Dr. Jennifer J. Heisz is an Associate Professor in Kinesiology and Associate Director (Seniors) of the Physical Activity Centre of Excellence at McMaster University. She received her PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience (McMaster) and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest. Dr. Heisz directs the NeuroFit Lab which is funded by the Alzheimer Society, Banting Foundation, Natural Science and Engineering Council of Canada, and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation. She  publishes extensively in prominent journals on the neurophysiology of fitness, aging, and cognitive neuroscience. Her current research interests include the effects of exercise on brain function across the lifespan, the physiological mechanisms underlying exercise-cognition interactions, and developing physical activity guideline for the prevention and management of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Recent honours include receiving an Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Research Coalition.

Jennifer Heisz


Dr. Allison is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab. His research interests involve understanding the physiological mechanisms that contribute to depression, including the potential relationship between skeletal muscle health and mental health. Dr. Allison is testing the potential for a skeletal muscle derived transcription factor to influence inflammatory mediators, glutamate neurotransmission, and hippocampal neurogenesis.


Dr. Brewer-Deluce is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab. Her research interests surround understanding the physiological underpinnings of learning. Specifically, she employs EEG neuroimaging and eye tracking technologies to gain insight into how trainees learn and assess anatomical images in a clinical context. Her goal is to develop unobtrusive and authentic metrics of learner competency to support learning and assessment in competency based medical education (CBME).


Michelle Ogrodnik is a Doctoral student in the lab. She is investigating how exercise breaks during a lecture improve attention and long-term comprehension. Her aim is to define the underlying mechanism behind this relation and expand this understanding to special populations. Her ultimate goal is to create guidelines to implement exercise breaks into applied settings to optimize learning.


Alexis Bullock is a Master’s student in the lab. She is investigating the neural protective effects of physical activity on brain health in older adults. Alexis is currently examining the association between age-related changes in inflammation and neurotrophic factors on cognition in older adults, and the potential impact of physical activity.


Allison is a Master’s student in the lab. Her research explores the interaction between physical activity and mental health. Allison’s current study examines whether mindfulness qualities moderate the relationship between physical activity and anxiety in student populations.


Tara is a Master's student in the lab. Her primary interest is the relationship between cognition, lifestyle, and brain health. She is examining how exercise and sleep may improve brain health in older adults and slow the effects of aging on cognition. Her goal is to use neuroimaging to examine the structural and functional changes in the brain occurring as a result of exercise.


Each year, the NeuroFitLab 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—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 NeuroFitLab are equipped with a valuable skill and knowledge set needed to address the challenges of an increasingly sedentary and aging population.


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