Integrative Physiology

Research theme: Cardiovascular and respiratory physiology

The fundamental aim of the cardio-respiratory research group is to better understand the cardiovascular and respiratory system determinants of exercise capacity in both health and disease. Our research interests centre on how the heart and lungs interact during exercise in a variety of conditions (e.g., hypoxia) and in several different populations (e.g., healthy individuals, patients with cardiovascular disease or lung disease, older adults).

Work by our group investigates the alterations in pulmonary vascular function that occur with ageing, hypoxic exposure and cardiovascular disease, which impact negatively upon pulmonary gas exchange, lung fluid regulation and exercise tolerance. 

Our team also works extensively on examining the role of the mechanical constraints imposed by the respiratory pump musculature in limiting exercise performance. Specifically, our research focuses on the causes and consequences of exercise-induced respiratory muscle fatigue and the potential benefits of respiratory muscle training in health and disease.

We are also interested in the regulation of macrovascular and microvascular function in a variety of populations, and the influence of environmental factors such as exercise and diet on these outcomes, using Duplex mode ultrasonography, iontophoresis and laser Doppler imaging. These techniques allow investigation of the control of blood flow and muscle perfusion to support optimal exercise performance. Our research has demonstrated that exercise is able to counteract the vascular dysfunction induced by high fat meals, and that exercise intensity is an important stimulus for subsequent alterations in vascular function. We are exploring the effects of nutraceutical such as nitrate and polyphenols on peripheral and cerebral vascular function.  

Academic staff:

Research fellows:

Postgraduate research students:

  • Zainie Aboo Bakkar
  • Rachel Tan