Postdoctoral Research Fellows


Dr. Ryan Hoiland

Supervisor: Dr. Philip Ainslie

Ryan Hoiland is a Mitacs Elevate funded post-doctoral research fellow. His research aims to determine the mechanisms that regulate oxygen delivery to the brain during reductions in blood oxygen levels. He also has further research interests investigating the interaction between shear stress and vascular function in the brain and how this relates to adaptations to exercise.

In his time at UBCO Ryan has had the opportunity to travel abroad to conduct his PhD work in the Laboratory for Integrative Physiology, University of Split School of Medicine, Split, Croatia, the Cardiovascular Research Laboratory, Perth, Australia, the Ev-K2-CNR Pyramid Research Laboratory in the Khumbu region of the Himalayas, and most recently Cerro de Pasco in Peru. Through these experience Ryan has developed collaborations and acquired new skills that have aided him in the pursuit of his research interests.



Dr. Elena Ivanova

Supervisor: Dr. Mary Jung

Current Research: Elena’s research involves testing the effectiveness of an exercise intervention that will be delivered at the community level. The primary aims of the research program are to improve the health outcomes of adults with pre-diabetes and to ensure the successful implementation of the program in the community.

Future Aspirations: To engage in research at the interface of exercise psychology and implementation science to ensure the wide availability of exercise programs that aim to increase the physical activity levels of low active adults.

When time permits, I love to travel and explore new places, to cook, and trail running.


Dr. Mike Kennefick

Co-supervisors: Dr. Brian Dalton & Dr. Heather Gainforth

Current research: Mike’s research focuses on identifying the mechanisms involved in the preparation of simple and complex movements. His research also focuses on integrating bench research with knowledge translation concepts.

Awards: 3-year MITACS Industrial Postdoctoral Fellow

Future aspirations: To create a research program in which public and private sectors cooperate to answer common questions.



Dr. Sean Locke

Co-supervisors: Dr. Mary Jung & Dr. Jonathan Little

Current Research: Dr. Locke is a health behaviour change scientist who designs and coordinates behavioural health trials. Currently, he is coordinating a digital weight-loss trial examining a ketogenic diet app VS low-calorie commercial app, is examining the effectiveness of a community-based diabetes prevention program, and is coordinating a diabetes and mental health environmental scan to co-develop community-university research partnerships in the BC Southern Interior.

Dr. Locke conducts acute studies to examine how psychological mechanisms, like cognitive biases, perpetuate non-adherence to exercise. He then uses those findings to develop and test exercise counselling strategies, called cognitive reframing, to attenuate the negative impact of cognitive biases on exercise.

Awards: MITACS Accelerate International Postdoctoral Award (2019-20), Canadian Diabetes Association Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award (2016-9) and Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award (2016-9)

Future Aspirations: To optimize behavioural interventions through the development of cognitive counselling techniques to challenge the negative lens through which many individuals view exercise.


Dr. Barbara Oliveira

Supervisor: Dr. Jonathan Little

Current Research: Barbara is a Registered Dietitian interested in all aspects of diet related to metabolism. Her past experiences include in vitro studies with antioxidant vitamins in populations such as Alzheimer’s and Type 1 Diabetes.Her recent research aims to investigate glycemic control, inflammation, satiety and other metabolic outcomes of an exogenous ketone supplement and the low carbohydrate/high fat diet approach in type 2 diabetes.

Future Aspirations: to proceed with research and continue in the academic environment.

Barbara is a mother of two kids, loves CrossFit and expects staying in Canada for good!


Dr. Matthew Stork

Co-supervisors: Dr. Mary Jung & Dr. Jonathan Little

Current Research: The main focus of Matt’s research to date has been to examine the psychological, physiological, and behavioural implications of engaging in high-intensity interval training (HIIT). He has a particular interest in studying largely inactive populations, with an emphasis on determining ways to promote and maximize long-term exercise adherence. Matt’s current research is focused on using his lab-based expertise towards developing and delivering novel exercise programs in real-world settings such as the workplace. Building on his previous experience working as a strength and conditioning coach at McMaster University, Dr. Stork is also currently conducting research involving the study of functional movement and fitness.

Awards: Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Post-Doctoral Fellow Award
Mitacs Accelerate Postdoctoral Internship

Future Aspirations: To become a fully independent health and exercise sciences researcher with the skillset to manage an interdisciplinary lab group with expertise in exercise psychology and physiology.


Dr. Joshua Tremblay

Co-supervisors: Dr. Philip Ainslie & Dr. Rob Shave

Current research: Josh’s research focuses on how the environment shapes cardiovascular function. My research combines lab and field-based approaches to understand cardiovascular adaptations and maladaptations to stressors, in particular high-altitude. Josh is also working with the International Primate Heart Project to provide insight on vascular structure and function in great apes and how evolution may have influenced postindustrial humans’ susceptibility to cardiovascular disease.

Awards: Killam Postdoctoral Fellowship and NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship

Josh makes the most of living in the Okanagan by running ultramarathons, paddling on the lake, and frequenting farmers’ markets and the ever-growing number of craft breweries.


Dr. Jeremy Walsh

Supervisor: Dr. Jonathan Little
Co-Supervisor: Dr. Philip Ainslie

Current Research: Jeremy’s overarching research interest is to investigate how behaviours that span the entire day impact brain function and health, and use this knowledge to develop interventions for the improvement of brain health across the lifespan. To date, this research has primarily focused on the psychophysiological responses to exercise, sleep, screen time, fasting, and cognitive training in children, university students, and older adults. Currently, Jeremy is investigating the effect of pre-meal exogenous oral ketone supplementation on glycemic control, cardiovascular function, cognition, and immune function in individuals with elevated risk of type 2 diabetes.

Awards: Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Fellowship Award


Dr. Stephen Wright

Supervisor: Dr. Neil Eves

Current Research: Stephen’s research aims to elucidate processes through which the heart, lungs, and vasculature interact, and how their integrated function facilitates or limits exercise capacity. His program spans the health spectrum from athletic and untrained healthy adults to those with chronic heart and/or lung conditions and uses non-invasive and invasive techniques to quantify heart, lung, and vascular function. His postdoctoral work is focused on the impact of breathing mechanics on ventricular function during exercise in older adults. Stephen also serves as a director for the Canadian Cardiovascular Society Academy.

Previous Experience: Stephen completed his Ph.D. in Medical Science and M.Sc. in Exercise Science at the University of Toronto and Mount Sinai Hospital. His work included cardiac catheterization-based studies describing right ventricular-pulmonary vascular hemodynamic responses to exercise in healthy older adults.

Awards: Canadian Respiratory Research Network Fellowship (2019-2021); Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Trainee Award (2019-2022).

Aspirations: To perform and disseminate impactful mechanistic and clinical research that advances our understanding of human physiology and helps to optimize the health of older adults.