Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from?
I was born and raised in St. John’s Newfoundland, where I continue to live today with my wife Sarah and two daughters, Sophia and Samantha. I am a first year PhD student in clinical epidemiology at Memorial University.
What compelled you to pursue stroke research?
My background is in exercise physiology where I previously worked in the areas of sport performance and human factors. More recently, I have started working in Dr. Michelle Ploughman’s Recovery and Performance Lab which focuses on stroke recovery and multiple sclerosis research. Newfoundland and Labrador has one of the highest prevalence rates of stroke in Canada. This has helped motivate me to use my skill set, which was previously focused on young healthy individuals and athletes, to help improve outcomes for stroke survivors.
As a health promotion professional it is very disconcerting to see the debilitating physical and cognitive effects of stroke, which not only affects quality of life but also increases risk for having another stroke and developing co-morbid conditions. Stroke survivors often have physical impairments that limit their ability to engage in structured physical activity. Efficient strategies are therefore needed to improve functional recovery and decrease metabolic risk factors in this population.
What is the focus of your research?
The primary focus of my research program is to use exercise training to influence physical outcomes and evaluate how they change performance and cardiometabolic risk. Currently, I am investigating the effects of functional and aerobic exercise training on cardiorespiratory fitness and energy metabolism in chronic stroke survivors. This project is partially funded through a trainee award from CPSR. I am also aiming to quantify the metabolic demands of functional exercise training during intensive interventions in persons of varying disability levels. In addition, we have recently implemented a project to evaluate the cardiovascular and metabolic demands imposed during current inpatient / outpatient rehabilitation. The long-term goal of this research is to develop feasible exercise training models that promote functional recovery while reducing risk factors associated with recurrent stroke and comorbid conditions in stroke survivors.
How do you and others benefit from being part of the CPSR National Trainee Association?
In addition to financial support, being part of the CPSR National Trainee Association provides an opportunity for me to network and learn first-hand from world class researchers in stroke recovery. It also provides opportunities to meet and share ideas with other trainees from across the country. Membership in the CPSR National Trainee Association is extremely important to me because such opportunities are typically limited while working and studying in Newfoundland.
What other interests do you have?
I enjoy travelling and camping with my family. I am also an entrepreneur, owning a small business that provides evidence-based fitness services. Although competing in competitive sports is part of my past, I continue to stay involved by coaching the varsity wrestling team.