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!


Alexis Marcotte-Chénard, PhD

“Dr. Alexis Marcotte-Chénard completed his undergraduate degree in Human Kinetics at the University of Sherbrooke (QC, Canada), followed by a master’s degree at the same institution. During his master’s, Alexis focused on the impact of exercise on improving cardiovascular health in women living with type 2 diabetes (T2D). In addition to the clinical aspect of his research, he developed a keen interest in epidemiological studies and meta-analysis. Subsequently, Alexis completed his PhD, where he delved into the non-pharmaceutical management of cardiovascular disease in individuals living with T2D. Employing a diverse array of methods, ranging from omics approaches to epidemiological studies, Alexis focused on understanding how physical activity and sedentary behavior contribute to improving the physical and mental well-being of those living with T2D. Additionally, Alexis undertook a postgraduate microprogram in transversal research skills, concentrating on knowledge dissemination and science popularization. Apart from research, Alexis enjoys moving heavy objects against gravity (i.e., resistance training), hiking with friends, and eating good food!”




Helena Neudorf

PhD student

Helena completed her undergraduate degree in Human Kinetics, followed by a Master’s of Science at UBC Okanagan. During her Master’s, she studied the impact of ketones on inflammatory signalling. This led to her becoming interested in how improving inflammation might simultaneously improve immune function. She is now working on her PhD and her current research is focused on understanding the effect of ketones on markers of immune function in type 2 diabetes. Helena grew up in the outdoorsy town of Squamish and uses her spare time to go backcountry skiing, cycling, hiking and trail running.




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 individuals with type 2 diabetes.). With his love of exercise, he is very passionate about the idea of using exercise as medicine for populations who are living with 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 two daughters.


Spencer Ursel

MSc Student

Spencer completed his BSc at The University of British Columbia Okanagan in biochemistry and molecular biology. During this time, Spencer completed an honours thesis for his research on intest

inal stem cells, designer probiotics, and how they can influence the mucus barrier of the gut. Current research interests for Spencer are a culmination of his personal pursuits in exercise and sport, in addition to his fascination with human metabolism and biology. Spencer’s masters degree will examine how exercise regimes, body composition, and dietary interventions can impact mitochondrial respiration. Apart from laboratory work Spencer is an ultra distance triathlete, and rock climber, he enjoys socializing and surrounds himself with friends and family.



Tori Bouck

MSc Student

Tori completed her undergraduate degree in Kinesiology at Queen’s University, where she

 completed an honours thesis project examining the effect of pre-exercise feeding on acute glycemic responses to high-intensity exercise. Her MSc research involves a pilot study exploring the efficacy and feasibility of an exercise training intervention consisting of brief, isolated bouts of vigorous exercise (“exercise snacks”) among individuals living with type 2 diabetes. Outside of the lab, Tori enjoys running and spending time with family and friends. 





Roderick Sandilands

MSc Student

Roddie graduated with a BSc in Human Kinetics from St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. During this time, he completed his undergraduate honours thesis in the realm of child growth and development investigating physical literacy in children who participate in elite sport and children who attend a well-structured afterschool physical activity program. This experience, along with taking a fourth year exercise metabolism course, motivated Roddie to pursue a master’s degree in health and exercise science. In joining the EMIL, Roddie will build on the Exercise Snacks project by applying this form of high intensity interval training to a clinical population (i.e., individuals living with T2D) with hopes to see improvements in metabolic markers. He is also interested in learning about the role that high intensity training has in improving mitochondrial function.

Outside of the lab, Roddie can be found on the golf course, at the rink, the tennis court, spending time with friends and family, reading, and listening to podcasts.






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.