Current Fellows

>

Manuel Ester

Manuel Ester

Manuel Ester

Program
PhD Kinesiology: Exercise Oncology

Supervisor
Dr. Nicole Culos-Reed

Research Project Title
Identification of key factors impacting feasibility & sustainability of exercise intervention in cancer care

Background
Exercise oncology, my field of research, combines my life long passion for health promotion through physical activity with the desire to help improve the lives of cancer patients around the world. Growing up, the importance of exercise to a healthy lifestyle was engrained in me through involvement in competitive soccer, freestyle skiing, and hiking. While studying cancer at a molecular level during my studies, work as a personal trainer allowed me to establish positive physical activity habits among many clients. Finally, after moving to Sweden to pursue my Master of Science, I began working in exercise oncology,investigating the molecular mechanisms behind the positive effects of exercise in cancer treatment. Shortly after graduating, my passion took me across the world to Tanzania, where I designed and implemented daily exercise programs for childhood cancer patients at a local non-profit. This work was both challenging and fulfilling, prompting me to seek out a PhD position at the University of Calgary’s Health and Wellness Lab, where I will be a part of translating research findings into improved exercise programming in standard cancer care.

Career Goals
With my experience in medical research and exercise therapy, my aim is to work towards effective implementation and an improved understanding of exercise prescription as a beneficial tool in cancer prevention/treatment.In doing so, I hope to promote the benefits of physical activity in improving quality of life and managing cancer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is TRACTION?

The TRACTION program is designed to provide trainees at all levels (undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral) with a comprehensive, individualized training experience focused on learning the essentials of research in psychosocial oncology, integrative oncology and behavioural clinical trials research, through a framework of patient-oriented research. We have a first year, second year, and third year program. Integrative Oncology is defined as an evidence-based sub-specialty that uses complementary therapies (such as mind-body therapies, energy therapies, natural health products, nutritional interventions and/or exercise) in concert with medical treatment to enhance its efficacy, improve symptom control, alleviate patient distress and reduce suffering.

How do you apply for TRACTION?

To apply, you must provide your CV (first years only), the completed application form, and a letter of intent. THe letter of content must be a maximum of one page for first and second year fellows, and a paragraph for third year fellows. Please contact us for eligibility.

When can you apply for TRACTION?

Application opens at the end of June and closes in July each year (dates may vary).

Will TRACTION provide an allowance for travel and materials?

Yes, TRACTION fellows are provided an allowance based on their education level. The allowance is provided for travel costs to conferences that would qualify under the TRACTION program. The allowance also assists with courses that can be taken to benefit the fellow in their research project associated to TRACTION, and any materials that may be needed to complete the project. For more information on conferences and TRACTION allowance please contact the TRACTION administrator.

Does TRACTION provide addition salary support?

Yes, if eligible. In order to be eligible the fellow must be a graduate or post doctoral student. The student must have applied for external sources for funding in order to qualify. Salary support only goes to first year TRACTION fellows. Amount provided will vary.

Am I Eligible for TRACTION?

TRACTION eligibility: • Students must be currently enrolled in a program of study that includes research training in some aspect of integrative oncology. Priority will be given to those conducting clinical research. • Students must be studying at the University of Calgary under one of the TRACTION program mentors.

What is the Mindfulness Based Cancer Recovery (MBCR) program?

The MBCR program involves training cancer patients in mindfulness practices through guided meditations and gentle mindful movements. Dr. Linda Carlson and colleagues have been delivering the MBCR program since 1998 at the Tom Baker Cancer Center, University of Calgary.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-to-moment awareness of our thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, and surroundings without judging them. An example of a judgement, would be that there is a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment or experience in our lives. When practicing mindfulness, our awareness tunes away from judgement and into what we’re experiencing in the present moment. We learn to stay in the present instead of bringing up the regrets of the past or the worries of the future.

What are the benefits of participating in the MBCR program?

MBCR has shown to be effective in impacting biological and psychosocial outcomes, such as symptoms of stress, quality of life, mood disturbance and stress hormones.

Can anyone learn mindfulness?

Mindfulness can be learned by practicing certain types of meditations, and postures. The practice of mindfulness can be learned by anyone and it is not tied to any specific religious or spiritual worldview.

What is the Mindfulness Based Cancer Recovery (MBCR) program?

The MBCR program involves training cancer patients in mindfulness practices through guided meditations and gentle mindful movements. Dr. Linda Carlson and colleagues have been delivering the MBCR program since 1998 at the Tom Baker Cancer Center, University of Calgary.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-to-moment awareness of our thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, and surroundings without judging them. An example of a judgement, would be that there is a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment or experience in our lives. When practicing mindfulness, our awareness tunes away from judgement and into what we’re experiencing in the present moment. We learn to stay in the present instead of bringing up the regrets of the past or the worries of the future.

What are the benefits of participating in the MBCR program?

MBCR has shown to be effective in impacting biological and psychosocial outcomes, such as symptoms of stress, quality of life, mood disturbance and stress hormones.

Can anyone learn mindfulness?

Mindfulness can be learned by practicing certain types of meditations, and postures. The practice of mindfulness can be learned by anyone and it is not tied to any specific religious or spiritual worldview.

If you have further questions, please feel free to reach our staff by visiting our contact page or visit us on social media.