K., Newman, A. B., & Rosano, C., for the Health Aging, and Body Composition Study. (2016). An evaluation of the longitudinal, bidirectional associations between gait speed and cognition in older women and men. Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 71, 1616-1623.
  • Best, J. R., Rosano, C., Aizenstein, H. J., Tian, Q., Boudreau, R. M., Ayonayon, H. N., Satterfield, S., Simonsick, E. M., Studenski, S., Yaffe, K., & Liu-Ambrose, T., for the Health Aging, and Body Composition Study. (2017). Long-term changes in physical activity and subsequent structural brain changes in older adults. Neurobiology of Aging, 57, 153-161.