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

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 Theme 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 Theme 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 2Defining 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

  • Kenny GP, McGinn R, Groeller H, Flouris AD.  Age, human performance and physical employment standards.  Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2016 Jun;41(6 Suppl 2):S92-S107.
  • Kenny GP, Sigal RJ, McGinn R.  Body temperature regulation in diabetes.  Submitted to Temperature, September 29, 2015.  Temperature 3(1): January 2016, 119-145.
  • Kenny GP, Jay O.  Thermometry, calorimetry and mean body temperature during heat stress. Comprehensive Physiology 3:1689-1719, 2013.
  • Meade R, Poirier M, Flouris AD, Hardcastle S, Kenny GP.  Do the Threshold Limit Values for work in hot conditions adequately protect workers? Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2016 Jun;48(6):1187-96.
  • Fujii N, Singh MS, Halili L, Boulay P, Sigal RJ, Kenny GP. Cutaneous vascular and sweating responses to intradermal administration of prostaglandin E1 and E2 in young and older adults: a role for nitric oxide? Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2016 Jun 1;310(11):R1064-72
  • Fujii N, Meade R, Minson C, Brunt V, Boulay P, Sigal R, Kenny G.  Cutaneous blood flow during intradermal NO administration in young and older adults: roles for calcium-activated potassium channels and cyclooxygenase.  Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2016 Jun 1;310(11):R1081-7.
  • Louie J, Fujii N, Meade RD, Kenny GP.  The interactive contributions of Na+/K+-ATPase and nitric oxide synthase to sweating and cutaneous vasodilation during exercise in the heat.  J Physiol. 2016 Jun 15;594(12):3453-62.
  • Alberga, A, Sigal R, Goldfield G, Phillips P, Malcolm J, Ma J, Doucette S, Gougeon R, Well G, Kenny GP.  Effects of aerobic training, resistance training or both on cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal fitness inadolescents with obesity: the HEARTY trial.  Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2016 Mar;41(3):255-65.
  • Paull G, Dervis SM, Barrera-Ramirez J, McGinn R, Haqani B, Flouris AD, Kenny GP.  The effect of plasma osmolality and baroreceptor loading status on postexercise heat loss responses.  Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2016 Mar 15;310(6):R522-31
  • Meade R, Lauzon M, Poirier M, Flouris A, Kenny GP.  The physical demands of electrical utilities work in North America.  J Occup Environ Hyg. 2015 Aug 28:1-31, PMID: 26317802
  • Stapleton J, Poirier M, Flouris A, Boulay P, Sigal J, Malcolm J, Kenny GP.  Aging impairs heat loss, but when does it matter? J Appl Physiol (1985). 2015 Feb 1;118(3):299-309.
  • McGinn R, Paull G, Meade RD, Fujii N, Kenny GP.  Mechanisms underlying the postexercise baroreceptor-mediated suppression of heat loss.  Accepted in Physiological Reports, September 16, 2014, Physiol Rep, 2 (10), 2014, e12168.
  • Fujii N, McGinn R, Paull G, Stapleton JM, Meade RD, Kenny GP.  Evidence for cyclo-oxygenase-dependent sweating in young males during intermittent exercise in the heat.  J Physiol, accepted Oct 2, 2014, J Physiol. 2014 Dec 1;592(Pt 23):5327-39
  • Kenny GP, Larose J, Wright-Beatty HE, Boulay P, Sigal RJ, Flouris AD.  Older firefighters are susceptible to age-related impairments in heat dissipation.  Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2015 Jun;47(6):1281-90.
  • Poirier M, Gagnon D, Friesen B, Hardcastle SG, Kenny GP.  Whole-Body Heat Exchange during Heat Acclimation and its Decay.  Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2015 Feb;47(2):390-400.
  • Carter MR, McGinn R, Barrera-Ramirez J, Sigal R, Kenny GP.  Impairments in local heat loss in Type 1 Diabetes during exercise in the heat.  Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2014 Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2014 Dec;46(12):2224-33
  • Larose J, Boulay P, Sigal RJ, Wright HE, Kenny GP (2013) Age-Related Decrements in Heat Dissipation during Physical Activity Occur as Early as the Age of 40. PLoS ONE 8(12): e83148.
  • Flouris A, Bravi A, Wright HE, Green G, Seely AJ, Kenny GP.  Autonomic nervous system modulation during exertional heat stress: Effects of heat production and treatment.  Eur J Appl Physiol. 2014 Apr;114(4):785-92
  • Stapleton J, Larose J, Simpson C, Sigal R, Kenny GP. Are older Canadians at increased risk for heat-related illness during heat waves? Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2014 Mar;39(3):292-8.
  • Kenny GP, Stapleton JM, Yardley JE, Boulay P, Sigal RJ. Older Adults with Type 2 Diabetes Store More Heat during Exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2013 Oct;45(10):1906-14.

Conferences and Presentations

May 17, 2016.  Invited speaker. Electrical Power Research Institute’s 3rd Annual Occupational Health and Safety Research Conference.  May 17-18, 2016.  Charlotte, North Carolina. Session 1: Human Performance: Health and Safety.  Presentation title: Protecting worker health, safety and performance during heat stress conditions through new heat management and monitoring strategies. 

April 6, 2016.  Invited speaker.  Experimental Biology 2016, Transforming the Future through Science. San Diego, California, April 2-6.  Featured Topic (534), Hot, cold and old: Aging and the physiology of thermal stress (sponsored by the APS Environmental and Exercise Physiology Section). Presentation title: Understanding the effects of aging on the body’s physiological capacity to dissipate heat. 

October 2015.  Invited speaker.  Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology Annual General Meeting, October 14-17, 2015.  Hamilton, Ontario. Symposium #7 – Physical Activity in the Heat (Oct 16, 2015). Presentation title: Is the body’s physiological capacity to dissipate heat a limiting factor of physical performance in the heat? 

August 2015.  Invited speaker.  Second International Conference on Physical Employment Standards.  Canmore, Alberta.  Hosted by the University of Alberta, Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation.  August 23-28, 2015. Presentation title: Age, human performance and physical employment standards.

May 2015.  Invited speaker.  EPRI’s 2nd Annual Occupational Health and Safety Research Conference.  Charlotte, North Carolina, May 19, 2015. Presentation title: Heat Stress-Induced Physiological Strain and Effects of Protective Clothing in Electric Utility Workers.

May 2015.  Invited speaker.  University of Washington Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences in Seattle Washington, May 7, 2015.  Presentation title: Defining heat exposure limits for our aging workforce.

April 2015. Invited speaker.  2015 International Symposium on Firefighters and Heat Strain.  Seoul, Korea, April 8 2015.  Presentation title: Susceptibility of older firefighters to age-related impairments in heat dissipation. 

October 2014. Invited speaker.  The Occupational Hygiene Association of Ontario, Fall symposium, October 22-24, Toronto, Canada.  Presentation title: Are current heat stress guidelines protecting all workers?

October 2014.  Invited symposia speaker. 3rd international conference on Recent Advances and Controversies in Measuring Energy Metabolism.  October 10-12th, Tokyo, Japan. Symposium: Section 5: Methodology for prediction of total energy expenditure.  Presentation title: Understanding the impact of exercise-induced increases in energy expenditure on heat balance in older adults and individuals with chronic disease: a calorimetric perspective.

September 2014.Invited speaker. 5th International Symposium on the Physiology and Pharmacology of Temperature Regulation, Skukuza, South Africa, September 7-12, 2014. Presentation title: “Extreme heat events: How hot is too hot for you?”

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