UBC Okanagan Center for Heart, Lung and Vascular Health celebrates a decade (Think Local)

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dated: 2022-11-20 12:26:59 .

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PhD student Matt Rieger examines participants’ cerebral blood flow velocity, as measured by transcranial Doppler.

What could a Sherpa in the base camp of Everest in Nepal or world record holders in freediving in Croatia tell us about people who have respiratory, heart diseases or who have suffered a stroke?

According to researchers at the UBC Okanagan Center for Heart, Lung and Vascular Health, the answer is a lot. For example, they can study how the low-oxygen environment at high altitude or prolonged breath-holding causes hypoxia — a condition when blood oxygen levels are low — which in turn affects things like blood flow and heart function.

By studying these mechanisms in elite athletes or well-adapted, often indigenous populations, they can better understand how the same mechanisms are affected by chronic diseases. The ultimate goal, of course, is the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of these diseases in all populations, whether at high or low altitudes.

This month, the center marked 10 years of field studies like this one, training the next generation of scientists and clinicians and taking world-leading research to partners and industry where it can impact people’s lives.

Not exactly a ‘brick and mortar’ space, the center consists of 10 laboratories where principal researchers lead teams of interns and postdocs. Today, the center has approximately 55 employees and more than $4 million in state-of-the-art equipment and research infrastructure.

“Research conducted in the laboratories includes integrative systems physiology across the lifespan, translational and comparative research, population health, and clinically focused research in cardiac, pulmonary, metabolic, and cerebrovascular diseases,” says Dr. Neil Eves, one of the center’s directors with Ph.D. Phil Ainslie. “Students are exposed to this full spectrum, which will complement their education in whatever career path they ultimately choose.”

“The biggest measure of the center’s success is the students’ careers,” adds Dr. Ainslie. “They have won a number of top grants and national awards, bring vibrancy, enthusiasm and competitiveness to the center and continue to do great things, whether in research, industry or healthcare or a combination of these.”

Photo: Contributed

Professor Ali McManus’ research team and participants at Barcroft Field Station at 3,800 meters in White Mountain, California, investigating acute mountain sickness (ACM) in children.

Drs Ainslie and Eves and their colleagues at the center have also developed connections and collaborations with colleagues in laboratories, research centers and institutes around the world, with many accepting invitations to the center to conduct research or its biannual symposium at Silver Star Mountain Resort.

“In addition to reading the published research of these world-leading scientists, students at the center can actually meet them, ask them questions and learn about cutting-edge techniques,” says Dr. Ainslie.

For the upcoming 10th anniversary, students have such an opportunity. The Center will welcome Professor Vaughan Macefield, Director of the Human Autonomic Neurophysiology Laboratory at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia. Macefield is known for developing a method for recording sympathetic nerve activity. He recently took the first microelectrode images of the human vagus nerve, which helps control heart rate and blood pressure, among other vital functions.

His public lecture “Nerves, brain and all that jazz” examines the role of the brain in the development of high blood pressure caused by cognitive or emotional stress. Partners, colleagues and members of the public are invited to attend a reception and public presentation on Wednesday evening 23 November at Sandhill Wines. Register for your free virtual ticket at the Center for Heart, Lung and Vascular Health – Celebrating 10 Years.

“At its core, the center has always been focused on making connections with community and industry partners to ensure we translate our research into chronic disease prevention and treatment,” says Dr. Eve. “We invite the community to celebrate the achievements of the past decade and look forward to our continued growth as an internationally recognized center of excellence here in the Okanagan.”

Photo: Contributed

Jinelle Gelinas, a graduate student at the beginning of the center, accompanies a study participant. Dr. Gelinas now works as a clinical physiologist and coordinator of clinical trials at St. Paul in Vancouver.

This article was written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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UBC Okanagan Center for Heart, Lung and Vascular Health celebrates a decade (Think Local)

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Source https://canadatoday.news/ca/ubc-okanagan-center-for-heart-lung-and-vascular-health-celebrates-a-decade-think-local-155333/

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