Deborah O’Leary, PhD

Acting Associate Vice-President, Research, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences and Professor, Health Sciences

Deborah O'Leary

Office: ST1361A
905 688 5550 x5024

My research focuses primarily on cardiovascular health throughout the lifespan. My interests include the effects of childhood growth and development and adult aging on the cardiovascular system. My research also focuses on the detrimental impact of cardiovascular risk factors throughout the lifespan and the beneficial role of lifestyle factors at any age on cardiovascular health. I am also the director of the Brock Functional Inclusive Training (Bfit) Centre.  This facility serves as both a research and community-based exercise centre for individuals in Niagara. The Centre currently has exercise programs for healthy seniors (SeniorFit), individuals with cardiovascular disease (Heart Strong), spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and amputees (Power Cord). For further information, please visit our website:

  • The role of childhood growth and development on indices of cardiovascular health
  • The effects of childhood obesity and hypertension on blood pressure regulation, arterial health and left ventricular hypertrophy
  • The link between adverse childhood experiences and cardiovascular health
  • The beneficial effect of isometric handgrip training on cardiovascular and cognitive health in those suffering from hypertension
  • Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology Member
  • American Physiological Society Member
  • Canadian Association of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Member
  • Wellspring Niagara Board of Trustees
  1. Liu J, Sze NSK, Narushima M, and O’Leary DD. Weight change and risk of atherosclerosis measured by carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) from a prospective cohort – analysis of the first-wave follow-up data of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA). J Cardiovasc Dev Dis jcdd-2642523: In Press, 2023
  2. Vinaiphat A, Pazhanchamy K, JebaMercy G, Ngan SC, Leow MK, Ho HH, Gao YG, Lim KL, Richards AM, de Kleijn DPV, Chen CP, Kalaria RN, Liu J, O’Leary DD, McCarthy NE, Sze SK. (2023). Endothelial damage arising from high salt hypertension is elucidated by vascular bed systematic profiling. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 43(3): 427-442.
  3. *Dempster KS , O’Leary DD , MacNeil AJ , Wade TJ. (2023). Childhood household dysfunction is associated with reduced left ventricular mass in young adulthood. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 324(6): H791-H803.
  4. *Dempster KS , Wade TJ , MacNeil AJ , O’Leary DD. (2023). Adverse childhood experiences are associated with altered cardiovascular reactivity to head-up tilt in young adults. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 324(3): R425-R434.
  5. Alradhi MA , Moore J , Patte KA , O’Leary DD , Wade TJ. (2022). Adverse Childhood Experiences and COVID-19 stress on changes in mental health among young adults. Int J Environ Res Public Health 19(19): 1-17.
  6. Wong KE , Wade TJ , Moore J , Marcellus A , Molnar DS , O’Leary DD , MacNeil AJ. (2022). Examining the relationships between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), cortisol, and inflammation among young adults. Brain Behav Immun Health. 25: 100516.
  7. *IANNARELLI NJ , Wade TJ , *DEMPSTER KS , Moore J , MacNeil AJ , O’Leary DD. (2022). No Mediation Effect of Telomere Length or Mitochondrial DNA Copy Number on the Association Between Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Central Arterial Stiffness. J Am Heart Assoc 11(21): e026619.
  8. Molnar DS , Moore J , O’Leary DD , MacNeil AJ , Wade TJ. (2021). Perfectionistic cognitions, Interleukin-6, and C-Reactive protein: A test of the perfectionism diathesis stress model. Brain Behav  Immun Health. 13: 100211.
  9. *IANNARELLI NJ , MacNeil AJ ,* DEMPSTER KS , Wade TJ , O’Leary DD. (2021). Serum MMP-3 and its association with central arterial stiffness among young adults is moderated by smoking and BMI. Physiol Reports. 9(11): e14920.
  10. *DEMPSTER KS , O’Leary DD , MacNeil AJ , Hodges GJ , Wade TJ. (2021). Linking the hemodynamic consequences of adverse childhood experiences to an altered HPA axis and acute stress response. Brain Behav Immun 93: 254-263.
  11. Molnar DS , Methot-Jones T , Moore J , O’Leary DD , Wade TJ. (2021). Perfectionistic cognitions prepandemic predict greater anxiety symptoms during the pandemic among emerging adults: a two-wave cross-lagged study. J Ration Emot Cogn Behav Ther : RET. 13: 1-19.
  • Cardiac Pathophysiology (Fall Term)
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation Practicum (Fall, Winter and Summer Terms)