The Team

Principal Investigator

Eva Pila, PhD

Dr. Eva Pila is an Assistant Professor at Western University in the School of Kinesiology. Her academic background consists of a BSc in Kinesiology and Psychology at McMaster University, MSc in Exercise Science (Behavioural Stream) at McGill University/University of Toronto, PhD in Exercise Science (Behavioural Stream). She completed a joint postdoctoral fellowship at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Women’s College Hospital, and the University of Saskatchewan.

Dr. Pila’s research program is currently funded by SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council). As a new investigator, she has been recognized with a national award (Franklin Henry Young Scientist Award, 2018) from the Canadian Society for Psychomotor Learning and Sport Psychology. She is also an Editorial Board Member for Body Image: An International Journal of Research and Sex Roles.

Dr. Pila has had a longstanding interest in body image and women’s health. Specifically, she is interested in affective experiences (e.g., self-conscious emotions; self-compassion) as related to body image and health (behaviour). She has experience working with community populations across the lifespan (e.g., adult women, adolescents, athletes) and clinical populations (e.g., adolescent eating disorders, mood disorders, breast cancer).

Current Graduate Sturents

Kelsey Sick, MA (PhD Year 2)

Kelsey completed a BSc in Kinesiology at the University in Calgary and MA in Kinesiology at Western University. She is currently a PhD student in the Psychological Basis of Kinesiology with a research interest in body image and mental health. Specifically, her work focuses on exploring how social comparisons and self-evaluations of the physical self contribute to global self-worth and mental health.

Working predominately with female adolescents, the results of this doctoral work will be used to disseminate evidence-based strategies to inform theory and practices promoting healthy adolescent development. Kelsey is also the co-founder of UR Enough.


Mitacs Accelerate-SSHRC Joint Initiative (2020) Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2020) Earle F. Zeigler Scholarship (2020) Western Graduate Research Scholarship (2017-2020) Faculty of Health Sciences Graduate Conference Travel Award (2018; 2019) Western Graduate Research Scholarship (2018/2019) Brown Commemorative Scholarship (2018)

Katarina Huellemann, MSc (PhD Year 1)

Katarina obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Western in 2018 and is currently in the process of completing her MSc in Social Psychology at Western. She is interested in the link between body image and the self-concept and how this influences disordered eating and exercise behaviour. Additionally, she is interested in the role of self-conscious emotions and emotion-regulation processes (self-compassion, mindfulness) on body image, exercise, and mental health.

Outside of the academic world, Katarina enjoy cooking, spending time with my dog (Bentley), and yoga.


Ralph S. Devereux Award in Psychology (2020)
2020: Western Graduate Research Grant (2020)
Graduate Travel Award (Society for Personality and Social Psychology Convention) (2019)

Isabella Randall, BSc (MA Year 2)

Isabella completed a BSc in Anatomy and Cell Biology at McGill University. Currently, she is in the first year of her M.A. in the Psychological Basis of Kinesiology. She is interested in how weight-based discrimination influences the physiological stress response and exercise outcomes. Specifically her thesis project aims to understand how exposure to weight-based stigma elicits the psychophysiological stress response, and impacts women’s health behaviours.

Faculty of Health Sciences Graduate Student Conference Travel Award – 2019

MacLean Press, BA (MA Year 1)

MacLean Press recently completed a BA in Kinesiology at Western University and is an incoming MA student in the Psychological Basis of Kinesiology. Her research interest is in body image and women’s health. Specifically, her research focuses on the effects of verbal cues on indices of self-objectification and exercise engagement among inactive young women. She hopes her research will be used to inform strategies to improve exercise adherence and enjoyment, and improve body image in women subjected to self-objectification.

Western Undergraduate Student Research Internship (2020)
Dean’s Honor List (2019, 2020)

Alexandra Rakin (MSc Year 1)

Alexandra completed a Honours BHSc in Kinesiology and Health Promotion at Sheridan College. She is currently a MSc candidate in Integrative Biosciences at Western University. Her research interests are in exercise prescription, pregnancy and eating disorders. She currently works at both the Body Image and Health Research Lab and Exercise and Pregnancy Lab, where she has the opportunity to work with a variety of different populations and interventions. Non-academic related interests she has are outdoor related activities (hiking, running and road biking) and competitive powerlifting and bodybuilding. She placed first in Regionals and Nationals in her age/weight class and qualified for Worlds in 2020.

Undergraduate Senior Thesis Students

Stefania Rizzardo, BA Year 4

I am currently doing Bachelor of Arts Degree with an Honours Specialization in Kinesiology at Western University. Some of my research interests include areas surrounding body image, mental health, and public health! I hope to gather valuable experience and knowledge in these research areas so that I can be better prepared in the public and global health field! Some of my hobbies include reading, running, playing piano and cooking!

Madeline Wood, BA Year 4

Madeline is in the final year of a Bachelor of Arts Honours Specialization in Kinesiology at Western University. She is passionate about health science, women’s health, and mental health. Madeline’s research interests include the psychology of body image, cognitive neuroscience, and women’s health as it relates to gender-specific experiences. Currently she is working on an undergraduate thesis project that aims to investigate the effects of social media content on young women’s exercise motivation and body image. In her free time, she enjoys working out, baking, and spending time her with family.

Dean’s Honour List (2018, 2019)
Transfer Student Scholarship (2017)

Research Assistants

Erika Gray, BKin

Erika is currently a MA candidate in Sport Management at Western University. She completed a B. Kin (H) at Brock University. Her research interests include gender equity and equality in sport, senior leadership, women and girls in sport, and physical literacy. In the BIH Lab, she is involved with projects pertaining to adolescent girls involved in sport and in exploring body image and movement-based beahviours in undergraduate students.

PackianathanChelladurai Award at Western University (2018)

Claire Adams

Claire iscurrently completing a Bachelor of Medical Sciences at Western University specializing in physiology and pharmacology. She is passionate about integrating science and the social, mental and physical aspects of health to enhance well-being. Claire’s research interests include mental wellness, psychological impacts of illness, chronic disease prevention and physical activity. In her spare time, Claire enjoys doing yoga, reading and dancing with friends.

Western Undergraduate Student Research Internship (2020)
MROO Scholarship Recipient for commitment to volunteer service and leadership (2019)
Dean’s Honor List (2019, 2020)
Western Scholarship of Excellence (2018)

Past & Present Research Volunteers

Elitza Parvanova

(Kinesiology, Year 4)

Volunteer 2019 – 2020

Julie Dunn

(Kinesiology, Year 4)

Volunteer 2019 – 2020

Michelle Lui

(Kinesiology, Year 4)

Volunteer 2019 – 2020

Maggie (Mei Kei) Lai

(Kinesiology, Year 4)

Volunteer 2019 – 2020


Anna Zheng, BA

Anna recently completed an Honours BA Kinesiology at Western University. Specifically, her senior research project was a scoping review that investigated the relationship between weight stigma and physical activity. In addition, she was granted a Summer Undergraduate Student Research Award from the Faculty of Health Sciences to research the effects of compassion-focused training on women with mood disorders who were attending a behavioural weight management program. Anna is now enrolled in the MSc Physical Therapy program at the University of Toronto.

Faculty of Health Sciences Summer Undergraduate Student Research Award (2019)

Honorary Members