Jan. 29, 2020

Emily Boucher

Rhodes Scholar driven to improve the health of older adults through research

Emily Boucher’s mind started racing. She was on the plane about to depart from Winnipeg back to home to Calgary. Just prior to take off, her phone rang.

It was late November and she had interviewed earlier in the day with a panel from the Rhodes Trust.

As she answered the phone, Boucher looked nervously at her mom sitting beside her. She answered and learned her dream had come true — Boucher would be heading to Oxford University this fall as a Rhodes Scholar. Her mom captured the moment on her phone.

Born and raised in Calgary, Boucher is a first-year medical student and graduate of the Bachelor of Health Sciences program at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM).

Boucher, an avid researcher, is passionate about improving the health of older adults. During her time at the CSM, she has contributed to multiple basic science and clinical research projects. Boucher did her honours thesis, studying the role of an antimicrobial protein (cathelicidin) in encouraging macrophages (a type of white blood cell) to kill bacteria. 

Two of her research projects have been published in scientific journals. She is also an alumna of the Markin Undergraduate Student Research Program and was mentored by Dr. Eduardo Cobo, DVM, PhD.

In 2018, Boucher spent the summer evaluating technologies used in the care of seniors in Hong Kong. Her research evaluated the relationship between sleep features (time awake, deep sleep) measured by wrist-worn electronic sensors (a version of the Fitbit) and a clinical sleep quality survey tool in a group of elderly persons. The research will be used to help develop technology to aid the diagnosis and management of sleep disorders in the elderly.

At UCalgary, Boucher founded the Campus Community Closet, which provided students in need with clothing and other supplies. At Oxford this fall, Boucher intends to continue pursuing study to advance care for older adults.