Lab Members

Kathleen McGinnisKathleen Martin Ginis, B.Sc., M.A., Ph.D., O.M.C., Distinguished University Scholar

Director, UBC Faculty of Medicine Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management
Professor, Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Department of Medicine
Professor, School of Health and Exercise Sciences
Principal Investigator, ICORD (International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries)
Chair & Principal Investigator, Canadian Disability Participation Project

The University of British Columbia (Okanagan Campus)
Syilx Okanagan Nation Territory
1088 Discovery Avenue
Kelowna, BC Canada V1V 1V7
Phone: 250.807.9768


  • B.Sc. Psychology, 1992, University of Toronto
  • M.A. Kinesiology, 1993, Western University
  • Ph.D. Kinesiology, 1996, University of Waterloo
  • SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1996-1998, Wake Forest University


My primary research focus is physical activity participation in community-dwelling people living with spinal cord injury. In particular, I am interested in how we can use principles of exercise psychology and behavioural science to improve physical activity participation. I am also interested in the psychosocial and physical health benefits of physical activity in people with SCI and other physical disabilities.

Community partnerships are at the heart of my research program. I work closely with over 20 provincial and national organizations (e.g., Spinal Cord Injury British Columbia [SCI BC], Disability Foundation, Neil Squire Society, Praxis Spinal Cord [formerly Rick Hansen] Institute, Canadian Paralympic Committee). I also collaborate regularly with a close network of colleagues working in a wide variety of disciplines including exercise physiology, rehabilitation science, sport psychology, and disability studies.

Graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in my lab typically have a primary interest in the behavioural aspects of exercise or other health-related behaviours* in people with disabilities. Most students in my lab have a background in Kinesiology, Psychology or a related discipline that has provided training in the behavioural aspects of health or exercise.

(*Note that we are not a bioscience research lab. We do not do research with animal models or in areas such as neuroregeneration or biomedical treatments for spinal cord injury)

Selected Awards and Honours

  • 2019 SCAPPS Brawley & Elliott Award for Excellence in Supervision & Mentorship
  • 2019 Readers’ Choice Award for best review paper published in 2018 in Spinal Cord
  • 2015 John Gibbons Counsell Award for contributions to the cause of people with SCI
  • 2014 Government of Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship
  • 2014 National Spinal Cord Injury Conference Research Award, 1st Prize
  • 2011 International Fellow, National Academy of Kinesiology
  • 2010 The President’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Supervision, McMaster University


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Cameron Gee, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of British Columbia

Twitter: @CameronMGee


  • Effects of novel exercise interventions, specific to individuals with spinal cord injury, on quality of life.
  • Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on physical activity levels, stressors, and lifestyle habits in Canadians with disabilities.
  • Hemodynamic management in the intensive care unit to enhance spinal cord oxygenation and promote neurological recovery following acute spinal cord injury.


  • BAppSc, School of Human Movement Studies, 2008, University of Queensland
  • MExSc, School of Human Movement Studies, 2011, University of Queensland
  • PhD, School of Kinesiology, 2020, University of British Columbia

Sarah Lawrason, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of British Columbia (Okanagan Campus)

Twitter: @sarahvclawrason


  • BScH, Specialization in Kinesiology, 2016, Queen’s University
  • MSc, Sport Psychology, 2018, Queen’s University
  • PhD, Kinesiology, 2022, University of British Columbia


  • I conduct research in partnership with research users (e.g., community organizations) using an integrated knowledge translation approach. I am interested in developing, delivering, and evaluating programs and services with the disability community. My current research involves the development of a program evaluation toolkit for disability sport and exercise organizations.

Scholarships and Awards

  • CIHR Health System Impact Fellowship, University Health Network and University of Toronto (2022-2024)
  • Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal, UBC (2023)
  • SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship, UBC (2020-2023)
  • WorkSafe BC Doctoral Research Training Award, UBC (2020-2022)
  • University Graduate Fellowship, UBC (2019-2021)
  • Graduate Dean’s Entrance Scholarship, UBC (2018-2019)
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship, Queen’s University (2017-2018)
  • Academic Excellence Scholarship, Queen’s University (2012-2013)

Matteo Ponzano, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of British Columbia (Okanagan Campus)

Twitter: @PonzanoMatteo


  • BSc, Sports Sciences, 2014, University of Turin, Italy
  • MSc, Sciences and Advanced Techniques of Sport, 2016, University of Turin, Italy
  • PhD, Kinesiology, 2022, University of Waterloo


  • Matteo is a physical activity and health promotion scientist. His research focuses on the development and implementation of non-pharmacological interventions for people with disabilities to:
    • improve mental health and quality of life
    • promote the adoption and maintenance of healthy behaviours
    • prevent falls and fractures

Scholarships and Awards

  • Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) Trainee Award (2022-2025)
  • Exceptional Doctoral Student Scholarship (2018)

Robert Buren, MA

PhD Candidate, University of British Columbia (Okanagan Campus)



  • B.A. Honours, Sociology, 1995, University of Western Ontario, King’s College
  • M.A., Sociology, 1998, University of Victoria


  • Investigating the potential of mindfulness meditation for pain relief to reduce neuropathic pain among individuals with a spinal cord injury
  • Investigating the relationships among biopsychosocial factors and the individual’s experience of suffering from neuropathic pain

Scholarships and Awards

  • University of British Columbia Okanagan, Graduate Dean’s Entrance Scholarship (2022)
  • Mitacs Accelerate Grant (2022-2025)
  • University of Victoria, Graduate Teaching Fellowship (1998)
  • University of Western Ontario, King’s College, Gold Medal Award for Highest Academic Achievement (1995)

Nathan Adams, MA

PhD Candidate, University of British Columbia (Okanagan Campus)

Research Gate:


  • B.S., Exercise Science, 2020, Pacific Lutheran University
  • M.A., Exercise Physiology, 2022, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


  • Evaluating the psychosocial and physiological characteristics of acute sedentary behaviours in individuals with spinal cord injury
  • Determining if cardiometabolic health in individuals with spinal cord injury can be improved by breaking up or reducing sedentary behaviour in addition to increasing physical activity

Scholarships and Awards

  • Marvin E. Allen Excellence in Teach Award: UNC Chapel Hill Department of Exercise and Sport Science (2022)
  • UNC Chapel Hill Graduate and Professional Student Government Travel Award (2022)
  • PLU Presidential Scholar (2016-2020)
  • Bangsund Endowment Scholarship (2018-2020)
  • Gates Global Study Opportunity Scholarship (2020)

Kierstyn Palmer, BSc

MSc Candidate, University of British Columbia (Okanagan Campus)



  • B.Sc. Biology, 2022, Acadia University


  • Investigating the effects of physical activity participation on biopsychosocial aspects of chronic pain in adults with spinal cord injury
  • Investigating the relationship between pain levels, inhibitory control, and inflammatory levels after exercise in adults with chronic neuropathic and musculoskeletal pain

Scholarships and Awards

  • Acadia University, Harrison McCain Scholarship (2018-2022)
  • Acadia University, Acadia Excellence Scholarship (2018-2022)
  • PEI Realtor’s Association, Realtor’s Care Bursary (2021)
  • Three Oaks Senior High School, Jim & Fran Maclean Award (2018)

Haley Berrisford, BKin/BEd

MSc Candidate, University of British Columbia (Okanagan Campus)

Email: hberrisf@mail.ubc.a


  • BKin, 2023, University of Alberta
  • BEd, Secondary Education, 2023, University of Alberta


  • My research is focused on investigating the effects of quality physical activity on psychological and physical wellbeing for adults with disabilities.

Scholarships and Awards

  • Stober Undergraduate Research Fellow 2022 (University of British Columbia Okanagan)
  • Dean Mortensen Award 2022 (University of Alberta)
  • National Achievement Award 2018-2022 (University of Alberta)
  • Academic All-Canadian 2018-2022 (University of Alberta)
  • Kathleen Yetman Team Contribution Award 2021-2022 (University of Alberta)
  • Undergraduate Scholarship 2019-2020 (University of Alberta)
  • Chris and Kerry Mummery Swimming Scholarship 2018-2020 (University of Alberta)
  • Kinesiology Academic Excellence Scholarship 2018-2019 (University of Alberta)
  • Governor General Bronze Medal Award 2017-2018
  • Academic Excellence Scholarship 2018

Nyah Kooner

Undergraduate student, University of British COlumbia (Okanagan Campus)



  • Current BHkin, Undergraduate Student, University of British Columbia (Okanagan Campus)


  • My research interests include the use exercise interventions to measure mental health and health related quality of life of individuals with spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis.

Scholarships and Awards

  • UBC Okanagan Deputy Vice-Chancellor Scholarship for Continuing Students (2022- 2023)
  • UBC Okanagan Extracurricular Leadership Award (2022-2023)

Aleksandra Jevdjevic, MSc

Research Coordinator, University of British Columbia (Okanagan Campus)

Phone number: 236.970.6226


  • BPHE, 2017, University of Banja Luka
  • MSc, Health and Exercise Sciences, 2023, University of British Columbia (Okanagan Campus)


  • My research is focused on exploring the lived experiences of children with physical and/or sensory disabilities and developing a deeper understanding about children’s participation in physical education classes.

Scholarships and Awards

  • Academic Excellence Scholarship, The City of Banja Luka (2013-2017)
  • Student Organization of Faculty of Physical Education and Sport (University of Banja Luka) – Vice President (2013-2017)
  • AIESEC Alumni
  • Association for Sports Animation and Recreation of Serbia (Ministry of Youth and Sports, Republic of Serbia) – Teaching Assistant (2020-2021)

Adrienne Sinden

Adrienne R. Sinden, B.Sc., MSc.

Research Coordinator, University of British Columbia



  • Hons. B.Sc., Psychology, Specialist, 1996, McMaster University
  • Hons. Kinesiology, 2nd degree course work, 1998-1999, McMaster University
  • M.Sc., Health & Exercise Psychology, 2001, McMaster University


  • SCI Action Canada Lab research coordinator (2010-present), UBC
  • Canadian Disability Participation Project research coordinator (2013-present), UBC
  • Health & Exercise Psychology Lab (Kinesiology), Community Health Lab (Rehabilitation Sciences) research assistant (2003-2004), McMaster University
  • Infant Auditory Lab, Cognitive Lab research coordinator (1996-1998), Psychology, McMaster University
  • Experience researching and coordinating studies involving adults with spinal cord injury, able-bodied adults, infants and seniors


Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2000-2001)

  • Harry S. Lyman Hooker Senior Fellowship (1999-2001)
  • Abe Black Memorial Prize (1996)


Aleksandra Jevdjevic
MSc 2023
Current Position: Research Coordinator, SCI Action Canada lab, University of British Columbia

Robert Shaw
PhD 2021; Postdoctoral Fellow
Current Position: SCI BC National Peer Program Lead

Femke Hoekstra
Postdoctoral Fellow
Current Position: Assistant Professor, Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Medicine, Division of Social Medicine, University of British Columbia

Kenedy Olsen
Research Coordinator
Current Position: MSc candidate, Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto

Sarah Lawrason
PhD 2022
Current Position: Research Analyst, Health Security and Operations Branch (Ontario)

Kendra Todd 
MSc 2017; PhD 2021
Current Position: Policy Analyst (Office of Public Service Accessibility), Government of Canada

Gabriel Dix
MSc 2021
In memoriam

Joan Úbeda Colomer
Post-Doctoral Fellow 2020
PhD 2019: Co-Supervised, José Devís Devís, University of Valencia, Spain
Current Position: Assistant Professor, University of Valencia, Spain

Matthew Stork
MSc 2014; PhD 2018
Current Position: Senior Scientist Lululemon

Jasmin Ma
PhD 2018
Current Position: Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia

Jan van der Scheer
Post-Doctoral Fellow 2017, International trainee
Current Position: Research Associate, University of Cambridge

Marie-Josée Perrier
Post-Doctoral Fellow 2016
Current Position: Private Consulting

Lauren Salci
MSc 2015
Current Position: Hospital Sales Representative, GlaxoSmithKline

Jennifer Tomasone
PhD 2014
Current Position: Assistant Professor, Queen’s University

Jessica Stapleton
PhD 2014, International Trainee
Current Position: Assistant Professor, University of North Florida

Shane Sweet
Post-Doctoral Fellow 2013
Current Position: Associate Professor, CRC Tier 2, McGill University

Kelly Arbour-Nicitopoulos
Post-Doctoral Fellow 2012
Current Position: Associate Professor, University of Toronto

Rebecca Bassett-Gunter
PhD 2011
Current Position: Associate Professor, York University

Desmond McEwan
MSc 2011
Current Position: Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia

Natascha Wesch
Post-Doctoral Fellow 2010
Current Position: Sport Psychologist, Private Practice

Heather Strong
PhD 2010
Current Position: Interior Health authority (Nelson)

Sen Hoong Phang
MSc 2010
Physiotherapist, Propel Physiotherapy

Brianne Foulon
MSc 2010
Current Position: Health Promotion Specialist, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health Unit

Kelly Arbour-Nicitopoulos
PhD 2008
Current Position: Associate Professor, University of Toronto

Neil Barr
MSc 2008
Current Position: Assistant Professor, McMaster University

Elisa Murru
MSc 2008
Current Position: National Manager, Canadian Mental Health Association

Jennifer Woodgate
Post-Doctoral Fellow 2007
Current Position: Social Entrepreneur; Founder of Cuddle + Kind

Guillaume Coudevylle
Post-Doctoral Fellow 2007, International Trainee
Current Position: Maître de conferences (equivalent of Associate Professor) Université des Antilles

Rebecca Bassett-Gunter
MSc 2007
Current Position: Associate Professor, York University

Jeffrey Eng
MSc 2006

Kelly Arbour-Nicitopoulos
MSc 2005
Current Position: Associate Professor, University of Toronto

Amy Latimer-Cheung
PhD 2004
Current Position: Professor, CRC Tier 2, Queen’s University

Mary Jung
MSc 2004
Current Position: Associate Professor, University of British Columbia

Tara-Lyn (Elston) Dinyer
MSc 2004
Current Position: Professor, Mohawk College

Catharine Lichtenberger
MSc 2003

Amy Latimer-Cheung
MSc 2001
Current Position: Professor, CRC Tier 2, Queen’s University

Julie Flemming
MSc 2001
Current Position: Teacher, Toronto District School Board

Adrienne Sinden
MSc 2001
Current Position: Research Coordinator, University of British Columbia