UBC Exercise, Kinesiology and Health Seminar Program & Webinars

UBC Vancouver’s School of Kinesiology, UBC Okanagan’s School of Health and Exercise Sciences hosts a monthly UBC Exercise, Kinesiology, and Health Seminar Program. The seminar program is a forum for critical academic discussion between students and faculty members from all disciplines.

The seminars are designed to expand knowledge about topics from the broad field of kinesiology and health studies for graduate students and faculty members.

Upcoming Speakers:

Dr. Kate Thomas, Senior Lecturer, Department of Surgical Sciences, University of Otago

Dr. Katherine Tamminen, professor of sport psychology at UofT

Carrie Esopenko, Assistant Professor Department of Rehabilitation and Movement Sciences, Rutgers University

Dr. Erica Bennett, professor of Sport and Exercise Psychology, UBC Vancouver.

Past speakers:

Dr. Heather Gainforth

Engaging in Research: Advancing the Science and Practice of Research Partnership

Dr. Gainforth’s academic training in Health Promotion, Knowledge Translation and Kinesiology has fostered her belief that evidence-based health promotion interventions and guidelines must be widely disseminated both in general and special populations. Her research aims to close the gap between health behaviour change research and practice by examining knowledge translation – the act of moving research evidence into the hands of research users. Her emerging research program aims to identify, develop and implement novel strategies for disseminating evidence-based health information and interventions to populations. Her systems-based research is grounded in behaviour change theory and techniques and is guided by strong collaborations between researchers and communities.

Watch the recorded seminar:
Post seminar Q&A not included.

Please look under each speaker profile for their recorded seminar.

2020/2021 Seminar Series::

Dr. Maureen MacDonald

Training your arteries – vascular function with exercise training in healthy and clinical populations

Maureen J MacDonald received her Honours BSc in Chemistry from Acadia University, Canada, in 1991 and her MSc (1993) and PhD (1998) in Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo, Canada. After post-doctoral research fellowships at the University of British Columbia and the University of Western Ontario she started her academic career as a faculty member at Wilfrid Laurier University. Since 2000 she has been a faculty member in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada, where she is a full professor and is the Dean of Science.

Dr. MacDonald the director of the Vascular Dynamics Laboratory. Her research interests are in the area of integrative exercise physiology. Most recently, together with her research team, she has been examining the impact of high intensity interval training on the blood vessels and heart in individuals with coronary artery disease and the use of heat therapy as an alternative to exercise training. She normally teaches a weekly high intensity interval training class in the McMaster fitness facility which is now being offered remotely from her family room due to the pandemic.

Dr. Daniel Lieberman

Are we born to rest or run?

Daniel Lieberman is Professor and Chair of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, and the Edwin M. Lerner II Professor of Biological Sciences at Harvard University. He is also a member of Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. He was educated at Harvard (AB ’86 Summa cum Laude, PhD ’93) and Cambridge (M.Phil. ’97).

His research is on how and why the human body is the way it is, and the relevance of human evolution to contemporary health. Major research foci include the evolution of long distance walking and running abilities, the effects of shoes on locomotor biomechanics and injury, and the evolution of the highly unusual human head. To address these questions, he combines experimental biomechanics and physiology, paleontology, and comparative anatomy.

He has ongoing fieldwork projects in Kenya and Mexico. At Harvard, he teaches a variety of courses on human evolution, anatomy, and physiology. In addition to many articles, he has published several books including The Evolution of the Human Head (Harvard University Press, 2011), and The Story of the Human Body (Pantheon, 2013). He is an avid runner.

Dr. Janelle Joseph

Anti-Racist and Decolonial Approaches to Exercise Sciences.

Although the diversity among participants in Canadian athletic spaces and students in Kinesiology and Exercise Sciences programs has steadily increased, our organizations still struggle to develop a deep understanding of (anti-)racism issues, awareness of ongoing structural barriers, and actions to ensure representation and justice for those who experience racialization and oppression. Dr. Joseph will share her perspectives on decolonizing sport studies and her research that takes a data-driven, evidence-based approach to exposing the operations of whiteness in sport and education.

Dr. Janelle Joseph is an award-winning Assistant Professor in Critical Studies of Race in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education at the University of Toronto. She is Founder and Director of the Indigeneity, Diaspora, Equity, and Anti-racism in Sport (IDEAS) Research Lab and author of the text Sport in the Black Atlantic: Cricket Canada and the Caribbean Diaspora. Dr Joseph’s current research focuses on decolonizing sport studies, and anti-racism activism among Black athletes and educators.

Dr. Paul E Zehr

Professor, Sensorimotor Neuroscience, University of Victoria.
From Batman to Brain and Back Again.
A life in science is a journey that rarely follows a strict and linear path. This “fireside chat” outlines a perspective and lived experience of following the passions of martial arts, popular culture, and knowledge sharing as they converge in a career in sensorimotor neuroscience.

Dr. Corliss Bean

Collaborating with Community Organizations to Facilitate Healthy Development.

Dr. Corliss Bean is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at Brock University. Her research involves working with community organizations at local and national levels to development, implement and evaluate programming with the goal of fostering youth psychosocial development. Corliss is also a member of Youth Research and Evaluation eXchange’s Provincial Academic Network. Dr. Corliss’s interests include positive youth development, life skill development, sport psychology, girls and women, and coaching.

Dr. Janice Forsyth

Associate Professor, Sociology
Director, Indigenous Studies
Faculty of Social Science, Western University

Land, rights, and reciprocity: Indigenous sport is not an EDI issue

Public dialogues about Indigenous sport in Canada are typically inserted into equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) categories. While certainly there are overlapping areas of concern, such as increasing the number of Indigenous athletes and coaches in competitive sport and addressing racism, framing Indigenous sport as an EDI issue poses fundamental challenges for Indigenous people.

Not only does it reinforce settler colonial beliefs, practices, and structures about sport, it marginalizes the critical ways Indigeneous people are using sport for Indigenous nation-building and cultural revitalization. In this presentation, I make a distinction between Indigenous vs. settler sport to explain why Indigenous sport must be understood apart from EDI frameworks and the pitfalls, especially for researchers, of not making this distinction.

Dr. Jennifer Heisz

Exercise for Brain Health.

Dr. Heisz is an Associate Professor in Kinesiology and Associate Director (Seniors) of the Physical Activity Centre of Excellence at McMaster University. Dr. Heisz received her Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience (McMaster) and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest. Dr. Heisz directs the NeuroFit Lab (www.neurofitlab.com) which is funded by the Alzheimer Society, Banting Foundation, Natural Science and Engineering Council of Canada, and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation. Dr. Heisz’s research examines the effects of physical activity on brain function to promote mental health and cognition in young adults, older adults and individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. Recent honours include receiving an Early Researcher Award from the Government of Ontario and the Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award.

Dr. Jordan Guenette

An exercise physiologist's approach to rehabilitation research.

Dr. Guenette received his BHK, MSc and PhD in the School of Kinesiology at the University of British Columbia and his postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Medicine at Queen’s University. Dr. Guenette is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at UBC and is the Associate Director of the UBC Centre for Heart Lung Innovation at St. Paul's Hospital. The goal of his research program is to develop more effective rehabilitation interventions to improve exercise performance, symptoms, and quality of life for those suffering from chronic respiratory diseases.

Dr. Karla Galaviz

Diabetes prevention approaches: The efficacy and effectiveness of lifestyle modification.

Dr. Galaviz obtained her BA from the University of Guadalajara, Mexico, her MSc and PhD from Queen’s University, Canada, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Emory University, US. Galaviz is now an Assistant Professor of Global Health at Emory. She is an implementation scientist working at the intersection of lifestyle, HIV and cardiometabolic diseases. Her work encompasses implementing proven diabetes prevention interventions in real-world settings and developing tools to inform public health and clinical practice.

Dr. Pascal Bernatchez

The endothelium and endothelial function in atherosclerosis and heritable aortopathies: from bystanders to drug targets.

Dr. Pascal Bernatchez has a long track-record of studying blood vessels. He earned his B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the University of Montreal (1997). His graduate training was done in Dr. Martin G. Sirois’ laboratory at the Montreal Heart Institute where he obtained his M.Sc. (1999) and Ph.D. (2003) degrees in collaboration with the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Montreal, where he received 7 studentships and 12 academic awards. He then trained as a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. William C. Sessa laboratory at Yale University (2003-2007), where he studied novel molecular approaches to increase the synthesis of atheroprotective Nitric Oxide.

Since his relocation to the University of British Columbia in 2007, Dr. Bernatchez has received major research grants and awards. He was a Scholar from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR). His laboratory receives operations funding from CIHR, MSFHR, HSFC, NSERC, the Rare Disease Foundation, MITACS and the Jain Foundation. His current and past MSc and PhD students have received salary awards / graduate studentships from CIHR, NSERC, the BC Proteomics Network and the Governor General of Canada.

Dr. Calvin Kuo

Measuring Human Motion in the Wild.

Calvin Kuo is a new assistant professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering heading the human motion biomechanics laboratory (HuMBL: http://humbl.bme.ubc.ca/) based out of the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility at the Vancouver General Hospital. His work focuses on the use of wearable inertial measurement unit sensors to study human motion in natural real-world environments. In particular, he is interested in quantifying the biomechanics of impacts in order to study mechanisms of injury such as anterior cruciate ligament tears or mild traumatic brain injuries, and also study how humans respond to and recover from sudden movement perturbations. His lab also studies how the brain utilizes its own biological inertial measurement unit sensors, the vestibular organs located in the inner ear, to perceive its own movements in space.

Here, he employs statistical models to understand how sensory afferent neurons encode uncertainty and how the brain interprets noisy information to form sometimes illusory perceptions. As a member of SBME, he also works directly with clinicians to develop tools to automatically assess human movement for clinical or diagnostic purposes. As an example, he is currently working with members of the BC Children’s hospital to automatically identify abnormal movement behaviors indicative of psychological disorders in videos of children. While the lab's research covers different topics, the theme of the research lies in the study of human movement. Prior to his position at UBC, Calvin obtained his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University and was a Killam postdoctoral fellow under Jean-Sebastien Blouin in Kinesiology and Dinesh Pai in Computer Science at UBC.


Professional Development Sessions:

Title: Professional development session on Alternative careers after PhD
Panel of invited speakers
Date: March 10th, 3:30 pm.

This is a professional development session targeted to graduate students.

Invited Speakers:

  • Dr. Adam Campbell (PhD Kinesiology, Neuromechanics 2012) Practice Lead, Human Factors.
  • Dr. Justin Davis (PhD Human Kinetics 2010) Medical and Scientific Liaison, Merck Pharmaceuticals.
  • Dr. Ben Sporer, Director, Performance Strategy, Research, and Innovation - WhiteCaps FC.
  • Dr. Jane Labreche, (Bkin 99, MSc Kin 01, PhD 13), Sport Science and Medicine Advisor, Own The Podium.

Careers after Graduate School


Mike Kennefick (PhD), Business Development Specialist, Mitacs
Dr. Kennefick is a graduate of the School of Health and Exercise Sciences at UBC Okanagan where he conducted his research in the field of behavioural neuroscience. Over the course of his doctoral and postdoctoral studies, he was involved in various partnered research projects that used an integrated knowledge translation approach. Following the completion of his postdoctoral studies, he joined Mitacs as a Business Development Specialist where he creates partnered research opportunities for students between academia and industry.

Maria Gallo, PhD, Director, Masters of High Performance Coaching & Technical Leadership Program at UBC
As a trained coach and retired national team athlete (rugby and bobsleigh), Maria is able to supplement her teaching and can interest the students further with real-life examples and cases encountered in the world of sports science. Her current role as the Head Coach of the Women’s Varsity Rugby Team compliments her duties as the primary advisor of the Master in Kinesiology (coaching stream) and the new Graduate Program in High Performance Coaching and Technical Leadership.
Maria is strongly committed to the highest pedagogic standards and dedicated to achieving outstanding distinction in areas of instruction and service.

Matt Dolf, PhD, Director, Strategic Support UBC Wellbeing
Matt’s diverse career is connected by a passion for deepening our understanding of how societies can promote human and ecological wellbeing. He is currently the Director for UBC Wellbeing, a collaborative effort to make UBC a health promoting university where all people, places, and communities can flourish. His other roles include leadership positions with the Canadian Health Promoting Campuses Network; the UBC United Way Campaign; the Vancouver 2014 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games; Tennis BC; and the Intentional Academy of Sports Science & Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland. Matt holds a Doctorate in the field of sport and sustainability from the UBC School of Kinesiology, a Master in Sports Administration from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, and a B.A. in Sport and Leisure Administration from UVic. He has researched and published in the areas of sport management, environmental impact assessment, sustainability, and health promotion. Matt has lived on four continents, speaks three languages, and loves nothing more than spending time outdoors with his wife and daughter.

Chantelle Murnaghan, PhD, Director, Whitespace Labs at lululemon
As Director of the Whitespace Labs with lululemon, Murnaghan leads a team, which provides scientific insights, research and advanced prototyping to support the entire product creation process; enabling new business value generation and ensuring we launch products, services and experiences that solve true guest needs and deliver technical storytelling.

Mary Jung, PhD, Director of Diabetes Prevention Research Group
Mary is an Associate Professor in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences. She is the Director of the Diabetes Prevention Research Group and Small Steps for Big Changes. Mary’s major research area is self-regulation of health behaviours, with a specialization in exercise, physical activity, and dietary behaviours, and the creation of community-based self-regulatory skills interventions for individuals at risk or living with Type 2 Diabetes.



Zoom Registration link: Click Here.


COVID-19 Webinar:

Being physically active is as good for the mind as it is for the body. In fact, the BC Provincial Health Authority recommends that people stay active during the COVID-19 pandemic to help support overall well-being.

This webinar explores the role that different types of physical activity play in improving stamina, resilience, sleep, cognitive function, and how we feel and think in our everyday lives. Learn how physical activity affects the brain and helps us manage stress and trauma. Discover professional approaches to starting or maintaining a physically active lifestyle in this time of physical distancing, uncertainty and seasonal change.

Presented in partnership with UBC Faculty of Medicine and UBC School of Kinesiology, Faculty of Education.


Kathryn Gretsinger, MJ’06 – Associate Professor of Teaching, UBC School of Journalism, Writing & Media; Director, Global Reporting Centre; Journalist; Senior Faculty Advisor to the UBC President. She is a longtime public broadcaster at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, with a record of creating award-winning work at the local and national level in Canada. Kathryn is also a Killam Teaching Prize winner and she was named as one of North America’s top innovative journalism educators in 2018.

In October 2019, Kathryn was named senior faculty advisor to President Santa Ono. In her new role, she advises him on how to tackle mental health challenges that exist on post-secondary campuses and is helping develop new initiatives around the issue. She has had a long-term interest in mental health, having written stories on mental health for a large duration of her journalism career.

Kathryn leads the School’s Integrated Journalism course, where students learn about professional practice, journalism skills and digital technologies. She also coordinates the internship program and supports students transitioning into professional practice. She has helped to place students in professional practicums across the country and around the world. As a key member of the Global Reporting Centre, she works as an instructor and producer for the annual Global Reporting Program projects and helps to shape conversations about local and global journalism. She is also an instructor for UBC’s unique Reporting in Indigenous Communities course.

There is a strong social justice undercurrent to Kathryn’s work. Her commitment to teaching, reporting and fostering dialogue about issues of social justice, Indigenous relations and mental health appear in the courses she teaches and key collaborations, including the National Student Investigative Reporting Network and her work with UBC’s mental health and wellness community of practice.



Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose, BSc’94, MSc’98, PhD’04 – Professor, Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity, Mobility, and Cognitive Neuroscience, UBC Department of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Medicine; Lead of the Physical Activity for Precision Health Research Cluster.

Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose, PhD, PT, is a Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, Co-Director of the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, and Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity, Mobility, and Cognitive Health. Dr. Liu-Ambrose is an associate member of the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health. Dr. Liu-Ambrose’s research focuses on understanding the role of exercise in promoting cognitive and mobility outcomes in older adults. Her research findings have been implemented into clinical practice, community programs, and influenced international practice guidelines to promote healthy aging.

Dr. Liu-Ambrose is Lead of the Physical Activity for Precision Health Research Cluster at UBC. It is the mission of the cluster, in collaboration with community members, to develop, test, implement, and monitor physical activity programs that are tailored with precision to the varied needs of children and adults of varying demographics, capacities, and health statuses.

Dr. Eli Puterman, MA’04, PhD’09 - Assistant Professor, Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity and Health, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar, UBC School of Kinesiology, Faculty of Education; Co-Lead of the Physical Activity for Precision Health Research Cluster

Dr. Eli Puterman is Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity and Health. His research seeks to understand the interplay among stress, aging, and exercise. Dr. Puterman is developing and tailoring intervention trials, supplemented with laboratory-based stress manipulations and ambulatory psychological assessments, to examine the effects of habitual physical activity on immune cell health (i.e. telomere biology, mitochondria biogenesis), epigenetic alterations and protein synthesis, autonomic and neuroendocrine stress reactivity, and ecologically assessed affective and cognitive reactivity.

Dr. Puterman is Co-Lead of the Physical Activity for Precision Health Research Cluster at UBC. It is the mission of the cluster, in collaboration with community members, to develop, test, implement, and monitor physical activity programs that are tailored with precision to the varied needs of children and adults of varying demographics, capacities, and health statuses.


Summer 2020 Seminar Series:

Date Topic
May 8 Dr. Robert Shave, Professor & Director of the School of Health & Exercise Sciences, UBC Okanagan
"Has the human heart been selected for endurance exercise?"
May 15 Dr. Rober Boushel, Professor & Director of the School of Kinesiology
"Cardiovascular and muscle metabolic adaptations to dynamic exercise training"
May 22 Dr. Kathleen Martin Ginis, UBC Okanagan
"Exercise and spinal cord injury: From guidelines to practice"
May 29 Dr. John Kramer, UBC Vancouver
"Quantifying pain: Is it possible and should you care?"
June 5 Dr. Phil Ainslie, UBC Okanagan
"Regulation of cerebral blood flow in humans; Old concepts, new ideas"
June 12 Dr. Andrea Bundon, UBC Vancouver
"Disability sport research as advocacy work"
June 19 Dr. Jonathan Little, UBC Okanagan
"Nutritional ketosis in health and performance"
June 26 Dr. Eli Puterman, UBC Vancouver
"Exercising during stressful experiences: Impacts on physical and psychological wellbeing"

“Has the human heart been selected for endurance exercise?”
Presented by: Dr. Rob Shave, director of UBCO- School of Health and Exercise Sciences
Dr. Robert Shave’s research examines the acute and chronic effects of exercise and/or environmental stress upon the heart.Using echocardiography and biomarkers Dr. Shave and his colleagues have provided insight into the beneficial and potentially negative effects of endurance exercise upon the heart, the influence of exercise on cardiac remodeling and the ventricular mechanics that underpin cardiac function in health and disease.Recently, Dr. Shave established the International Primate Heart Project to examine heart disease in great apes and to provide insight into the evolution of the human heart. Dr. Shave’s work will continue to combine comparative and experimental physiology approaches to further understand structural and functional cardiovascular adaptations to exercise in a range of populations with a specific focus on human evolution and the potential of cardiovascular mismatch disease.