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Health and Exercise Science graduates first Ph.D. student in human bioenergetics

May 12, 2010

Brett Kirby will be the first graduate of the Ph.D. program in human bioenergetics in the Department of Health and Exercise Science, College of Applied Human Sciences.

Passion for research

Brett Kirby is the first graduate of the Human Bioenergetics Ph.D. program and has accepted a post-doctoral fellowship position at Emory School of Medicine.

Kirby, who will graduate this spring, began his graduate training in Health and Exercise Science under the guidance of Associate Professor Frank Dinenno six years ago in the Human Cardiovascular Physiology Laboratory. After receiving his master’s degree, Kirby then entered the new Ph.D. program in 2007. Kirby cites the passion for research he developed working in the lab during those previous years as the reason for deciding to pursue a Ph.D.

“Congratulations to Brett Kirby as our first graduate from the Human Bioenergetics Ph.D. program. Brett has achieved a great deal for this stage of his career having produced seven peer reviewed publications and received two national student research recognition awards from the American Physiological Society. Without question, Brett will accomplish great things in his career and he epitomizes the type of Ph.D. graduate we seek to produce with the guidance of dedicated mentors like Dr. Dinenno,” says Gay Israel, department head in Health and Exercise Science.

Metabolic stressors, advancing age

“A fundamental interest within the Human Cardiovascular Physiology Laboratory has always been related to further understanding how blood flow and oxygen delivery to skeletal muscles are regulated during various metabolic stressors such as exercise or hypoxia, with a specific interest in how this control is altered by advancing age in humans,” says Kirby. Accordingly, Kirby developed his dissertation topic “On the Role of Circulating ATP in Vascular Control at Rest and During Exercise of Aging Humans.”

“ATP is recognized to be an important circulating molecule that controls blood vessel caliber as well as protects against unnecessary blood clotting. The primary aim of this project was to determine whether the concentration of, and the end-action of ATP in controlling blood flow to skeletal muscle are diminished in older adults,” says Kirby.

Post-doctoral fellowship at Emory School of Medicine

"Over the years, they recruited young and older adults to come into the laboratory and determined their responsiveness to ATP and measured the amount of ATP circulating during exercise. “Our primary findings indicate that the amount of circulating ATP in older adults is significantly lower than in young adults during exercise and that this relates to decreases in blood flow and oxygen delivery observed during this stress,” says Kirby.

“Thanks to the quality training I have received through the department and specifically from my advisor, Dr. Dinenno, I was recently offered and accepted a post-doctoral fellowship position at Emory School of MedicineDivision of Cardiology. This new position will offer me the opportunity to take the knowledge obtained here at CSU and apply it to a new arena within blood transfusion medicine,” says Kirby. Kirby intends to pursue a career as an independent researcher.

Contact: Gretchen Gerding
Phone: (970) 491-5182