Kyra Pyke, PhD

PhD (Queen's University)

MSc (Queen's University)

BA (York University)


Contact Information


Telephone:  613-533-6601



Telephone:  613-533-6000 x79631

Office: KHS 206J


Undergraduate Courses

KNPE 227 - Exercise Physiology

KNPE 425 - Physiology of Stress

KNPE 459 - Clinical Exercise Physiology


Graduate Courses

KHS 885 - Oxygen Transport in Exercise Physiology


Research Summary

My interests focus on three interacting areas of human cardiovascular research: i) endothelial function, ii) autonomic function and iii) the physiological effects of psychosocial stress. The vascular endothelium is a single layer of cells that lines all of the blood vessels in the body. It exerts local control over vascular tone and also plays a key role in modulating atherosclerosis development. One branch of my research is aimed at i) improving our understanding of how the endothelium responds to changes in blood flow, ii) improving endothelial function assessment in humans, and iii) understanding how endothelial function changes with disease. The sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system increases heart rate and causes vasoconstriction. Acute changes in sympathetic nervous activity occur during exercise and are essential for blood pressure regulation. In contrast, the chronically elevated sympathetic nervous activity observed in some disease states (e.g. congestive heart failure and sleep apnea) contributes to pathological vascular adaptations. My interests lie in understanding how acute and chronic sympathetic nervous activation influence vascular tone, compliance and endothelial function. Psychosocial stress is associated with the development of cardiovascular disease, although the physiological basis of this connection is not fully understood. Initially focused on basic, mechanistic questions, this research will lead to an investigation of the ability of stress reduction interventions (e.g. stress management counseling) to improve physiological measures of cardiovascular function and health.

Laboratory: Cardiovascular Stress Response Laboratory - School of Kinesiology and Health Studies


Graduate Student Opportunities

Accepting students at the master's and PhD level for September 2019.


Current Funding

Canada Foundation for Innovation 

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)


Recent Publications

J.C. Tremblay, R.L. Hoiland, H.H. Carter, C.A. Howe, M. Stembridge, C.K. Willie, C. Gasho, D.B. Macleod, K.E. Pyke, P.N. Ainsliez (2018). UBC-Nepal Expedition: Upper and Lower Limb Conduit Artery Shear Stress and Flow-Mediated Dilation on Ascent to 5050 m in Lowlanders and Sherpa. American Journal of Physiology, Heart and Circulatory Physiology

J.C. Tremblay, C.A. Howe, P.N. Ainslie, K.E. Pyke. UBC-Nepal Expedition: Imposed oscillatory shear stress does not further attenuate flow-mediated dilation during acute and sustained hypoxia. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2018.

J.C. Tremblay, T.V. Stimpson, K.M. Murray, K.E. Pyke. (2018). Sitting cross-legged for 30 minutes alters lower limb shear stress pattern but not flow-mediated dilation or arterial stiffness. Applied Physiology Nutrition Metabolism.

J.T. Zelt, J.H. Jones, D.M. Hirai, T.J. King, D.C. Berton, K.E. Pyke, D.E. O’Donnell, J.A. Neder. (2018). Systemic vascular dysfunction is associated with emphysema burden in mild COPD. Respiratory Medicine. 136: 29-36.

J.C. Tremblay, K.E. Pyke. Flow-mediated dilation stimulated by sustained increases in shear stress: a useful tool for assessing endothelial function in humans? Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2018, 314(3): H508-H520.

D'Urzo KA, King TJ, Williams JS, Silvester MD, Pyke KE. The impact of menstrual phase on brachial artery flow-mediated dilation during handgrip exercise in healthy premenopausal women. Experimental Physiology. 2017, 103(2): 291-302.

B.M. Levac, M.A. Adams, K.E. Pyke. (2017). The impact of an acute oral phosphate load on endothelium dependent and independent brachial artery vasodilation in healthy males. Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism. 42(12): 1307-1315.

Plotnick MD, D'Urzo KA, Gurd BJ, Pyke KE. The influence of vitamin C on the interaction between acute mental stress and endothelial function. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2017, 117(8): 1657-1688.

Carson IN, Batson MJ, Tranmer JE, Scribbans TD, Gurd BJ, and Pyke KE.  Cardiovascular and cortisol reactivity to acute mental stress in female shift and non-shift workers: A pilot study.  Sage open Nursing May 2017- In Press.

King TJ, Schmitter SM, Pyke KE.  Assessment of flow-mediated dilation in the superficial femoral artery using a sustained shear stress stimulus via calf plantar-flexion exercise.  Exp. Physiol. 2017 Feb. 2 doi 10.1113/EP085980. EPub ahead of print. 

D.J. Slattery, T.J. Stuckless, T.J. King, K.E. Pyke.  Impaired exercise induced brachial artery flow-mediated dilation in young obese males.  Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2016, 41(5), 528-37.
T.J. Stuckless and K.E. Pyke. The impact of cold pressor test on brachial artery handgrip exercise-induced flow-mediated dilation. Vascular Medicine. 2015, 20(5):409-416. See here:

T.J. King, H. Lemke, A.D. Green, D.A. Tripp, V.J. Poitras, B.J. Gurd and K.E. Pyke.  Impaired brachial artery endothelial function in young healthy women following an acute painful stimulus.  European Journal of Applied Physiology.  2015 Mar 1 [epub ahead of print]

D. Montero, G. Walther, C. Diaz-Canestro, K.E. Pyke, J. Padilla.  Microvascular dilator function in athletes: a systematic review and meta-analysis.  Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2014, Nov. 10,  Epub ahead of print.

V.J. Poitras, D. J. Slattery, B.J. Gurd and K.E.Pyke.  Evidence that meal fat content does not impact hemodynamic reactivity to or recovery from repeated mental stress tasks.  Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism.  2014, 39(11): 1314- 21.

D. Montero, J. Padilla, C. Diaz-Cañestro, D. M. Muris, K. E. Pyke, P. Obert, G. Walther.  Flow-mediated dilation in athletes: influence of aging.  Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.  2014, 46(11): 2148-58. 

I.C. Szijgyarto, V.J. Poitras, B.J. Gurd and K.E. Pyke.  (2014). Acute psychological and physical stress transiently enhances brachial artery flow mediated dilation stimulated by exercise induced increases in shear stress.Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism.  39(8):927-307.

J.Ku, A. McEvoy, K.E. Pyke. (2014) Can a Combination of Handgrip Exercise and Prolonged Forearm Occulusion Elicit a Maximal Brachial Artery FMD response?  European Journal of Applied Physiology.  2014, 114(6):1297-306.

V.J. Poitras, D.J. Slattery, B.M Levac, S. Fergus, B.J. Gurd and K.E. Pyke. (2014).  The influence of fat consumption and repeated mental stress on brachial artery flow mediated vasodilation: a preliminary study.Experimental Physiology. 2014, 99(4):715-28.

I.C. Szijgyarto, T.J. King, J. Ku, V.J. Poitras, B.J. Gurd, K.E. Pyke. (2013).  The impact of acute mental stress on brachial artery flow mediated dilation differs when shear stress is elevated by reactive hyperemia vs. handgrip exercise.  Applied Physiology, Nutirtion, and Metabolism.  38(5):498-506.

V.J. Poitras and K.E. Pyke. (2013). The impact of acute mental stress on vascular endothelial function:  Magnitude, mechanisms and importance.  International Journal of Psychophysiology. 88(2): 124-35.

B.B. Fundlay, P. Gupta, I.C. Szijgyarto and K.E. Pyke. (2013).  Impaired brachial artery flow-mediated vasodilation in response to handgrip exercise induced increases in shear stress in young smokers.  Vascular Medciine. 18(2):63-71.

T.J. King, D.J. Slattery, and K.E. Pyke. (2013).  The impact of handgrip exercise duty cycle on brachial artery flow-mediated dilation.  European Journal of Applied Physiology. 113(7):1849-58.

F. Jazuli and K.E. Pyke (2011).  The impact of baseline artery diameter on flow-mediated vasodilation: A comparison of brachial and radial artery responses to matched levels of shear stress.  American Journal of Physiology.  301(4): H1667-77

K.E. Pyke and F. Jazuli (2011). Impact of repeated increases in shear stress via reactive hyperemia and handgrip exercise: No evidence of systematic changes in brachial artery FMD.  American Journal of Physiology 300 (3): H1078-1089

D. H.J. Thijssen, M.A. Black, K. E. Pyke, J. Padilla, G. Atkinson, R. A. Harris, B. Parker, M. E. Widlansky, M. E. Tschakovsky, D.J.Green. (2011)  Assessment of flow mediated dilation (FMD) in humans: A methodological and physiological guideline.  American Journal of Physiology 300(1): H2-12.  

K.E.Pyke.  Are we still on the fence or can we open the gate?  Evidence that QRS-gating in FMD analysis is not essential.  Journal of Applied Physiology.  109(4): 945-6    

K.E. Pyke, Green, D., Weisbrond, C, Best, M. Dembo, L., O'Driscoll, G. and Tschakovsky, M.E. (2010).  Nitric oxide is not obligatory for radial artery flow-mediated dilation following release of 5 or 10 min of distal occlusion.  American Journal of Physiology, Heart and Circulatory Physiology. 298(1):H119-26

K.E.Pyke, J.A.Hartnett, and M.E.Tschakovsy. (2008). Are the dynamic response characteristics of brachial artery FMD sensitive to the magnitude of the increase in SS? Journal of Applied Physiology. 105(1): 282-92.

K.E.Pyke, V.Poitras and M.E.Tschakovsky. (2008). Brachial artery flow mediated dilation during handgrip exercise: evidence for endothelial transduction of the mean shear stimulus. American Journal of Physiology, Heart and Circulatory Physiology. 294(6): H2669-79.