Our PhD Students
Manuel (Manny) Ester
Manuel “Manny” Ester is a 3rd year PhD student who started with the Health and Wellness Lab in September 2019. His project is looking at exploring the use of technology to support long-term exercise adherence in cancer survivors. Through his research, Manny is hoping to support the development of lifelong exercise habits in cancer survivors as part of a happy, healthy life beyond cancer. A fun fact about Manny: He was born in Switzerland and speaks 4 languages: German, English, French, and Swedish. Manny's other passions include rock climbing, skiing, hiking, football (the one you play with your feet), helping children with cancer in Tanzania, creating delicious food (and eating it, of course), and dark chocolate.
Key research interests: Health technology; Physical activity maintenance; Behaviour change support.
Julia Daun is a 2nd year PhD student and has been with the Health and Wellness Lab since April 2014. What she hopes to achieve through her research is to bring movement to all individuals affected by cancer, specifically in the clinical setting; contribute to the incredible work our entire lab is doing in order to inform better medical practices, advance the health care ecosystem, and most importantly, enhance patient experiences. Julia's current research project is The Feasibility of Exercise in the Care Pathway for Surgical Head and Neck Cancer Patients.
Julia enjoys travel and has been to all 7 continents and >40 countries, as well as speaks five languages!
Emma McLaughlin is a 1st year PhD student who started with the Health and Wellness Lab in April 2019. Her project is looking at tracking the dissemination and implementation of the international Pediatric Oncology Exercise Guidelines (iPOEG) toolkit. Through her research, Emma hopes to support healthcare providers, community-based organizations, fitness professionals, patients, and family members using the iPOEG Toolkits, and to ultimately help children and adolescents affected by cancer move more both during and after treatment. A fun fact about Emma: She has lived in 3 provinces (NB, NS, and AB) and yes… she is an Edmonton Oilers Fan! Emma's other passions include going to the mountains, visiting family and friends, going to spin and yoga classes, listening to country music, and learning to play the ukulele!
Key research interests: Children, adolescents, and young adults affected by cancer; Knowledge translation; Movement
Our Master's Students
Mannat Bansal is a 2nd year Master’s student who started with the Health and Wellness Lab in June 2020. Her project is on exploring the barriers to regular physical activity for ethnic minority cancer populations. Through her research, Mannat hopes to identify barriers to accessing exercise oncology programs for ethnic minority populations. By doing so, hopefully, steps can be taken to eliminate the ever-present health disparities for ethnic minorities. A fun fact about Mannat: Her favourite season is winter! Wrapping up in blankets while it’s raining or snowing outside is one of her favourite things to do. Mannat's other passions include painting, reading fictional novels, eating food, biking, swimming, yoga, and binge-watching anything and everything on Netflix!
Key research interests: Diversity; Inclusion; Behaviour change
Benny Rana is a 1st year Master’s student who started with the Health and Wellness Lab in August 2021. Her project is on exploring the barriers and facilitators to physical activity for LGBTQIA2S+ cancer populations. Through her research, Benny hopes to identify barriers and facilitators to accessing exercise oncology programs for LGBTQIA2S+ populations, leading to steps towards eliminating health disparities present and emphasizing the need for supportive cancer care resources for medically underserved populations. Fun facts about Benny are that she loves trying new cuisines, hiking, spending time outdoors with friends and family, running, yoga, volunteering, and reading.
Key research interests: Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion; Behaviour Change; Health Promotion
Clinical Exercise Physiologists
Bachelor of Kinesiology (Bkin), Clinical Exercise Physiologist (CSEP-CEP)
Tanya Williamson is a Clinical Exercise Physiologist (CEP) and project coordinator who started with the Health and Wellness Lab in September 2010. Her role within the lab is as the project coordinator for the Alberta Cancer Exercise (ACE) study, a program that offers free exercise classes to cancer survivors to enhance their quality of life. Some fun facts about Tanya: She is the proud mom of two kids, Ella and Owen; she has travelled and seen more of Australia than her Australian husband; and she is also the funniest lab member (self-proclaimed)! Tanya's other passions outside of leading exercise oncology classes include playing field hockey, hiking, snow shoeing, skiing, and golfing with her friends and family. She especially loves games nights and lip sync battles with her fellow lab members. Lastly, Tanya loves spending time in the mountains or on a lake and loves watching and playing most sports - give her a ball to chase and she's happy.
Master of Kinesiology (MKin), Clinical Exercise Physiologist (CSEP-CEP)
Nicole Struthers is a Clinical Exercise Physiologist (CEP) and a project coordinator who started with the Health and Wellness Lab in May 2018. Her role within the lab includes being a project coordinator with both ACE and EXCEL. She is typically seen leading group exercise classes, facilitating fitness assessments, coordinating programs, and ensuring participants are loving the programs and seeing benefits in their life. Some fun facts about Nicole: She is a West coast girl having grown up on Vancouver Island, where she was the oldest of 5 siblings. Her secret talent is making balloon animals! Nicole's passions outside of exercise oncology include time with family, running (yes, she's one of those weird people…), hiking, xc-skate skiing (basically anything outdoor in nature), fireside chats with loved ones, cooking healthy foods, and helping people live their best life through holistic wellness.
Master of Kinesiology (MKin), Clinical Exercise Physiologist (CSEP-CEP)
Jessica is a Clinical Exercise Physiologist (CEP) who started with the Health and Wellness Lab in the summer of 2011. Currently her main role is with the TrueNTH Lifestyle Management project, providing exercise and wellness resources through an online portal to men with prostate cancer, as well as ACE-Neuro, a unique exercise study for individuals with a brain cancer diagnosis. Jess absolutely loves the challenge of working in such a busy lab with amazing lab mates, but her favourite part is the interaction with the participants. They have taught her so much about life, perspective, compassion, motivation, relationships, and opened her heart in a special and unique way. Life outside of the lab for Jessica includes her husband Ben and their 3 young children, Gabriel, Lena, and Indiana, as well as their dog Murphy. They enjoy activities together like biking, walks along the river, skiing, lying in the hammock, eating ice cream, and are hoping to get a campervan so they can do some family road trips exploring Canada.
Clinical Exercise Physiologist (CSEP-CEP)
Julianna Dreger is a project coordinator who started with the Health and Wellness Lab in May 2020. Her role within the lab is as the project coordinator for Project EXCEL (EXercise for Cancer to Enhance Living Well), a program aiming to increase the access of exercise therapy to rural and remote cancer survivors across Canada. A fun fact about Julianna: She lived in New Zealand for a year and in Melbourne, Australia for four yeas. She also used to be a competitive show jumper and has a diploma in Landscape Design! Julianna's other interests and passions include travelling, spending summers at the lake, time in the mountains, being active, gardening, painting, starting (and never finishing) knitting projects, spending time with family, and coffee.
Key research interests: Exercise oncology; Health promotion; Exercise physiology