Current Lab Members
Faculty, Lab Director
Dr. Trish Tucker is an Associate Professor in the School of Occupational Therapy and the Director of the Child Health & Physical Activity Lab at Western University. Dr. Tucker’s expertise are in the broad areas of health promotion, physical activity, and childhood obesity prevention. Her primary area of research is the measurement and promotion of physical activity with a particular focus on preschool-aged children.
Trish’s current research includes:
(1) identifying and modifying environmental influences on young children’s physical activity and sedentary time at childcare;
(2) exploring the effects of introducing physical activity policies in childcare centres; and
(3) developing and testing an online physical activity training module for implementation during early childhood educators’ pre-service schooling.
Dr. Tucker’s research potential has been recognized by an Ontario Early Researcher Award (reserved for emerging scholarly leaders within their respective fields) and the Petro Canada Young Innovator Award at Western University, and in 2020 she was designated Faculty Scholar in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Western. Trish has two young kids who keep her very active.
Research Program Manager, Adjunct Professor,
Dr. Brianne Bruijns serves as the Research Program Manager for the Child Health and Physical Activity Lab and is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Occupational Therapy. She completed her MSc ('18) and PhD ('21) degrees in the field of Health Promotion at Western University, and completed her undergraduate degree in Physical Education at Brock University ('16). During her SSHRC-funded doctoral studies, her research focused on developing and pilot testing an e-Learning course in physical activity and sedentary behaviour for pre-service early childhood educators to supplement their college/university education (The TEACH Study). As Research Program Manager, Brianne oversees all ongoing research projects in the lab, and provides strategic planning and grant-writing support. She loves to travel, and always finds a hiking trail wherever she goes!
Matthew works as a Postdoctoral Fellow Physical Activity Promotion in Childcare Settings and is responsible for the management of the Training Early-Childhood Educators in Physical Activity (TEACH) study. He received his PhD in Human Movement in 2021 from Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia. Matthew’s post-graduate research focused on the relationship between physical activity, mental health, and wellbeing in young people. In his PhD thesis, Matthew used Ecological Momentary Assessment to explore how the social context, the physical environment, and domain of physical activity, moderated the association between physical activity and subjective wellbeing in adolescents. In his spare time, Matthew enjoys hanging out with friends and family, cooking his favorite vegetarian meals, and watching his favorite Aussie rules team play.
Post-Doctoral Associate and Adjunct Professor
Having received her PhD in Health Promotion from the University of Western Ontario in 2016, Dr. Vanderloo’s area of research focuses on the objective measurement of young children’s physical activity levels and sedentary time. Her research interests also extend to the impact of the outdoor environment on young children’s activity behaviours. Dr. Vanderloo has published some of the first national and international papers examining the variability in young children’s activity levels across various early learning environments as well as exploring approaches for improving objective measurement in this population. She recently completed a CIHR Research Fellowship with SickKids Hospital where she examined the association between physical activity and sedentary behaviours and cardiometabolic risk in children. Currently, Dr. Vanderloo is working as the Knowledge Translation Manager at ParticipACTION and is also a Post-Doctoral Associate in the Child Health and Physical Activity Lab. In 2021, Dr. Vanderloo was awarded the Children’s Health Research Institute (CHRI) Trainee Award.
Funding: Children's Health Research Institute
Sophie will soon be joining as a Postdoctoral Associate in the Child Health & Physical Activity Lab at Western University. Sophie will primarily work on the MOvement behaviours and irritaBILITY in early childhood (MOBILITY) study, alongside other projects on the promotion of physical activity in young children and their parents. Sophie received her PhD in Public Health in 2022 from Durham University, UK. Sophie’s PhD research was funded by the National Institute for Health Research School for Public Health Research (NIHR SPHR) and focused on assessing options for the measurement of 24-hour movement behaviour of pre-school aged children. Sophie joins the lab from the Play in Education, Development and Learning (PEDAL) research centre at The University of Cambridge, UK. Outside of work, Sophie enjoys spending time with family and friends, going to the gym, being outdoors and reading
3rd year PhD Student
Emma is a PhD Candidate in Health Promotion at Western University. Recently, she completed her Master’s in Geography at Western exploring children’s perceptions of, and access to, a free physical activity intervention for elementary school children. She also received an undergraduate degree in Human Biology from the University of Toronto in 2017. Emma’s research interests include promoting physical activity and supporting health lifestyles amongst children. Her thesis focuses on examining the impact of free recreation programming on children’s physical activity levels, as well as identifying the factors that complicate and/or facilitate the implementation of physical activity interventions for children. In her spare time, Emma enjoys playing soccer, cooking, and spending time with friends and family.
3rd year PhD Student
Monika recently completed her Master's thesis in Health Promotion, which explored the feasibility of a written physical activity policy for increasing young children's physical activity levels in childcare. Prior to starting her graduate work, she completed her Bachelor of Health Sciences at Western University. Her PhD work involves exploring parents' perspectives on their child(ren)'s return to play and sport following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. In her free time, Monika enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, exploring the outdoors, and spending time with her dog.
Funding: Mitacs, YMCA of Southwestern Ontario, New Digital Research Infrastructure Organization
Leah is completing a combined MScOT/PhD degree (Health Promotion stream) through the School of Occupational Therapy. Leah's background includes a BHSc (honours Health Promotion) at Western University graduating in 2016, and a MSc in Geography from Western University. Leah's masters research focused on children's physical activity behaviours related to their environments. Leah’s current PhD research focuses on practical applications of the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines as a tool in early intervention occupational therapy when working with young children (age 0-5 years) with developmental disabilities. Leah enjoys spending all her free time outdoors - hiking, camping, gardening, and running.
Funding: Sir Fredrick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarship Doctoral Award (Canadian Institute of Health Research), Ontario Graduate Scholarship
2nd Year MSc Student
Kendall recently graduated from Western University with an Honours Specialization in Health Sciences. She is a second year Master of Science student specializing in Health Promotion. Kendall’s research interests include the promotion of physical activity and finding ways to motivate children beyond sedentary activities. In her thesis, she plans to explore parent perspectives on their child(ren)’s return to play and sport beyond the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. In her spare time, Kendall loves making her favourite pizza and sourdough recipes, biking, hiking and spending time outside with her Aussie shepherd puppy.
Aidan is a fourth-year undergraduate student at Western University working towards an Honours Specialization in Clinical Kinesiology. Aidan completed an independent study with the lab investigating the fundamental movement skills of children via the TGMD-3. Additionally, he manages the KT initiatives (e.g., creating infographics, social media posts, and a research summary video) for the TEACH study, and he was recently recognized as a Top 25 Finalist in the SSHRC Storytellers competition for this work. Growing up actively involved in a variety of sports, Aidan has seen how his physical involvements at an early age contributed to a physically and mentally healthy lifestyle. Through his work with the Child Health and Physical Activity Lab he is looking forward to contributing to the promotion of children’s physical activity in and around the community. In his spare time, Aidan enjoys running, spending time with his friends, and exploring the outdoors.
Manahi is a third-year student at Western University working towards a degree in Honors Specialization in BSc Kinesiology. Manahil's journey into the world of research began during her school years when she participated in a science fair project. Her project won a gold medal and received the Alberta's Association of Optometrist Award. This accomplishment sparked her interest in research and ignited a passion for understanding the scientific principles of research. She believes in the power of evidence-based practices to enhance physical performance, prevent injuries, and promote overall well-being. As a result, she has actively engaged in research projects and hopes to make a positive impact in the community. Manahil will be assisting with the Mobility and Act-i-Pass study in our lab. Outside the lab, Manahil actively volunteers as a soccer coach, aiming to instill a love for physical activity and promote a healthy lifestyle among kids. Manahil is also a certified first aid instructor and when she is not immersed in her studies or involved in extracurricular activities, she values quality time spent with her family outdoors and enjoys horseback riding.
Independent Study Student
Connor is a 4th-year undergraduate student who is completing his Honours Specialization in Health Sciences at Western University. With a solid academic foundation and a keen interest in physical activity, nutrition, and health promotion, Connor strives to make a positive impact in the Child Health and Physical Activity Lab through his independent study project. The project involves reviewing the scientific literature surrounding educational interventions for parents of young children pertaining to physical activity, nutrition, and sleep. Connor was also involved in the data extraction for a project with a Cochrane Review on the interventions to prevent obesity in children aged 2 to 4 years old. Connor enjoys training in the gym, rock climbing, cooking, and watching action movies.
Undergraduate Research Volunteer
Alex is a fourth-year undergraduate student at Western University, pursuing an Honours Specialization in Interdisciplinary Medical Science. She is interested in exploring the correlation between physical activity and the emotional development of children. Particularly, she aims to understand the relationship between movement behaviours in young children and their ability to regulate distressing emotions. Alex is passionate about advancing her knowledge on how certain movement patterns impact the physical and emotional well-being of young children, and is inspired to continue contributing to research in this field with the Child Health and Physical Activity Lab. Outside of academics, Alex enjoys traveling, exploring the outdoors, reading, going to the gym, and spending time with her friends and family.