Eli Puterman

Associate Professor

Research Interests

Acute exercise
cellular aging
chronic stress
Exercise interventions
Health Psychology
Physical Activity
Physical literacy
Stress physiology

Relevant Degree Programs

Affiliations to Research Centres, Institutes & Clusters


Research Methodology

Laboratory stress induction
Treadmill exercise sessions
wet lab
blood draws
randomized behavioural trials


Doctoral students
Postdoctoral Fellows
Any time / year round

Our Fitness, Aging and Stress Lab at UBC is currently actively engaged in several different laboratory and community studies. In the laboratory, we are examining the impact of different lengths and intensities of exercise on biological and psychological responses to acute stressors. We are also examining the flip side of this - how chronic and acute stress impact biological and psychological responses to acute bouts of exercise.
In our lab, we are also recruiting 10 year old children to study the associations between physical literacy and activity with social and emotional development, and biological 'omic' profiles, including metabolomic, proteomic, and microbiomic profiles.
Finally, our lab is also analyzing data from large nationally representative studies, such as Health and Retirement Study and the Midlife in The United States Study, examining longterm impacts of socioeconomic disadvantage and chronic stressors on physical activity engagement and disease.

I am open to hosting Visiting International Research Students (non-degree, up to 12 months).

Complete these steps before you reach out to a faculty member!

Check requirements
  • Familiarize yourself with program requirements. You want to learn as much as possible from the information available to you before you reach out to a faculty member. Be sure to visit the graduate degree program listing and program-specific websites.
  • Check whether the program requires you to seek commitment from a supervisor prior to submitting an application. For some programs this is an essential step while others match successful applicants with faculty members within the first year of study. This is either indicated in the program profile under "Admission Information & Requirements" - "Prepare Application" - "Supervision" or on the program website.
Focus your search
  • Identify specific faculty members who are conducting research in your specific area of interest.
  • Establish that your research interests align with the faculty member’s research interests.
    • Read up on the faculty members in the program and the research being conducted in the department.
    • Familiarize yourself with their work, read their recent publications and past theses/dissertations that they supervised. Be certain that their research is indeed what you are hoping to study.
Make a good impression
  • Compose an error-free and grammatically correct email addressed to your specifically targeted faculty member, and remember to use their correct titles.
    • Do not send non-specific, mass emails to everyone in the department hoping for a match.
    • Address the faculty members by name. Your contact should be genuine rather than generic.
  • Include a brief outline of your academic background, why you are interested in working with the faculty member, and what experience you could bring to the department. The supervision enquiry form guides you with targeted questions. Ensure to craft compelling answers to these questions.
  • Highlight your achievements and why you are a top student. Faculty members receive dozens of requests from prospective students and you may have less than 30 seconds to pique someone’s interest.
  • Demonstrate that you are familiar with their research:
    • Convey the specific ways you are a good fit for the program.
    • Convey the specific ways the program/lab/faculty member is a good fit for the research you are interested in/already conducting.
  • Be enthusiastic, but don’t overdo it.
Attend an information session

G+PS regularly provides virtual sessions that focus on admission requirements and procedures and tips how to improve your application.


Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - Nov 2020)
Assessment and training of physical literacy in early childhood educators (2019)

Educators working in early childhood education and care receive little to no training in physical activity or physical literacy. However, they are expected to adhere to government standards for physical activity and skill development during the childcare day. This dissertation sought to determine what characterizes a successful intervention aiming to train educators in physical activity and/or physical literacy, what barriers and facilitators educators identify in meeting daily activity standards, what the physical literacy of educators is, and if educator physical literacy is associated with their behaviours and intentions to provide physical activity or physical literacy activities regularly. A systematic review was undertaken to parse apart the distinct characteristics of effective training interventions in physical activity or physical literacy. Training programs that provided ongoing support, relied on a theoretical framework, and objectively measured study fidelity were more successful. Educators were interviewed (n=24) to assess facilitators and barriers they face when implementing policy mandated activity standards. Results demonstrated that the personal values of educators facilitated adherence, and if physical space was poor, or resources were low, adherence was inhibited. Finally, a cross-sectional study measured the physical literacy of educators (n=94), and utilized regression analysis to determine relationships between measured physical literacy and self-reported behaviours and intentions to provide physical activity and/or physical literacy opportunities daily. Physical activity behaviour and understanding were high, but the remaining components of physical literacy were moderate. A relationship was found between educator self-reported intentions and behaviours for providing physical activity opportunities and the physical literacy component of understanding, but no relationship was found for the other components of physical literacy. The results of these three studies demonstrate that educators are trainable in physical activity and physical literacy, but high-quality training programs that provide continued support and/or training for educators are needed. Training programs may not need to focus on the personal physical literacy of educators. Mandating training for educators to provide quality physical literacy opportunities to children should be a high public health priority.

View record

Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2018)
To what extent are movement behaviours associated with emotional well-being in grades four and five children? Results from the Optimizing Movement in Children Study (2018)

The potential mechanisms driving the optimal, healthy physical and psychological development of children have been studied extensively (Janssen et al., 2010; Milteer, Ginsburg, & Mulligan, 2012; Parfitt & Eston, 2005). Specific movement behaviours, including physical activity, sedentary time, and sleep have been studied independently to examine their influence on health outcomes. Emotional well-being, which encompasses a variety of psychological concepts including optimism, general self-concept, satisfaction with life, and sadness, is considered an important element in the healthy development of children (Guerra & Bradshaw, 2008). This study examined the extent to which four objectively-measured movement behaviours – light physical activity (LPA), moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), sedentary time, and sleep – are associated with emotional well-being in a sample of grades four and five children (N = 21). This study had three objectives: 1) to examine independent associations between the four separate movement behaviours and emotional well-being, 2) to examine the relationship between one movement behaviour and emotional well-being relative to time spent in other movement behaviours using compositional analysis, and 3) to examine whether time spent in sedentary screen activities versus non-screen sedentary activities moderated the relationship between objectively-measured sedentary time and emotional well-being. For objective 1, among the independent Spearman correlations, only MVPA was significantly and positively correlated with emotional well-being (ρ = 0.77, p
View record



If this is your researcher profile you can log in to the Faculty & Staff portal to update your details and provide recruitment preferences.


Sign up for an information session to connect with students, advisors and faculty from across UBC and gain application advice and insight.