Glen Kenny

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Glen Kenny
Full Professor

1994-1996, Postdoctoral Fellow, Physical Education and Recreation Studies, Laboratory for Exercise and Environmental Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg (Environmental Medicine)
1994, Ph.D. (Physiology), Faculty of Medicine, Department of Physiology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa.
1990, M.Sc. (Exercise Physiology), Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa.
1987, B.Sc. (Kinanthropology), Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa
Industry Research Chair (Heat Strain Monitoring and Management)
University Research Chair (Exercise and Environmental Physiology)

Room: MNT 367
Office: (613) 562-5800 ext. 4282
Work E-mail: gkenny@uottawa.ca

Biography

NOTE: Dr. Kenny is currently accepting graduate students for both the Masters of Science and Doctoral program. Learn more and reach out at hepru.ca.

Dr. Glen P. Kenny is a Full Professor of Physiology at the University of Ottawa and holds a University Research Chair in Human Environmental Physiology.  He is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and the American College of Sports Medicine and is director of the Human and Environmental Physiology Research Unit (HEPRU).  Over the past 27 years, Dr. Kenny has been a principal investigator of numerous large projects directed primarily at understanding the human heat stress response.  His work (funded by CIHR, NSERC, Health Canada, Government of Ontario, Ontario Centers of Excellence, Mitacs and others) is unique in that it employs the world’s only direct calorimeter (a device for making very precise measurements of body heat exchange) to assess the physiological consequences of heat stress under a wide array of environmental conditions in different population groups including elite athletes, warfighters, first responders, workers, individuals with chronic disease (i.e., diabetes, hypertension, obesity), burn patients, elderly and others.  His work has been instrumental in creating new and advanced knowledge, policies, standards and guidelines for physical activity and work in hot environments that includes exposure limits, hydration requirements, clothing systems, cooling interventions, heat management strategies that include advanced monitoring technologies, and others. In addition, he has led numerous randomized clinical trials evaluating exercise interventions in managing the health and fitness of individuals including heat-vulnerable workers. He has authored over 450 peer-reviewed papers on human thermoregulation as well as physical activity and health.

Research interests

Exercise and environmental physiology,

Human thermoregulation

Global heating and population health

Heat stress in vulnerable populations – older adults and individuals with chronic disease

Worker health and safety in adverse environments

Heat management and monitoring technologies

The HEPRU research program

Dr. Kenny’s current work consists of well-established independent yet highly interconnected directions of research. 

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Research Focus 1. Understanding the mechanisms and controllers governing the regulation of heat loss in the human system – from the end-organ to the whole-body response.  This research is directed at understanding the mechanisms underpinning the regulation of heat loss responses of skin blood flow and sweating as assessed by techniques such as intra-dermal microdialysis and whole-body calorimetry.  This includes assessing the separate and combined influence of nonthermal sensory receptor activation (baroreceptors, metaboreceptors, etc.) on end-organ function (i.e., skin vasculature, sweat glands).  

Research Focus 2Elucidating the complex cellular response of the human heat stress response.  Our work aims to evaluate the human heat stress response from the cellular level as defined by the assessment of responses related to autophagy, apoptosis, inflammation, and the heat shock response (i.e. heat shock proteins). This includes assessing complex cellular mechanisms utilizing techniques such as western blotting to analyze protein content and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) to assess transcriptional regulation of these stress response systems during heat stress.

Research Focus 3Defining the body’s physiological capacity to dissipate heat. This work is directed at explicating the integrative mechanisms governing human heat exchange during heat stress as a function of the independent and interactive effects inter-individual factors (e.g. age, sex, chronic disease (diabetes, hypertension), race, other) and intra-individual factors (modifiable within an individual over relatively short periods) both within (e.g. hydration, fitness, other); and beyond an individual’s control (e.g. heat exposure duration, sleep, other) during rest and physical activity in the heat. 

Research Focus 4Defining heat health protection policies and guidelines.  We are conducting leading-edge research aimed at delineating the environmental and human factors affecting a person’s ability to live and work in the heat that includes the evaluation of physiological characteristics that contribute to increased heat vulnerability in the general population and workers. Work involves assessing the integrated physiological responses under specific situational laboratory-based studies representative of real-work conditions (e.g. simulate conditions such as elderly person sitting indoors during day-long heat wave, worker performing prolonged work in the heat) to obtain a comprehensive measure of the heat stress response in heat-vulnerable population groups including workers. The data is used to generate algorithms that are subsequently validated within the field for the creation of policies and guidelines to protect health and prevent disease exacerbated by heat. 

Research Focus 5Create heat protection technologies to safeguard health and safety. A key thrust of the HEPRU research program is the development of advanced heat management solutions in the form of technologies to manage and monitor heat strain in vulnerable population groups and workers facilitated by the exploitation of the high-resolution data acquired from our laboratory- and field-based physiological studies.

Affiliations/Appointments

  • Director, Human and Environmental Physiology Research Unit
  • Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences
  • Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine
  • Affiliate Investigator, Clinical Epidemiological Program of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
  • Member of the American Physiological Society
  • Member of the American College of Sports Medicine
  • Member of the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology

Selected Publications

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