About us – NESI officers

NESI CHAIR AND STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE

Simone Verswijveren

Dr Simone Verswijveren is a postdoctoral research fellow within the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. She has a BSc and MSc in Human Movement Sciences from the Vrije Universiteit, The Netherlands and finished her PhD studies at IPAN in 2020. Her PhD focused on patterns of physical activity and sedentary behaviour and associations with cardio-metabolic health in children and adolescents. Simone is currently chairing NESI and is the 2020-2022 Student Representative on the ISBNPA executive committee.

EARLY CAREER RESEARCHER REPRESENTATIVES

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 postdoctoral 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. Jenna is one of the 2020-2022 Early Career Representatives on the ISBNPA Executive Committee.

Inês Santos

Inês Santos

Dr Inês Santos is a Nutritionist with a PhD in Physical Activity and Health (2017). She is an invited assistant professor at the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, Lusófona University and at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon, and an Early Career Researcher at the Self-Regulation in Physical Activity, Nutrition and Obesity (PANO-SR) Research Group at the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Human Performance (CIPER), Faculty of Human Kinetics, University of Lisbon, Portugal. She has developed expertise in the area of self-regulation of weight loss maintenance and energy balance-related behaviors. Additionally, her work has contributed to a better understanding of the epidemiology of weight loss attempts in adults across the world. Inês is one of the 2020-2022 Early Career Representatives on the ISBNPA Executive Committee.

COMMUNICATION TEAM MEMBERS

Brittany Johnson

Dr Brittany Johnson is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Caring Futures Institute, at Flinders University in South Australia. She is currently leading the deconstructing interventions component of the TOPCHILD Collaboration—a new project that is bringing together researchers from around the world to transform early childhood obesity prevention (www.topchildcollaboration.org). Her research interests include improving children’s diet quality by reducing unhealthy food intake, applying behaviour change theory and creating supportive environments where we live, work and play. Brittany is chair of the NESI Communication Team.

Kate Parker

Dr Kate Parker is a Lecturer in Physical Activity and Health at Deakin University, School of Exercise and Nutrition Science. She has a background in exercise science and completed her PhD at Deakin University in early 2020. Her research focuses on understanding how and why adolescents’ participation in various movement and non-movement behaviours cluster and track over time. Kate is a member of the NESI Communication Team.

Jelle Arts

Jelle Arts is a PhD candidate within the section Child Health & Care research at the Amsterdam UMC in the Netherlands. Prior to this he obtained a master’s degree in Human Movement Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He is currently working on a project called My Little Moves – a project that aims to gain insight into the ideal 24-hour movement behavior for a healthy growth and development of children aged 0-4 years old. Jelle is a member of the NESI Communication Team.

Brianne Bruijns

Brianne is a PhD candidate in the Child Health & Physical Activity Lab at Western University in London, Canada. She graduated from her Master’s program in Health Promotion in 2018 (Western University) and completed her undergraduate degree in Physical Education in 2016 (Brock University). Her PhD research involved piloting an e-Learning course in physical activity and sedentary behaviour for pre- and in-service early childhood educators to support their knowledge and confidence to promote healthy movement behaviours in childcare settings (the TEACH pilot study; https://www.childpalab.ca/current-projects); she will be defending her dissertation in December 2021. Brianne is a member of the NESI Communication Team.

Daehyoung “DH” Lee

Dr. DH Lee is an assistant professor in the Department of Applied Human Sciences at the University of Minnesota Duluth. He also serves as the coordinator for the Developmental Adapted Physical Education program. He earned his PhD in Kinesiology at Indiana University-Bloomington and MS in Adapted Physical Activity at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. His primary research interest revolves around physical activity and health promotion in individuals with disabilities. His recent work includes the development and validation of a gamified behavior change app for physical activity promotion in people with autism spectrum disorder. In addition, he is investigating the interrelationship between motor skills, physical activity, and language development in children with developmental disabilities. DH is a member of the NESI Communication Team. 

NETWORKING TEAM MEMBERS

Sarah Burkart

Dr Sarah Burkart is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow within the Arnold Childhood Obesity Initiative at the University of South Carolina. Her research aims to examine the complex interplay between the home environment and children’s sleep, which ultimately impacts childhood obesity. She completed her MS, MPH, and PhD at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she focused on developing classroom-based physical activity programs to enhance preschool children’s health and academic behaviors. Sarah is co-chair of the NESI Networking Team.

Gwenn Porter

Dr Gwenn Porter is a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska, USA. She aims to implement effective weight management and chronic disease prevention interventions into typical practice through clinical and community partnerships. She holds a BS in Kinesiology from The Pennsylvania State University and an MS in Kinesiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Gwenn is co-chair of the NESI Networking Team.

Christine St. Laurent

Dr Christine St. Laurent is a postdoctoral research associate in the University of Massachusetts (UMass) SomneuroLab which researches the impact of sleep on health and cognition across the lifespan. She earned her PhD in kinesiology and MPH in epidemiology at the University of UMass. Her dissertation project focused on the effects of a school-based fitness program on academic performance and cognition in elementary school children. Her research focuses on the interactive roles of physical activity and sleep on children’s physical, cognitive, and brain health. Currently, she is examining the associations between 24-hour movement behaviors and various health and cognitive outcomes in early childhood. Christine is a member of the NESI Networking Team.

Hilary Caldwell

Dr Hilary Caldwell is a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Healthy Populations Institute at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. Hilary completed her PhD with the Child Health & Exercise Medicine Program and the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University and a CIHR Health System Impact Fellowship with the City of Hamilton Public Health Services Healthy Built Environments in Hamilton, Canada. Her doctoral research focused on children’s physical literacy, physical activity and health across childhood. Currently, Hilary contributes to various projects related to child health & well-being and public health. Hilary is a member of the NESI Networking Team. 

Taylor Willmott

Dr Taylor Willmott is an award-winning early career researcher with interdisciplinary expertise in behavioural science, economics, social marketing, and human-centered design. She has held several research and teaching appointments across leading higher education institutions in Australia and is currently completing a postdoctoral fellowship with Social Marketing @ Griffith, Griffith University. Skilled in quantitative and qualitative research methods, Dr Willmott leads a program of research focused on the prevention of noncommunicable disease and the nexus between diet, physical activity, and body weight, particularly during the transition from adolescence to young adulthood. She is a passionate advocate for providing young people with the knowledge and skills needed to take agency in their own health and wellbeing, and ensuring systems are in place to support them in doing so. Dr Willmott is a member of the NESI Networking team and an Events Officer for the newly formed ISBNPA Young Adult SIG.

Alexandra Descarpentrie

Alexandra Descarpentrie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Life Sciences and a university diploma in scientific mediation from Université de La Réunion. She then turned to Public Health by joining the master’s program at Université de Paris-Saclay. Currently, as a PhD candidate at Center for Research in Epidemiology and StatisticS (CRESS, Université de Paris, Inserm), she is interested in the relations between lifestyle patterns in early childhood and their family contextual factors as well as different health events, both in general and homeless populations. Alexandra is a member of the NESI Networking Team.  

WEBINAR/WORKSHOP TEAM MEMBERS

Sarah Shaw

Sarah Shaw is a senior research assistant and part-time PhD student at the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit at the University of Southampton, UK. Sarah has a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and is a Registered Associate Nutritionist (Public Health) in the UK. Her PhD research is using a mixed-methods approach to investigate the interactions between adolescents’ physical food environments and social environments, and the influence these have on diet and food purchasing behaviours. Sarah is co-chair of the NESI Webinar/Workshop Team.

Stephanie Chappel

Stephanie Chappel is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Central Queensland University – Appleton Institute, Adelaide, Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science (Hons), and completed her PhD thesis at Deakin University. Her research focuses on the physical activity levels of workers within demanding industries including, firefighting, nursing and rail. Stephanie’s research combines the field of physical activity research with human factors and systems thinking research. She also has experience with physical activity within child and adolescent populations, and has an interest in measurement devices for physical activity and movement. Stephanie is co-chair of the NESI Webinar/Workshop Team.

Emma Lawlor

Dr Emma Lawlor is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR) at the University of Cambridge. She completed her PhD at Queen’s University Belfast in 2018. Her research focuses on evaluating population level built environment and policy interventions, particularly in relation to physical activity. She also has experience in developing and evaluating weight management programmes. Emma is a member of the NESI Webinar/Workshop Team.

Alexis Jones

Alexis Jones is a doctoral student at the University of South Carolina within the Arnold Childhood Obesity Initiative. Her research interests focus on the relationship between parental rules, screen time, and sleep and their association with childhood obesity. She completed her B.S. in Psychology at Campbell University and her M.S. in Health and Exercise Science at Wake Forest University. Alexis is a member of the NESI Webinar/Workshop Team.

Stephen Barrett

Stephen is a PhD candidate at La Trobe University, Bendigo in Australia. He completed his BSc in Physiotherapy at University College Dublin, and a Masters in Public Health at the University of Melbourne. His PhD research focussed on the role of behaviour change interventions in ambulatory hospital care. This PhD was undertaken part-time, he holds a full time position in the Public Health team in Bendigo Health. His PhD has been examined, and is awaiting ratification from the academic board. Stephen is a member of the NESI Webinar/Workshop Team.