The 2017 Saltin International Graduate Course in Exercise & Clinical Physiology

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Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Sept. 18 – 21, 2017

A 4-day intensive advanced graduate-level course that brings together faculty and students from Canadian and Danish Universities focusing on topics in exercise and clinical physiology.

This annual, integrative research-based course covers basic and applied science topics on various physiological systems and extends to common clinical physiological applications. Thematic areas in physiology will range from subcellular signaling to organ function and systemic integration.

The international aspect of the course facilitates exchange of diverse topics, research perspectives, experimental approaches, research design, and national traditions. Faculty plenary lectures, student research presentations, and extensive seminar format are intended to maximize student-student and student-faculty interaction, enrich learning and inspire creativity in research. The International Course also aims to enhance academic and research networks between Danish and Canadian institutions to enrich graduate student learning, faculty interaction and exploration of future research initiatives that result in student mobility, development of new programs, projects, partnerships, student involvement, and likelihood of longevity of collaboration. The course will provide a platform for launching national and international research funding initiatives.

The course is structured to form a foundational component of graduate study credits at Canadian universities and for ECTS credits at Danish Universities. The course is open to graduate students from around the world and will rotate annually between Canada and Denmark.

International Perspective

Canada and Scandinavia have strong cultural and business links with Canada being one of the strongest growing export markets for Danish companies. The Canadian and Danish Trade Commissions have built extensive networks for knowledge exchange based on a shared value system with continuing commitment to fruitful collaboration on many global issues including industry, culture and the arctic.  Universities across Canada and Denmark are committed to the ideal of academic scholarship and to the development of an international perspective to broaden and enrich educational quality and expand research innovation. As part of university missions, students are encouraged to participate in international exchanges and internships, courses and field schools. These opportunities foster appreciation of other perspectives, cultures and exposure to new expertise as a part of excellence in university education. Equity, diversity and responsibility to society are values upon which the mission of Canadian and Danish Universities are founded.  International collaborations between Canada and Denmark have been active for close to a century and have developed intellectual depth and high rates of research discovery. Notably, a rich tradition of scientific collaboration exists in the fields of physiology and exercise.

After receiving the Nobel Prize in 1920 for his work on the function of capillaries, August Krogh took an interest in the work of Frederick Banting and Charles Best on the glucose lowering peptide insulin. On a trip to North America in 1922 August and his wife Marie who was diabetic, visited Banting’s lab at the University of Toronto. Krogh verified Banting’s findings on insulin and upon return to Denmark was instrumental in the nomination of Banting & Macleod for the Nobel Prize. Krogh obtained a license for the protocol for insulin purification and began production immediately upon his return to Copenhagen. Together with the Danish physician H. C. Hagedorn, Krogh then founded the Nordic Insulin Laboratory and the Nordisk Insulin Foundation which today constitute the company Novo Nordisk and the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Continuing Krogh and Lindhard’s pioneering work in the physiology of exercise and establishment of the Copenhagen School, the Swedish physiologist Bengt Saltin conducted groundbreaking research in exercise physiology at the August Krogh Institute, beginning with seminal work on oxygen uptake, exercise and muscle glycogen, and the role of the circulation in exercise training and performance. Amongst many accomplishments, Saltin was awarded the August Krogh Prize, The Novo Nordisk Prize and the International Olympic Prize. As Director of The Copenhagen Muscle Research Centre he led the field internationally, and was a strong proponent of international collaboration. He was awarded 12 honorary doctorates -3 from Canadian universities stemming from rich history of research collaboration (>75 publications) with Canadian scientists. Bengt Saltin was an organizing member of the first International Graduate Courses held in 2010 and 2011, and owing to the positive review of these courses, he urged their continuation,

'There is no doubt that not only was it an exceptional learning opportunity but also the beginning of professional networks were formed. There were a number of discussions among the groups on concrete future studies.’ Bengt Saltin, 2011 Course, Quebec City

The Saltin International Graduate Course in Clinical and Exercise Physiology will extend the strong scientific lineage between Denmark and Canada. In the field of Exercise Physiology, the respective countries rank in the top tier internationally for scientific impact per capita. In the previous International courses held in 2010, and 2011, 13 faculty from 6 countries participated and interacted throughout the 4 days with 60 graduate students from 9 Canadian universities, the University of Copenhagen, and 3 other European universities. The experience for both faculty and students was unique and highly valued by faculty and students alike,

‘I have taken part in these courses and the experience was amazing. It is a great learning opportunity and you get to interact with world experts both formally and informally. You can meet fellow students from across Canada and Europe - in some cases developing friends for decades. I encourage you to strongly consider fitting this into your studies. You will not get many of these chances.’ Terry Graham- Professor Emeritus, 2011 Course, Quebec City

Course Leaders

Name Title Department/School Institution
Robert Boushel Professor and Director School of Kinesiology University of British Columbia
Terry Graham Professor Emeritus Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences University of Guelph
Mary-Ellen Harper Professor Department of Biochemistry
Faculty of Medicine
University of Ottawa
David Wright Associate Professor, Canada Research Chair Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences University of Guelph

 Course Objectives

  • To provide an innovative learning experience for graduate students through exposure to and interaction with an extensive group of internationally recognized scholars and student peers across Canada and Internationally.
  • To gain exposure to diverse research perspectives and experimental approaches to enrich student learning through plenary lectures by numerous renowned researchers and educators.
  • To facilitate interactive discussion on cutting edge topics, explore approaches to stimulate creativity and novelty in research design and enhance research study impact.
  • To gain experience in formulating and communicating research proposals.
  • To foster the formation of research networks between scientists and institutions for exploration of future academic research initiatives.
  • To gain exposure and perspectives on academic teaching and advising.
  • To gain experience presenting research to peers and scholars.

Course Outcomes

Graduate students will have the unique opportunity to interact closely with scholars in their field over a 4-day period. Students will be exposed to state-of-the-art experimental approaches that may be implemented in their own research to enhance sophistication and novelty. Valuable experience will be gained through oral presentation of their own research in an international setting and collegial atmosphere. The opportunity exists to develop collaborative relationships, formal partnerships with peers and faculty at national and international levels, and discuss funding avenues. Students will gain insight on teaching approaches and responsibilities in the academic setting.

Course Credits

Students may register for a 3-credit graduate seminar course at their home institution, or a KIN 500 course at UBC. The 3-credit course requirements are: i) the preparation of a poster, ii) an oral presentation and iii) a written paper on a selected topic in the course program.

For further information contact the Graduate Program Director at


DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Gatineau - Ottawa
1170 Aylmer Road, Gatineau,
Gatineau, QC, J9H 7L3

Travel & Accommodation

Acceptance to the 2017 Saltin Course in Ottawa includes the accommodation and meals for students of sponsoring universities. There is no registration fee, but students must arrange their own travel.

Students accepted to the course from non-sponsoring universities must cover their travel, accommodation, and meals. Costs for 4-night double occupancy and meals is $850 CAD.

 jump to > Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

Saltin International Graduate Course in Exercise and Clinical Physiology Program


Welcome: Course perspectives

Robert Boushel (UBC), Terry Graham (Guelph)

Day 1

Introductory Keynote

Adipokines, exercise and health

Camilla Scheele, University of Copenhagen

Morning Session

Inter-organ Molecular Signals with Exercise & Metabolic Disease

David Wright, University of Guelph

1. Mitochondria-derived vesicles
Yan Burelle, University of Ottawa

2. Fuels, microbiome, nutritive regulators, performance
Andre Tchernov, Laval


4. Anti-Inflammatory effects of exercise
David Wright, University of Guelph5. Exercise and inflammation: a clinical perspective
Jonathon Little, University of British Columbia


Horizon Round Table

Inter-organ communication including gender differences

Camilla Scheele, University of Copenhagen
David Wright, University of Guelph

Jane Shearer, University of Calgary 
Mary-Ellen Harper, University of Ottawa
Robert Boushel, University of British Columbia

Student Presentations

3 separate groups of 6 /7 students each, 8 minute presentations


Dinner & Social at hotel

Day 2

Introductory Keynote

Fatty acid transporters: Scientific pathways to a horizon

Arend Bonen, University of Guelph

Morning Session

Diet and Exercise Interactions

Terry Graham, University of Guelph 
Henriette Pilegaard, University of Copenhagen 

1. Mitochondrial bioenergetics and proteomic regulation in diet-induced weight loss
Mary-Ellen Harper, University of Ottawa

2. Exercise and fasting: Dose-response
Brendan Gurd, Queen's University

3. Muscle thermogenesis and obesity
Russ Tupling, University of Waterloo


4. Muscle fuel storage and impact on muscle function
Niels Ortenblad, University of Southern Denmark5. Nutrition and exercise: reshaping the gut
Jane Shearer, University of Calgary


Horizon Round Table

Exercise and Health Policy

Ian Jansson, Queen's University

Andrew Pipe, University of Ottawa
Heather Manson, Public Health Ontario
JD Miller, B2Ten
TBA, Copenhagen

Student Poster Presentations

4 separate groups of 10 students, 4 minute presentations

Afternoon-to-evening recreation

Museums, Canal cycling, ByWard Market, & Parliament Hill


Organized dinner for students | Faculty on own

Day 3

Introductory Keynote

Imaging of subcellular structures and substrate pools: perspectives on function

Clara Prats, University of Copenhagen

Morning Session

Bioenergetics in Health and Disease

Mary-Ellen Harper, University of Ottawa
Greg Steinberg, McMaster University

1. Muscle mitochondrial energetics
Celine Aguer, University of Ottawa

2. Exercise and regulatory changes in muscle mitochondria
Chris Perry, York University

3. Brown adipose tissue: Distribution, adaptability, impact on energy expenditure
André Carpentier, Université de Sherbrooke


4. Exercise and PGC-1α mediated changes in muscle autophagy and metabolic capacity
Henriette Pilegaard, University of Copenhagen5. AMPK-dependent regulation of brown adipose tissue
Greg Steinberg, McMaster University

6. NAD+ and control of energy homeostasis
Keir Menzies, University of Ottawa


Afternoon Session

Sex Differences in Exercise

Robert Boushel, University of British Columbia
Kyra Pyke, Queen's University

1. The Copenhagen Women Study
Ylva Hellsten, University of Copenhagen

2. Maternal exercise
Kristi Adamo, University of Ottawa


3. Blood flow regulation in gestation
Coral Murrant, University of Guelph4. Sex differences during exercise: impact on performance
Bill Sheel, University of British Columbia

Horizon Round Table

Careers: University Research, Teaching, Community, Government, Industry

Bill Sheel, University of British Columbia
Coral Murrant, University of Guelph

Mary-Ellen Harper, University of Ottawa
Ylva Hellsten, University of Copenhagen
Mike Donaldson, Canadian Science Publishing
Mary Duggan, Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology 

Student Presentations

3 separate groups of 6/7 students, 8 minute presentations.

Day 4

Introductory Lecture

Physical Literacy & Health

Richard Monette, Active for Life

Morning Session

Integrated Physiology of Exercise & Aging

Ylva Hellsten, University of Copenhagen
Jerome Dempsey, University of Wisconsin

1. The brain and neuromuscular function
Jayne Kalmar, Wilfred Laurier

2. Exercise in the elderly frail
Jennifer Jakobi, University of British Columbia

3. Blood flow, training and age: Kyra Pyke, Queen's University


4. Oxygen delivery and microcirculation
Chris Ellis, Western University5. Angiogenesis
Tara Haas, York University


Horizon Round Table

Exercise & Aging

Jayne Kalmar, Wilfred Laurier
Jennifer Jakobi, University of British Columbia

Jerome Dempsey, University of Wisconsin
Ylva Hellsten, University of Copenhagen
Richard Monette, Active for Life

Course Evaluation

Discussion & Written Comments
Summary and Closing

* Lectures tailored to student learning: 25 min+5 min Q/A
* 40 student registrants
* Canadian (3 cr) and European (3.5ECTS) Course credit


* Horizon is a new initiative of the Journal Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism (APNM).  The goal is to have experts within a focused research area summarize the important achievements in their field and more important, to identify the key research questions and research challenges (e.g., limitations in methodology) that should be addressed.  The format is to have a chair person and 3+ experts in an informal round table discussion.  Each participant would have submitted their views in a brief summary and these would have been shared with the others before the conversation.  The interactive round table then proceeds with a discussion on the ideas and topics. There is limited audience input and only the round table participants speak.  The chair leads the others in a short, written manuscript for publication in APNM.