Our tolerance for physical activity plays an important role in our quality of life, and depends in part on how well our muscle’s demand for oxygen is met. This requires that the cardiovascular system constantly adjusts blood flow to active muscles while maintaining arterial blood pressure. Accomplishing these goals requires integrated control of cardiac output with vasodilation and vasoconstriction of both exercising skeletal muscle and other vascular beds.
Basic Science Research in our laboratory is aimed at finding answers to the fundamental questions:
How is matching oxygen delivery to demand in the exercising muscle achieved?
Are there important differences between individuals in the mechanisms involved in this matching and in their effectiveness?
Can these mechanisms be improved by exercise training, and if so, does the type of exercise training matter?
Biomedical Research in our laboratory is aimed at finding answers to the fundamental questions:
In what way are mechanisms involved in matching oxygen delivery to exercising muscle demand impaired in various patient populations (eg type 2 diabetes, peripheral artery disease), resulting in impaired exercise tolerance?
Does dietary nitrate improve the matching of oxygen delivery and oxygen demand and result in improvements in exercise tolerance in these patients?
An additional Basic and Biomedical Research initiative that has begun in collaboration with colleagues in the Centre for Neuroscience Studies here at Queen’s University is aimed at understanding the mechanisms by which different types of exercise improve brain plasticity in older adults, and how exercise and cognitive training can best be combined to improve cognitive function, brain structure and cerebrovascular health.
Graduate Student Opportunities
Integrative, combined invasive and non-invasive research approach to understanding cardiovascular physiology in humans is critical in bringing relevance to knowledge gained from reductionist molecular, cellular and animal experimental approaches. In addition, advancing clinical application relies on understanding cardiovascular physiology in the intact human in both health and dysfunctional states. The Human Vascular Control Laboratory provides a training environment for those interested in innovative, integrative research approaches to understanding the integrative control of the cardiovascular system in humans and the role of exercise in brain health and function. The laboratory student compliment is capped at a maximum of 4 students, with any ratio of PhD to MSc students within that, in order to ensure that I have adequate meaningful contact with each student in their training as researchers. The lab will be accepting students for the Fall of 2017.
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Discovery Grant 2011-2016
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Research Tools and Instruments Grant 2011