Aerospace Physiology Laboratory

The Aerospace Physiology Laboratory conducts research related to human physiological responses and adaptations to Terrestrial and Space environments. The Director, Dr. Blaber (in shuttle simulator on the lef)t, has a special interest in modeling cerebral blood flow regulation under various environmental conditions. The lab conducts research related to understanding human physiological responses to gravitational stress before, during, and after exposure to weightlessness, hypoxia and exercise. Located in the Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology at Simon Fraser University the laboratory has cardiovascular, respiratory, blood flow, tilt table, lower body negative pressure and exercise testing capabilities. The lab frequently utilizes European Space Agency facilities for Bed Rest, Parabolic Flight, and Short-arm Human Centrifuge studies.

Research in the lab is focused on an integrated approach to the problem of syncope and falls. This has included the investigation of several homeostatic mechanisms related to the maintenance of sufficient delivery of oxygen to the brain during orthostatic stress. We have incorporated the traditional components related to syncope: Cerebral autoregulation and cardiovascular regulation (baroreflex) and to this traditional model we have now added the skeletal muscle pump through the postural control system.  We have named this new integrated model as cardio-postural. This process has involved the development of new measurement, modelling and analysis methods to better understand syncope in humans. Presently we are conducting experiments to investigate: effects of weightlessness (space flight) and hypergravity (human centrifuge) on cardiovascular reflexes; and, the relationship of cardiovascular and postural controls with aging and with concussion.