Lab Members

Hashim Islam, PhD
Hashim completed an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology (Lethbridge) and then moved to Ontario to pursue a Master’s degree (Laurier). During his master’s, Hashim focused on the impact of exercise on hormones that influence appetite. He then completed a PhD (Queen’s) examining the molecular regulation of mitochondrial biogenesis in human muscle in response to exercise and fasting. As part of the EMIL, Hashim is broadly interested in examining the molecular basis of how inflammatory signalling pathways and mitochondrial metabolism interact under physiological (e.g. exercise, fasting, ketosis) and pathophysiological (e.g. T2D) states. Outside the lab, Hashim likes to hike, cycle, listen to hip-hop, BBQ, read physiology articles and kick it with family/friends!

Matthew Stork, PhD

Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Post-Doctoral Fellow

Matt completed his PhD in Health and Exercise Sciences at UBC Okanagan. While Matt’s research has ranged from investigating first year university students to individuals living with a spinal cord injury, the main focus of his work to date has been to examine the psychological and behavioural implications of engaging in high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Matt has a particular interest in studying largely inactive populations, with an emphasis on determining ways to promote and maximize long-term exercise adherence. As such, Matt has also studied the effects of music as a way of enhancing people’s psychological and physiological responses to exercise and subsequently encouraging future exercise participation.

Matt’s current research in the Exercise, Metabolism, and Inflammation Lab is focused on using his lab-based expertise towards developing and delivering exercise programs in real-world settings such as the workplace.


Google Scholar


Twitter: @mattJstork

Barbara Oliveira, PhD

Dr. Barbara Oliveira is a Registered Dietitian from Brazil. She completed her PhD in Biochemistry and Immunology at the Federal University of Minas Gerais and studied antioxidant vitamins, oxidative stress and type 1 diabetes. Her  MSc was in Neuroscience and focused on Alzheimer’s disease. Barbara’s current research in the Exercise, Metabolism and Inflammation Lab as a postdoctoral fellow will focus on exogenous ketone supplements and  low carbohydrate high fat approaches in Type 2 Diabetes.

Apart from that, she is a mom of two boys, loves sports Nutrition and is addicted to CrossFit.


Twitter: @DrBarbaraFO


Cody Durrer

PhD student

Current Research: Cody’s research focuses on using exercise and diet interventions to improve metabolic health, vascular function, and inflammation in people with type 2 diabetes. His PhD thesis aims to determine the effectiveness of a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet to improve glycemic control and reduce the need for glucose-lowering medications in type 2 diabetes.

Cody grew up in the Okanagan and has a passion for the outdoors. He enjoys hiking, camping, rock climbing, and snowboarding and can often be found exploring with his dog Watson.


Google Scholar


Helena Neudorf

PhD student

Helena has completed her undergrad degree in Human Kinetics at UBC Okanagan and has finished her MSc with Dr. Little. She completed her Honours project with EMIL which was focused on exploring the effects of ketones on inflammatory signaling and epigenetic changes. In her MSc she  expanded on her previous work. When she is not in the wet lab, Helena spends her spare time skiing, swimming, hiking, and cycling.





Garett Jackson

PhD student

Current Research: Garett’s research focuses on the impact of acute submaximal aerobic exercise on immune cell recruitment and mobilization in individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). More specifically, the bout of exercise is based on updated physical activity guidelines for individuals living with SCI.

Garett is from Prince George BC, and moved to the Okanagan in 2013. Outside of academia, Garett enjoys boxing, biking, archery and working on cars.


Twitter: @GarettJackson1




Jonathan Low
PhD student
Jonathan completed his undergraduate degree in Public Health (Epidemiology) at BYU in Utah and his master’s degree under the supervision of Dr. David Behm at Memorial University in Newfoundland. His MSc was in Exercise Physiology and focused on the neuromuscular adaptations of endurance athletes. Current Research: Jonathan’s current research focuses on the intersection of mobile health monitoring and the immunological responses of various forms of exercise in those with inflammatory chronic diseases (specifically type 2 diabetics). With his love of exercise, he is very passionate about the idea of using exercise as medicine for populations who suffer from chronic diseases. Jonathan is proud to call Lethbridge, Alberta home but has been warned that life in Kelowna will be very hard to give up. He is an avid runner, swimmer, and cyclist and enjoys fly fishing and hiking. Most of his free time is spent doing those exact things with his beautiful wife and daughter.

Kaja Falkenhain

Msc student

Kaja was born in the land of sausages, beer and sauerkraut. She holds her undergraduate degree in Cognitive Science (a weird mixture of neuroscience, artificial intelligence, mathematics, philosophy of mind, linguistics, neuropsychology, machine learning and computer science) and completed her thesis exploring the effects of voluntary exercise on brain blood flow in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease in the United States.

After her first visit of Canada for an internship at the UBC Vancouver one year prior, she returned to BC to pursue her Master’s degree with Dr. Little, focusing primarily on the effects and mechanisms of a ketogenic diet and ketone supplements.

Her future aspirations include being able to perform a 25-foot handstand walk and a bar muscle-up, becoming Watson’s favourite lap and acquiring the Canadian sense of humour.


Twitter: @kaja_falkenhain

Kelsey Gudmundson

MSc Student

Kelsey completed her undergraduate degree in Human Kinetics at UBC Okanagan in 2020 where she spent time helping out in the EMIL lab and developing a passion for research. Kelsey is now a first year Master’s student and plans to focus her research on the effects of low carbohydrate dietary interventions and their ability to improve functioning in individuals with Type 2 Diabetes.


Kelsey grew up in small town Saskatchewan before moving to BC in 2016. In her spare time, she enjoys backcountry snowmobiling, hiking, camping, lifting heavy in the gym, skiing poorly at Big White, and discovering Kelowna’s best dessert spots.




Kara Crampton

MSc Student

Kara completed her undergraduate degree in Human Kinetics at UBCO in 2020. She completed an Honours project with EMIL looking at the impact of high-fat (Bulletproof) coffee on cognitive function and measures of satiety. This experience encouraged her to pursue more research by starting her MSc. Her interests revolve around nutrition and cognitive function especially in individuals with Type 2 Diabetes.

Kara has lived in the Okanagan her whole life. She enjoys hiking, kayaking, and exploring the wineries in the local area.


Jake Winkler



Research Coordinator | Airborne Disease Transmission Research Cluster

Jake completed his Master’s in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of British Columbia in 2019. Jake is the Research Coordinator for the newly funded Eminence Cluster at UBCO, called the Airborne Disease Transmission Research Cluster. The Cluster aims to make health care safer by ‘breaking the chain of aerosol transmission’ for diseases like COVID-19. Jake’s role is to ensure the cluster meets research milestones and to assist Dr. Jonathan Little with planning and implementing health research.

In his spare time, Jake is an avid outdoorsman – enjoying multi-day canoe, biking, and hiking trips. Jake also enjoys skiing, running, playing hockey and guitar.




Watson is a research assistant working in EMIL. He likes long walks and welcoming everyone who visits the lab. He is completely unqualified for the job but we keep him around because no one has the heart to fire him.