Research

The BPK research program has been characterized as having 5 pillars of strength: cardiovascular physiology, chronic diseases, neuromechanics, environmental physiology and neuroscience. The benefits of this clustering of research interests are exemplified by shared infrastructure and regular exchanges on research progress. Increasingly, BPK faculty members work at the interdisciplinary areas of overlap between these fields. Our faculty comprises anatomists, biochemists, biologists, biomechanists, biophysicists, engineers, ergonomists, kinesiologists, neuroscientists, physicians, and physiologists. We apply our knowledge to study human movement, structure and function throughout the life cycle, in health and disease, in benign and extreme environments, at work, at home, at sports and at play. Now BPK is the proud home to the Kids Brain Health Network (KBHN), a Network Centres of Excellence of Canada, the first NCE at SFU.

Not only are we one of the strongest Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology programs in Canada, but we also have a strong commitment to research and are well funded. Our educational goals are to impart a sound knowledge base and to promote critical thinking, problem solving, research, and technical and communication skills appropriate to the field through our undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies programs. 

 

Research Areas

Cardiovascular Physiology Group
Focus on heart and vascular function at the molecular, cellular, and systems levels, with applications to congenital heart disease, disease prevention, and drug design.

Chronic Diseases Group
Multidisciplinary training in the prevention of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, from individual physiology to the broader scope of community health and disease treatment.

Environmental Physiology Group
Integrative systems approach to understanding whole body human physiology as a function of changes in environmental conditions.

Neuromechanics Group
Integrates the fields of biomechanics and neurophysiology to understand human movement in health and disease, with applications to rehabilitation medicine, injury prevention, and aging.

Neuroscience Group
This group spans a spectrum ranging from the neurophysiology of motor control, to cellular properties of neurons and neuronal circuitry, to the pathophysiology of degenerative neurological diseases, to the molecular biophysics underlying membrane properties of neurons.

 

Research Facilities

The Environmental Medicine and Physiology Unit

The Environmental Medicine Physiology Unit was installed during 1981, and began research operations in 1982. The main features of the EMPU are an altitude and diving chamber complex, life support and environmental control system capable of simulating altitudes of up to 33,530 meters and depths of 300 meters; a climatic chamber capable of simulating temperatures of -30°C to +50°C and hot and cold immersion tanks (+2°C to +50°C). The output of the unit is oriented towards basic research but mission oriented work in cooperation with industry has also been completed under grants and contracts to individual users. The facility is unique in Western Canada with its diving, altitude and thermal capabilities.

Animal Care Facilities

SFU has a centralized University Animal Care Facility. The facility is run by a director in consultation with a university-wide Animal Care Committee. The use and care of animals conforms to guidelines specified by NSERC and the Canadian Council on Animal Care. The Department also has access to the Biological Sciences aquatic research facilities. On campus, there exist holding facilities for freshwater organisms including large salmonids and a small sea water reservoir.

British Columbia Cancer Research Centre

Two faculty members plus two adjunct faculty members conduct a portion of their research at the B.C. Cancer Research Centre. This provides the opportunity for some kinesiology graduate students to do their research at this facility. Research topics pursued there include biochemical, cytological and epidemiological identification of genetic, lifestyle and chemical factors which influence the risk of cancer and the development of strategies to decrease risk.

 

SFU's new Core Facility Program includes: