Barnes Lab – Our People

Jill N. Barnes, Ph.D.

I have been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison since 2015.  I became interested in the human body’s ability to quickly adapt to exercise and environmental stress as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, where I completed an Honor’s thesis under the direction of Jeffrey Horowitz.  This project motivated me to pursue a career in scientific research.  I obtained both my Master’s and Doctoral degrees at the University of Texas at Austin under the mentorship of Hirofumi Tanaka and then moved to Mayo Clinic for a postdoctoral fellowship under the mentorship of Michael Joyner.  My research has been supported by the NIH and continues to focus on the body’s ability to adapt to exercise, stress, and how this changes with aging.  When I am not in the laboratory, I enjoy traveling, riding my bike and almost any outdoor activity.

Research Staff

Anna Howery, M.S. Research Specialist

I have been a Research Specialist in Jill Barnes Lab since 2015. I attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for my undergraduate education, majoring in Rehabilitation Psychology. After graduation, I attended Carroll University, where I completed my Master’s Degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology. In the lab, I assist in maintaining compliance during each of our research studies, along with assisting in subject recruitment, data collection and data management. When not in the lab, I enjoy training for marathons and cheering on the Badgers and Packers.

Brandon G. Fico, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow

I recently started as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Jill Barnes Lab. I earned both my B.S. and M.S. from Florida Atlantic University where I studied how vascular function improves in individuals with obesity and inflammation following different exercise modalities. I then went to the University of Texas at Austin to complete my Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology with Dr. Hirofumi Tanaka in the Cardiovascular Aging Research Laboratory. During my doctoral studies, I was able to investigate how vascular dysfunction is associated with advancing age and specifically how exercise and diet modifications can ameliorate changes in the cardiovascular system with aging. My dissertation focused on demonstrating the variety of research topics that can be assessed using noninvasive measures of vascular function. I am interested in investigating how changes in cerebrovascular health may increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. My current research focuses on the age-related variability in cerebrovascular regulation using a potential model of accelerated aging in humans. When I am not in the lab, I enjoy lifting weights, running, watching movies, and traveling.


I recently started as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Dr. Barnes lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I was born and raised in Canada and earned my MSc and PhD in Kinesiology from the University of Western Ontario. For my MSc, I studied cerebrovascular outcomes in adolescent sport-related concussion. My Doctorate research explored the discreet contribution of cerebrovascular compliance to the regulation of cerebral blood flow at rest and during physiological stress. I am interested in exploring age-related changes to cerebrovascular function and how these changes differ by sex and also contribute to disease such as Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, my Postdoctoral research will examine the role of hemoglobin-oxygen transport in regulating cerebral blood during physical exercise. When I am not in the lab, I enjoy running, cycling, and hiking.

Graduate Students

Andrew Pearson, Graduate Student 

Born and raised in Michigan, I recently moved to Madison to begin a PhD in Exercise Physiology here at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. I graduated with a BS in Movement Science from the University of Michigan and an MS in Exercise Physiology from Eastern Michigan University. I am primarily interested in the combined effect of exercise, diet, and fasting on the neurovasculature, cardiovascular system, and overall health. While learning, teaching, and researching at UW-Madison, I hope to discover how autonomic and cardiovascular function can be improved through simple dietary and physical activity modifications. When I am not in the lab, I enjoy listening to music and exercising with a particular focus on running.


Adam Corkery, Graduate Student

I was born and raised in Iowa, and I graduated from the University of Iowa in 2016 with a BS in Human Physiology and a minor in Psychology. I then completed my MS in Kinesiology here at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in which I examined the effects of exercise mode on cerebral blood flow regulation. Currently, I am a PhD student studying Exercise Physiology. My research interests include the effects of aging and habitual exercise on the cardiovascular system, with a particular focus on optimizing exercise prescription for cerebrovascular health. With my research, I hope to help identify the methods and amounts of physical activity that best benefit cardiovascular and brain health. When I am not in the lab, I enjoy cycling, running, traveling, and spending time with my dog, Macie.

Nicole Eisenmann, Graduate Student

I am originally from a small mountain town in Colorado. Currently, I am a first year PhD student in the department of Kinesiology pursuing a degree in Exercise Physiology. I completed my BS in Exercise Biology at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and my MS in Exercise Physiology here at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For my Master’s thesis, I looked at the interactions of age and sex on sympathetic responsiveness to a hypercapnic challenge. My current research interests include how incorporating exercise into your daily life can slow the negative effects of aging and how this differs between men and women. When I am not in the lab, I enjoy skiing and snowboarding, biking, traveling and reading a new novel.


Sarean Gaynor-Metzinger, Graduate Student

Born and raised in North Carolina, I made the move to Madison, Wisconsin to pursue my PhD in Exercise Physiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I previously obtained both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Exercise Science at Appalachian State University. During my Master’s thesis, I investigated the effects of resistance training on cardiovascular and autonomic function in young women. I hope to continue investigating the effects of resistance training in my PhD studies while also exploring topics related to cerebrovascular function, cerebral blood flow, and biomarkers for diseases associated with cognitive impairment. When I am not in the lab, I spend my time training and competing in Powerlifting, climbing, and playing outside with my dog any chance I get.

Undergraduate Students

Alex Miller, Alex Norby, Ansel Fellman and Rehan Iftikhar

Laboratory Alumni


Kathleen Miller, MS 2017, PH.D. 2021

Current Position: Postdoctoral Research Scholar at National Institute of Aerospace

Undergraduate Alumni:

Abigail Angst, Alexandra Carl, Allison Tran, Alyson Zimmerman, Athena Golfinos, Carissa Loeper, Emily Hartwig, Emma Chapman, Gissel Hernandez, Hallie Mueller, Ido Haber, Jack Kwan, Karly Katchen, Katherine Senese, Lauren Walker, Mackenzie Greisch, Makayla Tuomi, Mark Saari, Michael Nuenninghoff, Mikaela Schwantz, Nicholas Winder, Niklaus Zeller, Purnima Stanek, Sophia Kern