Jennifer Heisz

DR. JENNIFER J. HEISZ

Dr. Jennifer J. Heisz is an expert in brain health. She is Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University (ranked Top 25 in the world) and directs the NeuroFit Lab, which has attracted nearly $1 million to support her research program on the effects of exercise for brain health. Dr. Heisz received her Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience (McMaster) and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Brain Health and Aging at the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Hospital (Toronto). 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. Many honors and awards recognize Dr. Heisz for her outstanding contributions to research including the Early Researcher Award from the Government of Ontario, the Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award.

MICHELLE OGRODNIK

Michelle Ogrodnik is a doctoral student in the NeuroFit Lab. She also works with Dr. Barbara Fenesi (NeuroFit alumni) at Western University in the WEBB Lab. Combining her knowledge in cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and kinesiology, she is interested in understanding ways to improve attention and long-term comprehension. Currently, she is investigating how physical fitness and exercise participation influence symptoms of inattention in adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Michelle is an award winning science communicator and enjoys sharing her work with diverse audiences. She is also an award winning teacher, and an advocate for evidence-based and equitable teaching practices. Alongside her research, Michelle works as a Lead Student Educational Developer at the MacPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation and Excellence in Learning. Her ultimate goal is to combine her program of research and work experience to improve teaching and learning in higher education.

EMMA WADDINGTON

Emma completed an undergraduate thesis in the NeuroFit lab, and is now a first year Master’s student in the lab. Her research focuses on how high intensity exercise-induced lactate can improve cognition when it is combined with simultaneous mental training. Outside the lab you can find Emma running the local trails!

Aly Knox

Aly is a 4th year Kinesiology student and a Thesis Student in the lab. She is researching the relationship between acute exercise breaks in online learning and attention and comprehension. Outside of the lab Aly enjoys hiking, running and skiing!

Sobia Mahmood

Sobia is a 4th year Kinesiology student who completed a third year placement and NSERC USRA in the NeuroFit Lab last year, and is currently working on her fourth year thesis. She is interested in improving internal load monitoring through the use of psychological indicators (i.e. sleep and anxiety) in athletes for the prevention of overtraining and overtraining syndrome. Outside of research, Sobia’s passion for mental health drives her interests in psychotherapy and in her free time, she enjoys engaging in various artistic pursuits such as painting and photography.

Sameena Karsan

Sameena is a 4th year Kinesiology student and a Thesis Student in the lab. She is researching the connection between ADHD and depression and how exercise can be used to enhance learning and cognition in this population. Outside of the lab you can find Sameena playing volleyball or reading!

Victoria Cirone

Victoria is a 4th year Kinesiology student and a Thesis Student in the lab. She is interested in if there is a specific exercise intensity that improves attention in ADHD and neurotypical populations. Outside of the lab you can find Victoria reading, running, or rollerblading!

Amna Zia

Amna is a 4th year Kinesiology student and a 3RP3 Student Researcher in the lab. Her interests include health promotion in South Asian communities, facilitating community engagement, science communication and teaching. In her free time, you will find her working on her graphic designing skills and taking long walks to de-stress!

Anjali Bedi

Anjali is a 3rd year Kinesiology student and a 3RP3 Student in the NeuroFit Lab. She is interested in exercise prescription for the prevention, treatment and management of symptoms associated with neurodegenerative diseases. Anjali has a passion for promoting wellness through various volunteer opportunities with the broader community.

Connor Gibala

Connor is a 3rd year Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour student and a PNB 3Q03 Student Researcher in the lab. His interests include how sleep and exercise influence cognition, the importance of forgetting in effective studying, and understanding the conditions that lead to false memories. Outside the lab, you can find Connor hiking, camping, and reading!

Jenny Kang

Jenny is a 3rd year Kinesiology student and a 3RP3 Student Researcher in the NeuroFit Lab. Her interests include research into the link between limb asymmetry and psychological variables in athletes, including fatigue and burnout. In her free time, she likes to explore hiking trails with her friends and watch baseball.

Maliha Khan

Maliha is a 3rd year Kinesiology student and 3RP3 Student Researcher in the lab. She is interested in investigating the long-term health and mental health consequences of early life stress and trauma within marginalized communities. Her passion for social justice has led her to work with a variety of organizations to promote community health and youth creativity.

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

Each year, the NeuroFit Lab trains dozens of top undergraduate students from across the Faculty of Science including Kinesiology, Psychology, and Biology. Bringing together trainees from distinct disciplines into our open workspace in the lab creates an engaging environment for knowledge transfer and innovative thinking. This rich knowledge foundation is complemented with extensive technical training on multiple methodologies—fNIRS, EEG, cognitive and fitness testing, and biological sample processing—and the use of both traditional and novel analytical procedures for data analysis. Trainees from the NeuroFit Lab are equipped with a valuable skill and knowledge set needed to address the challenges of an increasingly sedentary and aging population.

ALUMNI

Dr. Danielle Brewer-Deluce, Past Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr.David Allison, Past Postdoctoral Fellow

Tara Kuhn, MSc

Emma Nicholson, MSc

Maryam Marashi, MSc

Alexis Bullock, MSc

Allison Mizzi, MSc

Dr. Barbara Fenesi, Past Postdoctoral Fellow of the NeuroFit Lab. Currently, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education at the University of Western. Nominated Tier II Canada Research Chair in the Science of Learning. Laboratory Supervisor of the WEBB lab.

Kristin Lucibello, MSc

Ana Kovacevic, MSc

Emily Paolucci, MSc

Hanna Fang, MSc

Ilana Clark, MSc

Dr. Jennifer J. Heisz  | Associate Professor | Department of Kinesiology | Ivor Wynne Centre, Room E206 | McMaster University | 1280 Main Street West | Hamilton, Ontario L8S4L8