Joshua Bovard’s PhD Thesis Proposal

Title: “Bioenergetic and physiological responses to aerobic exercise”

Thesis Supervisor: Dr. Robert Boushel (Kinesiology)
Committee Members: Dr. Dave Clarke (SFU, Biomedical Physiology & Kinesiology), Dr. Trish Schulte (Zoology), Dr. Bill Sheel (Kinesiology)

Chair: Dr Jean-Sébastien Blouin

Abstract: Humans evolved to be physically active, as physical activity became integral to short- and long-term energy balance. Key aspects of the bioenergetics of physical activity include the (1) regulation, control, and contributions of the primary bioenergetic systems, (2) maximal rate of aerobic metabolism that can be maintained during aerobic exercise, and (3) transformation of chemical energy stored in fuel into kinetic work for locomotion. Insight into these three aspects can be gained from assessing the rate at which the oxygen transport pathway responds to changes in metabolic demand (VO2 kinetics), maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), and energy and metabolic efficiencies. The extent to which muscle mitochondrial structure and function contributes to VO2 kinetics, VO2max, and efficiencies are incompletely understood. Moreover, how potential differences in muscle mitochondrial structure and function interact with the physiological responses of other organ systems remains to be fully elucidated, especially when considering the effects of biological sex and aerobic fitness. The overarching objective of this proposed thesis is to further understand the bioenergetic and physiological responses during aerobic exercise. Computer modeling and human studies have been designed to understand how the three bioenergetic systems respond to aerobic exercise, examine multiple components of oxygen transport and utilization during aerobic exercise, and explore energy and metabolic efficiencies. The effects of biological sex and aerobic fitness will be considered.