NESI Article

About us - NESI officers

7 May 2017

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Maartje Poelman

Maartje Poelman is Assistant Professor at the Healthy Urban Living research program at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. Her research aims to untangle the complex relationship between the food environment, food consumption and health.  She has a background in Nutrition and Health Sciences and conducted her PhD at the VU-University Amsterdam where she determined factors in the food environment encouraging unhealthy food consumption. She has also developed and evaluated the long-term effects of a behaviour change, weight-loss intervention. Since 2009, Maartje has been a member of ISBNPA and involved in the SIG Policy and Environments and the webinar committee of NESI.

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Katherine Downing

Katherine is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow within the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. She has a background in health promotion and completed her PhD at Deakin University in 2018. Her research focuses on sedentary behaviour in early childhood (birth through 5 years), with a particular focus on how we can best support parents to minimise their child’s sedentary behaviour. Katherine is currently involved in the Networking Committee of NESI and will be the student representative member-at-large on the ISBNPA Executive Committee from 2018-2020.

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Wendy Van Lippevelde

Dr Wendy Van Lippevelde is a postdoctoral researcher at the Public Health, Sport and Nutrition Department of the University of Agder (Norway) and a visiting professor at the Public Health Department of Ghent University (Belgium). She obtained her PhD in 2012 at Ghent University. Her research focuses on health promotion throughout the life course with a focus on the preconception, early life and childhood phase, and on the identification of individual and environmental predictors of child and parental health status and energy balance-related behaviours. She was the Early Career Researcher-at-large in the Executive Committee of ISBNPA from 2015 until 2018 and founder of the Network of Early career researchers and Students of ISBNPA (NESI), together with Sofie Compernolle. In 2018, she was re-elected as Member-at-large member in the ISBNPA board and is currently chair of the Abstract Committee of ISBNPA and further supports NESI.

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Sofie Compernolle

Sofie is a postdoctoral researcher at the department of Movement and Sport Sciences of Ghent University, Belgium. After obtaining her master degree in Movement and Sport Sciences, she started her PhD on the European SPOTLIGHT project. Her research, which is supervised by Prof. Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij and Prof. Greet Cardon, focuses on sedentary behavior in adults and older adults. She was the student representative in the Executive Committee of ISBNPA (2015-2018), and she founded the Network of Early career researcher and Students of ISBNPA (NESI), together with Wendy Van Lippevelde in 2016.

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Jenna Hollis

Dr Jenna Hollis is an Early Career Researcher at Hunter New England Population Health and the University of Newcastle, Australia. She recently returned to Australia from the United Kingdom where she was a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Southampton and Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health (University of Aberdeen). Her research interests are in women’s and children’s health; specifically in i) investigating the diet and lifestyle predictors of maternal and child health and ii) translating research findings to primary prevention initiatives that benefit the wider community. In NESI, Jenna is primarily involved in the Webinar and Communications teams.

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Simone Tomaz

Simone did a BA in Sports Science at the University of Stellenbosch, and later trained as a biokineticist (otherwise called an exercise therapist) at the University of Cape Town. She is currently a PhD student at the University of Cape Town, focusing on physical activity and gross motor skills in preschool children in rural, low-income settings. She is also involved in a feasibility study for a faith-based physical activity and nutrition in low-income settings in Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.

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Artur Direito

Artur is a research associate working on a variety of behaviour change projects at UCL’s Centre for Behaviour Change. He completed his PhD in Health Sciences at the University of Auckland, which investigated mobile health approaches to improve physical activity and sedentary behaviours. Prior to this he did a Masters in Lifestyle and Chronic Disorders in Amsterdam and trained in Physical Education & Sport in Lisbon, where he worked as a physical education teacher and coach. He is a member of the communications team of NESI and serves as an officer in ISBNPA’s communications committee.

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Rebecca Liu

Dr. Rebecca Liu is a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)-Health System Impact Postdoctoral Fellow, both at the Region of Peel-Public Health and the University of Ottawa, Canada, under the supervision of Dr. Kristi B. Adamo. She completed her PhD in Health Promotion at Western University in 2017 focusing on the needs, support, and services available to weight loss surgery recipients. Her current research focuses on the impact of women’s knowledge and behaviours related to weight during and after pregnancy, with the intention of developing health policy recommendations and future interventions at a community-level for her fellowship. Rebecca has been involved in the Networking Committee of NESI since 2016 and is currently serving as the Chair of the Networking Committee.

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Jennifer McConnell

Jennifer has B.A. in Sociology from Kansas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Health and Human Services from Youngstown State University, and is currently a PhD Candidate in the Social Dimensions of Health program at the University of Victoria where she works under the supervision of Dr. Patti-Jean Naylor. Jennifer’s research focuses on the social and behavioural determinants of childhood obesity. Specifically, she is interested in BMI and body fat based obesity measurement and classification and the longitudinal social and behavioural determinants of childhood obesity. She is currently involved in the Networking Committee of NESI.

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Alissa Burnett Alissa is a PhD candidate within the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. Prior to this she obtained an undergraduate Degree in Psychology and a Master of Human Nutrition. Her research focus is the prevention of childhood obesity through investigating the parental factors that influence the dietary intake and patterns of pre-school children. She is currently involved in the Communications Committee of NESI.

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Patrick Abi Nader

Dr. Patrick Abi Nader is a postdoctoral researcher at the “Centre de formation médicale du Nouveau-Brunswick, Université de Moncton”, and the “Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal.” In 2016, he obtained his PhD in Kinesiology from Oregon State University. As a physical activity epidemiologist, his research focuses on identifying determinants of physical activity behavior across the life-course, and determining cost-effective physical activity promotion programs. He is most interested in preventing chronic diseases through making healthy lifestyles accessible and achievable by everyone. Patrick is a member of the webinar committee of NESI.

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Jane Jie Yu

Dr. Jane Yu is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Sports Science and Physical Education of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). After receiving training in Sports Psychology at the Shanghai University of Sports in China, Jane moved to Hong Kong and obtained her PhD in Education in 2013 from CUHK. Her research focuses on physical activity, motor skills development, health promotion in children with a special interest in those with disabilities or specials needs. In NESI, Dr Yu is currently a member of the Networking Committee.

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Elizabeth Leung

Elizabeth was trained as an architect before her passion for sports and physical well-being motivated her to complete a Master of Education in Sports Science and Physical Education at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). She is currently a Research Assistant at the Department of Sports Science and Physical Education in CUHK and her research interests are in health and exercise promotion in children and women. Elizabeth is primarily involved in the Networking Committee of NESI.

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Siona Fernandes

Siona holds a Masters  degree in Clinical Psychology, a Masters  degree in Sport and Exercise Science and a Bachelor  degree in Performing Arts (Indian Classical dance studies). Her Master’s thesis from the Auckland University of Technology, grounded in New Zealand (NZ) is the first research exploring the participation and practices of sport and physical activity of the Indian  Community. She will continue to explore physical activity within an Indian immigrant populace with her current PhD Candidature within the Institute for

Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia.

Goan born  Indian, Siona Fernandes,  was the first female to represent NZ in boxing at the 2012 Olympic games in London. With her academic pursuits and elite sporting experiences, she promotes the values of Olympism as New Zealand’s Olympic Ambassador and is an emerging leader at the New Zealand Asian Leaders Forum.

Siona joins the NESI team with greater involvement in the planning and delivery of their webinars.

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Simone Verswijveren

Simone has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Human Movement Sciences from the Vrije Universiteit, The Netherlands. She is currently a PhD Candidate within the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. Her PhD focuses on patterns of physical activity and sedentary behaviour and associations with cardio-metabolic health in children and adolescents. She is currently involved in the Communications Committee of NESI.

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