About Us

We are a high-energy, multi-disciplinary team dedicated to improving the quality of life of cancer patients, cancer survivors, and their support persons.

Health and Wellness Lab Anti-Racism Statement

The Health & Wellness Lab, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary would like to voice our acknowledgement of, and solidarity with, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) and anti-racism movements. 

Dr. Nicole Culos-Reed

Dr. Nicole Culos-Reed

Dr. Nicole Culos-Reed is a Professor in Health and Exercise Psychology, and the Associate Dean Graduate, in the Faculty of Kinesiology; an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Oncology, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary. Dr. Culos-Reed also holds a Research Associate appointment with the Department of Psychosocial Resources, Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Cancer Care, Alberta Health Services.

As a behaviour change expert, her work utilizes a multidisciplinary perspective to build, disseminate, and implement programs to integrate wellness into standard cancer care. Using an implementation science approach, her team develops sustainable physical activity programs that are delivered in real-world settings. These exercise oncology programs are designed to positively impact the physical and psychosocial well-being of cancer survivors, ultimately enhancing the quality of life.

Our Post-Doctoral Fellows

Dr. Justine Dowd

Justine Dowd is a Postdoctoral Fellow who started with the Health and Wellness Lab in May 2015. She is currently working on several projects including Coping during COVID, Understanding the relationship between the MicrobiOme, Vitality, and Exercise in Celiac Disease (MOVE-C), Promotion of Optimal Wellbeing Education + Regulation in Celiac Disease (POWER-C), and the MyHealthyGut App. Through her research, Justine hopes to achieve the goal of developing and evaluating holistic approaches to digestive wellness to help people optimize well-being and quality of life. A fun fact about Justine: She loves reading the 'damn you auto-correct' posts! When she isn't reading, writing, or talking about all things holistic health, Justine is the mom to two young boys, a labradoodle, and wife to her husband of over 7 years. She loves running, yoga, biking, throwing rocks in the river and spending as much time as possible by the water. 

Keywords: Self-compassion, wholistic health, celiac disease

Dr. Justine Dowd

Dr. Rosemary (Rosie) Twomey

Rosemary (Rosie) Twomey is a Postdoctoral Scholar from the Cumming School of Medicine and has been a collaborator with the Health and Wellness Lab since 2017. She is currently working within the Ohlson Research Initiative investigating the role of exercise prehabilitation for people undergoing major head and neck cancer surgery. Her previous research has focused on exercise for people with cancer-related fatigue. Through her research, she hopes to honour the memory of her mother by helping improve care for people living with and beyond cancer. In her free time, Rosie is passionate about live music, hiking, running, and being outdoors. 

Key research interests: Prehabilitation; Cancer-related fatigue; Head and neck cancer HNC

Dr. Rosemary (Rosie) Twomey

Dr. Amanda Wurz

Amanda has a PhD in Health and Exercise Psychology. Her research is focused on developing and testing physical activity interventions as a means of promoting health and quality of life for children, adolescents, and adults diagnosed with cancer. She is experienced in a variety of research designs, methods, statistical techniques, and substantive areas relevant to her field.  Amanda also has expertise in developing community-based physical activity programs, collaborating on large multi-site trials, and synthesizing evidence. In her research, she strives to balance rigor with pragmatic considerations in an effort to get more individuals diagnosed with cancer active.

During her postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Nicole Culos-Reed, Amanda helped lead the development of the international Pediatric Oncology Exercise Guidelines (iPOEG) and will be facilitating dissemination efforts. She is also developing and implementing in-hospital physical activity for children undergoing treatment for cancer. 

In her free time, Amanda can be found on her yoga mat or in the mountains cross-country skiing.

Dr. Amanda Wurz

Our Graduate Students

Our PhD Students

Manuel “Manny” Ester

Manuel (Manny) Ester

Manuel “Manny” Ester is a 2nd 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

Julia Daun

Julia Daun is a 1st 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!

Our Master's Students

Delaney Duchek

Delaney Duchek

Delaney Duchek is a 2nd year Master's student who started with the Health and Wellness Lab Since in September 2019. Her project is looking at participant perspectives during the transition from an in-person to an online exercise oncology program. Through her research, Delaney hopes to better understand the differences in exercise barriers and facilitators, behaviour change techniques, and exercise levels in both an in-person and online exercise oncology program. Overall, she is interested in increasing exercise behaviours in all populations and spreading the message of moving more for a better quality of life. A fun fact about Delaney: She grew up on a small cranberry farm just outside of Vancouver, B.C. And, as of January 2019, her family opened up a farm-fresh brewery on the farm. Her other passions include ice hockey (playing and coaching), traveling, skiing, hiking and spending time outdoors, reading, and any and all competitive games (board games, card games, sports, you name it!)

Key research interests: Exercise adherence; Behaviour change techniques; Online exercise programs

Emma McLaughlin

Emma McLaughlin

Emma McLaughlin is a 2nd year Master’s 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

Maxamillian Eisele

Max Eisele

Max Eisele is a 1st year Master’s student who started with the Health and Wellness Lab in January 2019. His project is looking at the feasibility of implementing the ACE remote maintenance program supported with health coaching. Through his research, Max hopes to make physical activity more accessible and easier to maintain for cancer survivors so that the benefits of an active lifestyle can be enjoyed by as many people as possible. A fun fact about Max: He was born and raised in Germany. Ever since he got to Canada, he has to sneeze every time he takes the first bite of a warm meal. Max's other passions include basketball, mountains, beaches, spike-ball, summer, Balu the Bus, stand-up paddleboarding, and spending time with friends and family.

Key research interests: Exercise maintenance; Behaviour change tools; Accessibility 

Kelsey Ellis

Kelsey Ellis

Kelsey Ellis is a 2nd year Master's student who started with the Health and Wellness Lab in September, 2019. Her project is evaluating yoga for pediatric patients and survivors of oncological and hematological diseases. Through her research, Kelsey hopes to help improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by cancer through exercise and to contribute to making exercise part of the standard of care for cancer survivors. A fun fact about Kelsey: French is her first language and she has lived in three provinces. Kelsey's other passions include spending time with family and friends, traveling, playing any sport, and hiking/climbing in the mountains!

Key research interests: Pediatric; Yoga; Cancer

headshot of Mannat Bansaal

Mannat Bansal

Mannat Bansal is a 1st 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

Our Staff

Our Certified Exercise Physiologists

Tanya Williamson

Tanya Williamson

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.

Nicole Struthers

Nicole Struthers

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. 

headshot of Jessica Danyluk

Jessica Danyluk

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.

Research Coordinators

Headshot photo of Julianna Dreger

Julianna Dreger

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

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