HEAL Trainees

Sneak peeks on student research projects.



Changki Kim, Post Doctoral Fellow

I am a postdoctoral fellow and my ultimate research goals are: 1) to understand neuromuscular mechanisms of altered motor control in older adults and populations with neurological injury, and 2) use this knowledge to develop improved rehabilitation interventions for addressing motor impairments. Current projects that I am focusing on are: 1) tendon vibration effect on force steadiness and motor unit properties in individuals with Parkinson’s disease, 2) sex-related difference in fall location of older adults. I am also working on getting external funds for my future studies.







Rowan Smart, PhD Student

I am a 4th year PhD student and my research focuses on understanding how muscle and tendon work together to allow for functional force control such as balance. I approach this topic from an architectural perspective using ultrasound imaging, as well as neural perspective using EMG and reflexes. My PhD thesis is looking at contributions of reflex pathways, muscle activation strategies, and muscle/tendon mechanics to postural control in populations of males and females, young and old, as well as diseases of Parkinson’s disease and osteoarthritis.





Parisa Alaei, PhD Student

I am a first year PhD student. I got my B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Physiotherapy and Sports Physiotherapy respectively. Now, as a PhD student, I am eager to learn more about the neuromuscular system. I am currently working on a sex-related study about motor unit properties and force steadiness in upper limb.








Dana Ghareeb, PhD Student

I am a 1st year PhD and my research focuses on how the neuromuscular system changes with long-term participation, what factors predispose injury, and how we can optimize neuromuscular systems through training programs in masters athletes and frail older adults. My goal is to create prevention and frail intervention strategies in masters athletes as well as frail individuals. This research can lead to designing a rehabilitation programs to not only reduce injury but maintain functional independence in athletes competing at a high level for long periods of their life. Outcomes from this elite group can extend to prefrail and frail older adults.






Eli Haynes, MSc Student

I am an MSc student in the neuromuscular physiology lab. My academic interests in the field amount to understanding how the numerous processes within the central nervous system interact to purposefully control movement in the human body. My research project is focused on the contribution of reflexive gain in biceps brachii muscle spindle feedback in functional tasks of the upper limbs in groups of young and older adults. I hope that the findings from this project will clarify sex-specific adaptations to force control as people age.







Garry McCracken, MSc Student

As a senior citizen and Masters Athlete, I am interested in finding ways to engage other seniors in a more active lifestyle. My Masters thesis explores physical activity, motivation and engagement within the Masters Athletes community in the Okanagan. From this, I look to determine if they understand and practice the concepts of Physical Literacy. I am also interested in investigating if and how Masters Athletes promote an active lifestyle within their communities.







Sidney Paul, MSc Student

I’m from Esketemc First Nation (Alkali Lake), BC. With a Bachelor of Human Kinetics in health promotion, currently in the progress of a Master’s in Health and Exercise Science with a focus on Indigenous Health. My thesis focus is on the exercise exertion of physical activity in rural Indigenous people of BC, monitoring the intensity and duration of activity of hunting.







Maxine van Zyl, BSc Student

I am a 4th year BSc. Psychology and Biology student, working with the iSTAND program to develop scientific resources for outreach, education, and diversity in STEM. Other projects include the development of podcasts to promote STEM and raise awareness of equity, diversity, and inclusion concerns within these fields.






Owen Harris, BSc Student

I am a fourth year Bachelor of Human Kinetics student completing my Honour’s Thesis in the Neuromuscular Healthy Exercise and Aging Lab. I have been previously involved in projects ranging from analysis of intermuscular coherence and its influence on isometric force control, to the development of resources to assist older adults in remaining physically and mentally fit during periods of social distancing, and growth of STEM outreach through the iSTAND program. Moving forward, my research interests are focused as to how intermuscular coherence impacts force control during movement.






Kate Crosby, BSc Student

I am a 2nd year Bachelor of Human Kinetics student from Toronto, Ontario. In the lab I am involved in projects focusing on understanding social supports for aging and the fall locations of older adults within their homes.