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!


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 focuses 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



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.

Ali Daraei

PhD student

Ali (Ibram) was born and raised in Ilam, a small city in the west of Iran. He completed his master studies at SBU and now focusing on the impacts of nutritional ketosis on inflammation, lung function, and exercise tolerance in individuals with COPD at EMIL. He is trying to find a way to help cardiorespiratory patients through rehabilitation programs that are based on a psychophysiological method. He passionately likes doing high-quality research and teaching as well. He also is curious about learning/discovering new things (from philosophy and cultures to space and Andromeda) as well as reading ACSM’s books. He enjoys traveling and of course learning through traveling.

Kaja Falkenhain

PhD Candidate

Kaja was born in the land of sausages, beer and sauerkraut. She holds her undergraduate degree in Cognitive Sciences (a weird mixture of neuroscience, artificial intelligence, mathematics, philosophy of mind, linguistics, neuropsychology, machine learning and computer science) and is currently pursuing her PhD degree with Dr. Little, focusing primarily on the effects of carbohydrate restriction and exogenous ketones on cardiometabolic health.

Outside of the lab, Kaja spends significantly too much time scrolling through Twitter, riding her road bike, and cuddling other people’s dogs.

Twitter: @kaja_falkenhain

Google Scholar




Paula Rocha

MSc Student

Paula completed her undergraduate degree in Medicine, following by a Post-graduation in Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2006, both in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Since her post-graduation, she has focused her work on helping patients to prevent and treat diabetes, obesity, and other endocrine diseases. Nowadays, Paula is working on her Master’s Degree in EMIL at UBCO and her current research is focused on understanding Type 2 Diabetes Remission in individuals who achieved it by lifestyle interventions and Bariatric Surgery and their glucose profiles. Outside the lab, she enjoys traveling, hiking and joining with family members and friends.





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.





Sara McCreary

MSc student

Sara completed her undergraduate degree in Human Kinetics at UBCO in 2021. During this time she worked as a student research assistant with EMIL investigating salivary insulin responses to a standardized meal tolerance test. This endeavour motivated her to pursue more research thus leading her into her MSc. For which Sara is interested in investigating the cardiometabolic impact of a novel form of exercise termed ‘Exercise Snacks’ in pragmatic settings. Outside the lab Sara enjoys trying out delicious new recipes, as well as playing any and all sports.