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Associate Professor in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences, University of British Columbia

My interest in metabolism began as a competitive distance runner as I became fascinated with trying to understand how the body produced energy to fuel exercise. I was first introduced to research as an undergraduate summer student working in the laboratory of Dr. Martin Gibala at McMaster University and was quickly hooked. After pursuing an MSc degree at the University of Saskatchewan focusing on sport nutrition I returned to McMaster to complete my PhD focusing on muscle mitochondrial adaptations to exercise in healthy humans and individuals with type 2 diabetes. These experiences gave me a strong background in human exercise physiology and metabolism. In my postdoctoral fellowship at UBC I explored how metabolic disruptions associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes (e.g., high glucose, hyperlipidemia) impacted inflammatory activation of isolated cells. In my current lab we combine all of these approaches to understand how the metabolic disruptions that characterize type 2 diabetes affect cellular inflammation and explore how different exercise and nutritional strategies can be used to reduce inflammation and improve overall cardiometabolic health.

Hons B. Kin – McMaster University – 2005
M.Sc. – University of Saskatchewan – 2007
Ph.D. – McMaster University – 2010
Postdoctoral Fellowship – University of British Columbia – 2010-2012
Obesity, insulin resistance (prediabetes), and type 2 diabetes are interrelated disorders characterized by progressively deteriorating metabolic health. Metabolic impairments in these conditions lead to many negative health consequences, including increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline. Research in the Exercise Metabolism and Inflammation Laboratory (EMIL) is focused on: 1) Understanding the mechanisms, and systemic consequences, of chronic low-grade inflammation; and 2) Determining how different exercise strategies impact cardiometabolic health and inflammatory status in individuals with, and at risk for, type 2 diabetes.

We utilize a translational approach, where in vivo studies in humans with type 2 diabetes guide cell culture experiments designed to understand molecular mechanisms, and vice versa.

In our human exercise physiology laboratory located in the Arts Building we have a metabolic cart, vascular ultrasound equipment, treadmill, cycle ergometers, elliptical trainer, resistance training equipment, and a medical procedures area which enable us to conduct studies ranging from acute exercise manipulations to clinical exercise trials with metabolic measurements.

In our cellular and molecular laboratory located in the adjacent Arts and Science Building, we have a full cell culture suite, Miltenyi MACSQuant(R) flow cytometer, MagPIX(R) multiplex reader, real-time PCR machine, multi-function plate reader, and western blot equipment.

Key experimental techniques utilized include continuous glucose monitoring, flow-mediated dilation, peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) isolation/culture, and multi-colour flow cytometry.

Interested graduate students and postdoctoral fellows are encouraged to contact me directly via email at

At the undergraduate level, I teach HMKN 313 – Exercise Metabolism and supervise students in HMKN 499 Research Practicum.


Jung ME, Bourne J, Beauchamp MR, Robinson E, Little JP (2015). High-intensity interval training as an efficacious alternative to moderate-intensity continuous training for adults with pre diabetes. Journal of Diabetes Research, URL:

Durrer CG, Robinson EG, Wan Z, Martinez N, Hummel M, Jenkins NT, Kilpatrick M, Little JP* (2015). Differential impact of acute high-intensity exercise on circulating endothelial microparticles and insulin resistance between overweight/obese males and females. PLOS ONE. 24;10(2):e0115860. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0115860

Wan, Z., Mah, D., Simtchouk, S., Kluftinger, A., Little JP*. (2015) Role of amyloid beta in the induction of lipolysis and secretion fo adipokines from human adipose tissue. Adipocyte 4:1, 105. doi: 10.4161/21623945.2014.985020.

Wan, Z., Mah, D., Simtchouk, S., Kluftinger, A., Little, J.P.* (2015) Human adipose tissue conditioned media from lean subjects is protective against H2O2 induced neurotoxicity in human SH-SY5Y neuronal cells. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 16 (1): 1221-1231

Francois ME, Little JP* (2015). “High-intensity interval training and its safety and appropriateness for people with type 2 diabetes”, Diabetes Spectrum, 28:39-44; doi:10.2337/diaspect.28.1.39.


Little, J.P.*, Francois, M.E. (2014) High-intensity interval training for improving postprandial hyperglycemia. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 85 (4): 451-456

Wan, Z., Little, J.P. (2014) Adiponectin and Alzheimer’s disease: Is there a link? Inflammation and Cell Signaling, 1: e154

Wan, Z., Durrer, C., Mah, D., Simtchouk, S., Little, J.P.* (2014) One-week high-fat diet leads to reduced toll-like receptor 2 expression and function in young healthy men. Nutrition Research, 34 (12): 1045-1051

Wan, Z., Durrer,C., Mah, D., Simtchouk, S., Robinson, E., Little, J.P.* (2014) Reduction of AMPK activity and altered MAPKs signaling in peripheral blood mononuclear cells in response to acute glucose ingestion following a short-term high fat diet in young healthy men. Metabolism, 63 (9): 1209-1216

Jung ME, Bourne JE, Little JP. (2014). Where does HIT Fit? An examination of the affective response to high-intensity intervals in comparison to continuous moredrate- and continuous vigorous-intensity exercise in the exercise intensity/-affect continuum. PLOS ONE 9(12): e114541. Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.011451.

Kilpatrick M, Jung ME, Little JP (2014) High-intensity interval training: A review of the physiological and psychological responses. ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal. 18(5): 11-16.

Little JP*, Jung ME, Wright AE, Wright W, Manders RJF (2014). Effects of high-intensity interval exercise versus continuous-moderate intensity exercise on postprandial glycemic control assessed by continuous glucose monitoring in obese adults. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 39(7), 835-841 DOI: 10.1139/apnm-2013-0512

For a full list of publications on Pubmed please visit “My Bibliography”:


  • –present
    Assistant Professor in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences, University of British Columbia