There are currently 15 faculty members affiliated with the Centre for Bone and Muscle Health. Check out the research overviews below, and continue to their full faculty profiles for more information.
Mike Holmes is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at Brock University where he holds an NSERC Tier II Canada Research Chair in Neuromuscular Mechanics and Ergonomics. His research program investigates how muscle recruitment and control strategies influence tissue loading and injury risk, with a primary focus on the forearm and hand. His lab integrates neurophysiology and biomechanics techniques to better understand work-related upper extremity disorders by identifying mechanisms of fatigue, injury and pain. The lab aims to optimize human performance at work and sport by developing recommendations to minimize the risk of injury and maximize performance.
Bareket Falk’s research team’s current area of research includes the effect of exercise and physical training on bone health and on neuro-muscular function during growth and maturation. They examine the mechanisms explaining child-adult differences in muscle performance and metabolism during exercise. Beyond differences in muscle size or composition, age-related differences in neuromuscular activation likely contribute to children’s lower muscle strength and explosive power and their greater muscle endurance. Using electromyography, they currently investigate motor unit activation during exercise and training among children and adults.
Shawn Beaudette’s research program integrates aspects of biomechanics, neurophysiology and data science to understand how spine movement is controlled with a focus on the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of low back disorders. Lower back pain has been identified as one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders worldwide. Furthermore, as an anatomically complex system, the spine requires refined, adaptable neuromuscular control to optimize function and avoid injury. Shawn’s research program is aimed at objectively quantifying spine neuromuscular function to inform clinical and industrial decision-making processes.
Val Andrew Fajardo
Val Andrew Fajardo is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at Brock University where he holds an NSERC Tier II Canada Research Chair in Tissue Remodeling and Plasticity Throughout the Lifespan. His group is focused on understanding the cellular mechanisms that underly muscle plasticity in hopes of identifying novel therapeutic targets and generating innovative therapeutic strategies to combat skeletal muscle disease, sarcopenia, and cardiomyopathy. Current research from their group examines the roles of glycogen synthase kinase 3 and various calmodulin-binding proteins by using both in vitro cellular and in vivo models.
Biophysics is the science at the intersection of Physics, Math, Computational Science, Chemistry, and Biology. Thad Harroun’s research utilizes biophysical techniques to learn about the structure and health of cell membranes, and the many molecules that reside and work there, such as vitamin E and cholesterol. He also collaborates with the Medical Physicists at the Walker Family Cancer Centre on improving our understanding of using linear accelerators for radiation cancer therapy.
Panagiota (Nota) Klentrou
Nota’s research programme uses applied and basic science approaches to study human performance and the implications of sport training primarily in children and youth. In the last five years, they have focused on how sexual maturation, exercise, inflammation, adiposity and nutrition affect musculoskeletal growth and development. In particular, this research is trying to identify the cellular mechanisms that explain how exercise training and dietary choices during childhood and adolescence affects skeletal development and lifelong bone health.
Paul LeBlanc’s research program focuses on the influence of environmental mediators (exercise, diet, drugs) on musculoskeletal form and function, with a focus on the lipid component. By examining cellular and subcellular up to whole organism, they strive to understand the mechanisms behind these responses and find treatment options for musculoskeletal diseases.
Sandra J. Peters
Because of the relative weight of skeletal muscle in the body, its preference and utilization of carbohydrates and fats can affect overall homeostasis, being the foundation of good health and disease states such as diabetes and obesity. Sandra Peters’ research examines the regulation of use of carbohydrates and fats in muscle in response to exercise and dietary perturbations.
More specifically, this means understanding the regulation of muscle enzymes such as pyruvate dehydrogenase and adipose tissue triglyceride lipase, including their regulatory kinases and perilipin proteins respectively.
Brian Roy’s group is interested in the regulation of integrated physiological responses and muscle metabolism during physical activity and dietary manipulations. Brian’s current work is focused on the impact of alterations in muscle cell volume on the regulation of muscle metabolism and muscle hypertrophy and atrophy. He is also interested in the effects of dietary supplementation of various compounds, including dairy products, on muscle and bone metabolism in healthy, diseased, and ageing populations. Brian is also currently investigating dietary interventions for the treatment and reduction in severity of sport induced concussions.
Evangelia Litsa Tsiani
Skeletal muscle is a major insulin-target tissue and plays an important role in glucose homeostasis. Impaired insulin action in muscle results in insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).
Litsa Tsiani’s research team’s focus is to understand the intracellular signaling pathways that are activated and control muscle glucose transport, metabolism and the impairments contributing to insulin resistance/diabetes.
Their goal is to find plant-derived chemicals that could modulate certain signaling pathways and be used against insulin resistance and diabetes.
The myosin molecule is the main structural, enzymatic and functional protein contained by our skeletal muscles. Rene Vandenboom’s research program focus is the effect that myosin phosphorylation has on various aspects of skeletal muscle function including force production, metabolic efficiency and thermogenesis. To this end, they study how phosphorylation of myosin produced by ongoing muscle activity modulates force, work and power output as well as muscle energetics. In addition, they are starting studies on how this posttranslational modification of the myosin molecule may regulate the rate at which muscle consumes energy and produces heat, either ate rest or during shivering.
Wendy Ward’s research team studies how diet or use of nutritional supplements during the earliest stages of life may set a trajectory for stronger bone at adulthood, with an interest in studying sex-specific responses. Using advanced imaging, biomechanical strength testing and biochemical analyses, preclinical models allow her team to investigate how novel foods and food components such as flaxseed and its omega-3 fatty acid; fish oil; flavonoids in tea and citrus; and soy and its isoflavones impact bone health. Dr. Ward is involved with various expert groups such as Osteoporosis Canada and the Canadian Nutrition Society, is Co-Editor in Chief of the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, and actively involved with continuing education for health professionals and community groups on topics about nutrition and health.
As a health biosciences researcher, I am broadly interested in developing our understanding of the mechanisms that control musculoskeletal form and function. By conducting basic physiological experiments in preclinical models, my research program seeks to understand the etiology of musculoskeletal disorders in order to inform and advance the development of targeted lifestyle interventions, including diet and physical activity.
My previous research has investigated the mechanisms that augment force production in skeletal muscle (i.e. potentiation), seeking to improve our understanding of how contractile performance interacts with neural activation strategies and energetics in working muscles.
Recently, my interests have broadened to include the study of ‘functional’ foods, investigating the mechanisms by which nutrients help to support our musculoskeletal health and protect against the tissue dysregulation that develops with factors such as aging, injury, and inflammation.
Peter Fritz’s research program focuses on nutritional and behavioural strategies that promote post-operative periodontal wound healing and effectively manage post-operative pain without the use of opioids. Through multi-disciplinary collaboration with allied health professionals, we combine clinical and scientific innovations to develop novel approaches culminating in excellence in patient care and developing new standards in precision dental medicine.
Dr. Fritz is a life-long learner and an advocate of change and innovation who has benchmarked with more than 40 speciality clinics in 25 countries in the pursuit of maximizing patient outcomes following surgical and non-surgical periodontal and implant therapy.
Andrea Josse’s research area combines exercise physiology and clinical nutrition in the context of both health and chronic disease, and uses acute protocols, lifestyle modification strategies and/or training regimens that manipulate diet and exercise to achieve a healthier body composition in different human populations across the lifespan. She is particularly interested in diet (protein, dairy, calcium, supplements) and exercise (resistance exercise, plyometrics) as ways to improve bone health and to induce healthy changes in body composition and body weight.
Examples of her current research include: a) the effects of dairy and exercise on body composition with a 12-week exercise program in overweight/obese, adolescent girls; 2) the effects of Greek yogurt on changes in lean mass, fat mass and bone during a 12-week resistance training program in young, untrained men. 3) The acute effects of plyometric exercise on bone health parameters in overweight/obese vs. normal weight post-menarcheal girls; 4) The acute effects of creatine and milk with a combination of resistance/plyometric exercise on bone turnover and osteokine responses in young females.