Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 263171
Loughborough University

Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport

Team members

Professor Maureen Macdonald

Visiting Professor to Loughborough University, Professor, Department of Kinesiology, Director School of Interdisciplinary Science, McMaster University

Maureen J MacDonald joined the PHC as a professor form October 2013-2014 while on research leave from McMaster University and has been appointed as a visiting Professor in 2015.  

She received her Honours BSc in Chemistry from Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, in 1991 and her MSc (1993) and PhD (1998) in Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario. Since 2000 she has been a faculty member in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University.  She is the director of the Vascular Dynamics Laboratory and is an active member of the Exercise Metabolism Research Group in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster. She has research interests in the area of exercise physiology with specialization is the application of ultrasound techniques to the assessment of the peripheral blood vessels.  Professor MacDonald has directly supervised 45 undergraduate and graduate students since her appointment in 2000. She has received funding from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation, has been continually funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada since 2001 and is also currently funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.  Professor MacDonald has recently been appointed as the inaugural Director of the School of Interdisciplinary Science, in the Faculty of Science at McMaster.  

Qualifications

  • Gold Medal in Chemistry, Dundee University, Dundee Scotland, 1990
  • BSc.(Honours) Chemistry, Acadia University,  Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada May 1991
  • Acadia Student of the Year, Acadia Univeristy, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada May 1991
  • MSc., Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada Oct 1993
  • PhD, Kinesiology, University of WaterlooWaterloo, Ontario, Canada May 1998 
  • NSERC Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Department of Kinesiology, University of Western 

Membership and involvement with professional bodies / associations

Prof MacDonald is a member of the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Physiological Society and is an Associate Editor for Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism.  Prof MacDonald is also committed to undergraduate teaching and has been involved in the development and delivery of a large enrolment undergraduate anatomy and physiology course since 2000. Prof MacDonald has been a grant review member for a variety of scientific organizations including the the EU- FP7 Health Innovation and NSERC Biological Systems and Functions where she is currently the Co-chair of the Kinesiology stream.

Most of us realize that our blood vessels play an important role in transporting blood to and from all of the tissues of our body. The human cardiovascular system is continually adapting to and co-coordinating the differing requirements of the body tissues and the energy demands of skeletal muscle alone are capable of changing 100 fold within seconds of the onset of a new task. Blood vessels are much more than static tubes for transporting blood. The structure and function of our blood vessels can adapt to challenges they are presented with and can change significantly in both health and disease. Two important features of our arteries (blood vessels which transport blood away from the heart) are how flexible (stiffness) they are and how much they can expand (dilate) when faced with the challenges of increasing pressure and/or flow. We know that these two features, stiffness and dilation, change with disease processes, aging, spinal cord injury and some exercise programs but we know very little about what regulates these changes. In my laboratory we have been studying the role that exercise, which can result in large pressure and flow challenges to the arteries, plays in changing arterial structure and function. We examine the responses of a variety of components of the cardiovascular system to exercise challenges in order to determine control mechanisms. The specific cardiovascular variables, which are central to this research, are blood pressure, blood flow and arterial stiffness, diameter, wall thickness and dilation. Objectives of my research program include examination of the impact of alterations in vessel stiffness and function on skeletal muscle blood flow responses both at rest, and during exercise. Our continuing studies will focus on the use of cutting edge ultrasound technology to examine blood vessel stiffness and regional blood flow in both healthy and clinical populations. The insight gained from these studies will assist in advancing the current basic knowledge of the cardiovascular system as well as identifying the effectiveness of exercise as an intervention in determining basic cardiovascular regulation and in improving health status and lifestyle.

Recent external income generation 

  • Operating Grant, Canadian Institutes of Health Research. B. Timmons, S. Bray, J. Cairney, M. MacDonald.  The School-age kids’ health from early investment in physical activity (SKIP) study.  Awarded $769,424.  October 2014-September 2019.
  • Grant-in-Aid Program, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.  B. Timmons, M. MacDonald, T. Cellucci. Cardiovascular Health in children with a chronic inflammatory condition: role of Physical activity, fItness and inflammation: The CHAMPION Study. Awarded $263,229. July 2014-June 2016. Grant number: G-14-0005722
  • Discovery Grant, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada.   M. MacDonald.  Regulatory mechanisms of vascular structure and function in humans.  April 2013-April 2018. Awarded April 2013: $29, 000/year x 5 years = $145, 000. Grant number: RGPIN 238819-18
  • Ontario Federation for Cerebral palsy (OFCP) J. Gorter, M MacDonald and B. Timmons.“ Stay-FIT 20-40 years: A Cross-sectional Study to Determine Physical Activity And Cardiovascular Health in Adults (aged 20-40 years) With Cerebral Palsy”. Awarded March 2012 $46,134.
  • ONF Research Mentoring Award (Rick Hansen Institute, Co-Sponsor) for PhD student Julia Totosy de Zepetnek. Awarded January 2012- March 2013  $45,000. Grant number: 2011-ONF-RHI-MT888
  • Team Research Program, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).  A. Krassioukov, M. MacDonald (co-applicant) and 12 others.  Improved cardiovascular outcomes for chronic SCI.  Awarded Dec 2011.  $1,994,646. Grant number: CIHR TCA-118348
  • Meetings, Planning and Dissemination Grant: Planning Grants, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).  J. Gorter, M. MacDonald (co-applicant) and 4 others.  Stay-FIT: Planning a Community-Based Study to Promote Physical Activity in Youth with Cerebral Palsy.  Awarded May 26, 2011: $25,000. 
  • Research Tools and Instruments, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada. P. Keir and M. MacDonald.  Tissue Doppler Ultrasound Unit.  Awarded April 2011: $114,073.
  • Grant-in-Aid Program, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario (HSFO).  R. McKelvie, M. MacDonald (co-applicant) and 3 others.  The Effects of Tai Chi in Older Patients with Cardiovascular Disease.   Requested funds: $208,234, Awarded $135,225, July 2011-June 2013. Grant number: G-13-0002521
  • Operating grant, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).   B. Timmons, M. MacDonald (co-applicant) and 3 others.  Health Outcomes and Physical Activity in Preschoolers: The "HOPP" Study.  Requested Funds $522, 473, Awarded $454, 380, April 2010- April 2014.Grant number: CIHR:MOP-102560
  • Discovery Grant, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada.   M. MacDonald.  Regulatory mechanisms of arterial compliance and endothelial function in humans.  October 2007. Requested funds: $213,600. Awarded April 2008: $24, 500/year x 5 years = $122, 500. Grant number: RGPIN 238819-13
  • Equipment Grant, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada. B. Timmons and M. MacDonald (co-applicant).  Breath-by-breath gas analysis system.  October 2007. Requested funds: $60,811. Awarded April 2008: $60,811.
  • Operating grant, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).  B. Timmons, M. MacDonald (co-applicant) and 3 others.  Health Outcomes and Physical Activity in Preschoolers: The "HOPP" Study. Awarded March 2009: $63,567.
  • Discovery Grant, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada.  M. MacDonald.  Regulatory mechanisms of blood flow and arterial compliance in humans. Awarded April 2006: $24, 500/year x 2 years = $49, 000. RGPIN 238819-06
  • Discovery Grant, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada.  M. MacDonald.  Regulatory mechanisms of blood flow and arterial compliance. Awarded April 2001: $25, 000/year x 5 years = $125, 000. RGPIN 238819-01
  • Equipment Grant, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada. M. MacDonald and 4 others. Imaging Doppler Ultrasound System. Awarded April 2001 $36,305.
  • New Opportunities Fund, Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI).  S. Phillips, M. Gibala and M. MacDonald. Equipment for assessment of blood flow and physiological and biochemical function of human skeletal muscle. $654, 721, Awarded Dec 2000.
  • McMaster University; $18,500; Start-up funds, M. MacDonald. Blood Flow Measurement Equipment.

Selected recent keynote and conference presentations

  • HIIT to get Fit.  American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting; Invited Symposia Speaker.  San Diego California, USA.  May 30, 2015
  • “HIT”ing coronary artery disease with high intensity interval training.  BACPR Exercise Professionals Groups Study Day.  Birmingham, UK, May 16, 2014.
  •  “HIT”ing coronary artery disease with high intensity interval training.  Leeds Metropolitan University, Centre for Active Lifestyles: Carnegie Research Seminar Series.  Leeds, UK, March 5, 2014.
  • Collaborative research from the exercise metabolism research group.  Department for Health, Bath University, Bath UK, Feb 28, 2014.
  • How do we know if our arteries are trained?  Assessing the impact of exercise training on blood vessel health. Cardiff Metropolitan University School of Sport.  Cardiff UK, January 28, 2014.
  • HIT to get FIT: maximizing vascular health with high intensity interval training.  Centre for Sports Medicine and Human Performance. Brunel University, London, UK, Nov 13, 2013.
  • HIT to get FIT: maximizing vascular health with high intensity interval training.  Health and Exercise Sciences Research Group, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK, Nov 8, 2013.
  • Changes in Blood Flow and Flow Mediated Dilation in Response to Exercise Training. Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology Annual Meeting; Invited Symposia Speaker “Exercise Training and Vascular Responses” Symposia.  Oct 17, 2013.
  • HIT to Maximize the Health Benefits of Exercise in Patients with Cardiovascular Disease. Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology Annual Meeting; Invited Symposia Speaker “HIT to Get Fit” Symposia.  Oct 16, 2013.
  • Pump up your blood vessels and heart with resistance training: myths and realities.  Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology Annual Meeting; Invited Symposia Speaker for the Graduate Student Symposia.  Oct 13, 2012.
  • The overload principle: A useful paradigm for examining blood vessels? 3rd Annual Muscle Health Awareness Day.  York University.  May 25, 2012.
  • Improved Cardiovascular Outcomes for Chronic SCI.  Ontario Spinal Cord Injury Research Network Meeting. April 27, 2012.

Selected recent publications

  • Totosy de Zepetnek J.O.*, Pelletier, C.A., Hicks, A.L., MacDonald M.J. Increasing physical activity in spinal cord injury: upper-body exercise alone not enough? [Response to Letter to the Editor]. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 2016; 97(1):171-3. DOI: 10.1016/j.apmr.2015.09.010. PMID: 26710857. (ISI Impact Factor 2.565).
  • Totosy de Zepetnek J.O.*, Pelletier, C.A., Hicks, A.L., MacDonald M.J. Sedentary behaviour after spinal cord injury [Response to Letter to the Editor]. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 2016; 97(1):174-5. DOI: 10.1016/j.apmr.2015.10.091. PMID: 26710859. (ISI Impact Factor 2.565).
  • McPhee PG*, Winegard KJ, MacDonald MJ, McKelvie RS and Millar PJ. Importance of early cardiac rehabilitation on changes in exercise capacity: a retrospective pilot study. Applied physiology, nutrition, and metabolism. 2015. 40(12), 1314-1317. doi:10.1139/apnm-2015-0271. PMID: 26575102 (ISI Impact factor 2.339).
  • McPhee PG, Gorter JW, Cotie LM, Timmons BW, Bentley T, MacDonald MJ. Associations of non-invasive measures of arterial structure and function, and traditional indicators of cardiovascular risk in adults with cerebral palsy. Atherosclerosis. 2015 Oct 9;243(2):462-465. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis. 2015.09.035. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26520900. (ISI Impact factor 3.994)
  • McPhee, P. G, Gorter, J. W.,Cotie, L.M.,Timmons B.W.,Bentley T, MacDonald M.J.  Descriptive data on cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors in ambulatory and non-ambulatory adults with cerebral palsy Data in Brief, Volume 5, December 2015, Pages 967-970 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352340915002930
  • Devries MC, Breen L, Von Allmen M, MacDonald MJ, Moore DR, Offord EA, Horcajada MN, Breuillé D, Phillips SM. Low-load resistance training during step-reduction attenuates declines in muscle mass and strength and enhances anabolic sensitivity in older men. Physiol Rep. 2015 Aug;3(8). pii: e12493. doi: 10.14814/phy2.12493. PMID: 26265753
  • Totosy de Zepetnek JO*, Au JS*, Ditor DS and MacDonald MJ.  Impact of shear rate pattern on upper and lower limb conduit artery endothelial function in spinal cord injured and able-bodied men.  Exp Physiol. Exp Physiol. 2015 Oct;100(10):1107-17. doi: 10.1113/EP085056.PMID: 26206681(ISI Impact factor 2.669)
  • Tat J, Au JS*, Keir PJ, MacDonald MJ. Reduced common carotid artery longitudinal wall motion and intramural shear strain in individuals with elevated cardiovascular disease risk using speckle tracking.  Clin Physiol Funct Imaging.  2015 Jul 16.  Doi:10.1111/cpf.12270.  PMID:26183827 (ISI Impact factor 1.438)
  • Totosy de Zepetnek J.O.*, Pelletier, C.A., Hicks, A.L., MacDonald M.J. Following the physical activity guidelines for adults with spinal cord injury for 16 weeks does not improve vascular health: a randomized controlled trial. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 2015; 96(9):1566-75. DOI: 10.1016/j.apmr.2015.05.019. PMID: 26070976. (ISI Impact Factor 2.565).
  • Totosy de Zepetnek JO*, Au JA*, Ditor DS and MacDonald MJ.  Lower limb conduit artery endothelial responses to acute upper limb exercise in spinal cord injured and able-bodied men.  Physiol Rep. 2015 Apr;3(4). pii: e12367. doi: 10.14814/phy2.12367.PMID: 25847920
  • Doubelt I, Totosy de Zepetnek J*, MacDonald MJ, and Atkinson, SA.  Influences of nutrition and adiposity on bone mineral density in individuals with chronic spinal cord injury: A cross-sectional, observational study.  Bone Reports 2 (2015) 26-31.
  • Claridge EA, McPhee PG*, Timmons BW, Ginis, KA, Macdonald MJ and Gorter JW.  Quantification of physical activity and sedentary time in adults with cerebral palsy.  Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2014 Nov 21. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 25423446 (ISI Impact factor 4.459)
  • Totosy de Zepetnek JO*, Jermey TL*, MacDonald MJ.  Superficial femoral artery endothelial responses to a short-term altered shear rate intervention in healthy men.  PLoS One. 2014 Nov 21;9(11):e113407. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0113407. eCollection 2014. PMID: 25415320 (ISI Impact factor 3.534)
  • Currie KD*, Bailey, KJ, Jung, ME, McKelvie RS and MacDonald MJ.  Effects of resistance training combined with moderate-intensity endurance or low volume high-intensity interval exercise on cardiovascular risk factors in patients with coronary artery disease.  J. Sci Med Sport. S1440-2440(14)00198-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2014.09.013. [Epub ahead of print] 2014 Sept 30. (ISI Impact factor 3.079)
  • Pelletier C, Totosy de Zepetnek J*, MacDonald MJ and Hicks A.  A 16-week randomized control trial evaluation the physical activity guidelines for adults with spinal cord injury.  Spinal Cord 30 September 2014 (epub ahead of print). (ISI Impact factor 1.699)
  • Churchward-Venne T, Cotie LM*, MacDonald MJ, Mitchell, C, Prior, T, Baker, S and Phillips, SM.  Citruilline does not enhance blood flow, microvascular circulation or myofibrillar protein synthesis in elderly men at rest or following exercise. Am J Physiology Endocrinology Metab 2014 Jul 1;307(1):E71-83. 2014 May 13 (epub ahead of print) (ISI Impact factor 4.088)
  • Cotie LM*, Josse, AR, Phillips SM, MacDonald MJ16-weeks of combined aerobic and resistance training and hypo-caloric diet on measures of arterial stiffness in overweight pre-menopausal women.  J Metabolic Synd, 3:137, 2014. (ISI Impact factor 1.652)
  • Cotie LM*, Josse, AR, Phillips SM, MacDonald MJEndothelial function increases after a 16-week diet and exercise intervention in overweight and obese young women.  Biomed Research International vol. 2014, Article ID 327395, 10 pages, 2014. PMID 24772421 (ISI Impact factor 2.88)
  • Stone, N, Obeid J, Dillenburg R, Milenkovic J, MacDonald MJ, Timmons BW.  Objectively measured physical activity levels of young children with congenital heart disease.  Cardiology in the Young.  2014 Mar 25:1-6. PMID 24666760 (ISI Impact Factor 0.95)
  • Currie KD*, McKelvie RS, MacDonald MJBrachial artery endothelial responses during early recovery from an exercise bout in patients with coronary artery disease.  Biomed Research International, vol. 2014, Article ID 591918, 8 pages, 2014  PMID 24724088. (ISI Impact factor 2.88)
  • Currie KD*, Rosen LM*, Millar PJ*, McKelvie RS, MacDonald MJ. Heart rate recovery and heart rate variability are unchanged in patients with coronary artery disease following 12 weeks of high-intensity interval and moderate-intensity endurance exercise training. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2013 Jun;38(6):644-50. PMID:23724882. (ISI Impact factor 2.13)
  • Currie KD*, Dubberley JB, McKelvie RS, MacDonald MJLow-Volume, High-intensity Interval Training in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease.  Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2013 Aug; 45(8):1436-42 PMID: 23470301 (ISI Impact factor 4.475)
  • Millar PJ*, Proudfoot NA*, Dillenburg RF, MacDonald MJReduced heart rate variability and baroreflex sensitivity in normotensive children with repaired coarctation of the aorta.  Int J Cardiol. 2013 Sep 20;168(1):587-8. PMID: 23453876(ISI Impact factor 5.509)
  • West DW, Cotie LM*, Mitchell CJ, Churchward-Venne TA, MacDonald MJ, Phillips SMResistance exercise order does not determine postexercise delivery of testosterone, growth hormone, and IGF-1 to skeletal muscle.  Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2013 Feb;38(2):220-6. PMID: 23438236 (ISI Impact factor 2.13)
  • MacDonald MJ, Gibala MJ.  Sprinting towards a time-efficient strategy for microvascular remodelling in humans. J Physiol. 2013 Feb 1;591(Pt 3):603-4. PMID: 23378422 (ISI Impact factor 4.38)
  • Gabel L, Proudfoot NA*, Obeid J, MacDonald MJ, Bray SR, Cairney J, Timmons BWStep count targets corresponding to new physical activity guidelines for the early years.  Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2013 Feb;45(2):314-8.  PMID: 22968313 (ISI Impact factor 4.475)
  • Millar PJ*, AS Levy*, CL McGowan*, N McCartney, MJ MacDonald.  Isometric handgrip training lowers blood pressure and increases heart rate complexity in medicated hypertensive patients.  Scand J. Med Sci Sports. 2013 Oct;23(5):620-6. PMID: 22260503. (ISI Impact factor 2.867)
  • Martin AA*, LM Cotie*, BW Timmons, JW Gorter and MJ MacDonald.  Arterial structure and function in ambulatory adolescents with cerebral palsy are not different from healthy controls. Int. J Pediatr., 2012; 2012:168-209. Epub 2-12 Jun 10.  PMID: 22778755. (ISI Impact factor 2.36)
  • Currie KD*, RS McKelvie and MJ MacDonald. Flow mediated dilation is acutely improved following high-intensity exercise.  Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012 Nov; 44(11):2057-64 PMID 22648341. (ISI Impact factor 4.106)
  • Currie KD*, AA Martin*, PJ Millar*, ND Stone, BW Timmons, RF.Dillenburg and MJ MacDonald. Vascular and autonomic function in preschool aged children with congenital heart disease.  Congenital Heart Disease.  2012 May;7(3): 289-97. PMID 22537219. (First ISI Impact factor 0.901)
  • Timmons, BW, NA Proudfoot, MJ MacDonald, SR Bray, J Cairney.  Health outcomes and physical activity in preschoolers (HOPP) study: rationale and design.  BMC Public Health.  2012 Apr 17; 12:284. PMID 22510438. (ISI Impact factor 2.00)
  • Gibala, MJ, JP Little, MJ MacDonald, JA Hawley.  Physiological adaptations to low-volume, high intensity interval training in health and disease.  J Physiol. 2012  Mar 1;590 (Pt5): 1077-84. PMID: 22289907. (ISI Impact factor 4.718)
  • Stuckey MI, N Tordi, L Mourot, LJ Gurr*, M Rakobowchuk*, PJ Millar*, R Toth, MJ MacDonald, MV Kamath.  Autonomic recovery following sprint exercise.  Scand J Med. Sci. Sports. 2012 Dec; 22(6): 756-63 PMID 21535187.  (ISI Impact Factor: 2.355)