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Dr. Todd Duhamel

Dr. Todd Duhamel

Principal Investigator
Physical Activity and Chronic Disease Prevention, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences

Associate Professor
Kinesiology & Recreational Management, University of Manitoba


Research Focus

Creating a link between Kinesiology and the Cardiac Sciences

Physical activity and health research is an area of fundamental importance. Therefore, my research program focuses onto two major research themes:

Basic exercise physiology

Although it is widely accepted that exercise training prevents and counteracts many of the disease processes that contribute to chronic disease, researchers still do not fully understand the biological mechanisms to explain how physical activity promotes health. With this in mind, my research program utilizes exercise physiology as a tool to identify novel therapeutic targets and signaling pathways that regulate cardiovascular and skeletal muscle health. In order to do so, my research program utilizes isolated cell models, animal models as well as human volunteers to conduct a physical activity-based physiology research program. Specifically, we have focused particular attention to study processes that are activated by physical activity to regulate calcium transport proteins and muscle metabolism in models of health and disease.

Clinical exercise physiology

Sufficient physical activity is a prerequisite for health. However, 85% of Canadian adults do not accumulate enough physical activity on a weekly basis to achieve health benefits. This statistic is alarming because the Public Health Agency of Canada estimates that physical inactivity contributes to the development of 25 different diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer and mental disorders. With this in mind, my clinical research program seeks to better support the utilization of physical activity as a health intervention. To facilitate this clinical research program, I have created links with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, the regional cardiac rehabilitation programs at the Reh-Fit Center and the Wellness Institute at Seven Oaks Hospital, the Health, Leisure and Human Performance Research Institute at the University of Manitoba and the Cardiovascular Health and Research in Manitoba (CHaRM) Investigator group at the St. Boniface Hospital. The CHaRM group was created to improve the care and quality of life of patients with cardiovascular disease through multi-disciplinary, investigator-initiated research and to promote the collaboration for basic, translational and clinical research in Manitoba. This inter-professional research group draws expertise from several disciplines in the field of cardiac sciences, including cardiac surgery, cardiology, nursing, pharmacy, cardiac rehabilitation and epidemiology. For example, we have completed a prospective, observational trial at the St. Boniface Hospital examining the Impact of Physical Activity on Depression after Cardiac Surgery (IPAD-CS). This work discovered that the prevalence of depression amongst cardiac surgery patients prior to surgery and immediately after surgery was 24% and 38%. Our data also indicated that physical inactivity prior to and after cardiac surgery was an independent risk factor associated with the development of depression. Another example of our clinical research program has sought to improve the types and quality of supports that the health care system provides to patients so they can adopt a more physically active lifestyle. To address this gap, my research program partnered with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority to conduct an integrated knowledge translation project examining the implementation of a model for physical activity promotion within primary health care, which we commonly refer to as the ENCOURAGE project. This initiative has helped previously sedentary people to re-schedule their lives in a manner that enabled them be physically active for 104 minutes per week more than they were before the ENCOURAGE intervention.

Why is this work important?

Insufficient physical activity is the single largest risk factor contributing to development of chronic diseases in the world today. In fact, epidemiological studies have indicated that less than 15% of Canadians are physically active enough to maintain optimal health. A greater concern for the health of Manitoban’s, is the fact that less than 10% of our children meet current physical activity guidelines. If this trend continues, it is expected that 1/3rd of our children will develop type 2 diabetes by the time they reach 20 years of age. This should concern parents as diabetics tend to have a life-expectancy that is ~7 years shorter than non-diabetic populations. Diabetes is also a major risk factor for the development of many cardiovascular diseases, which could be expected to further reduce the life expectancy of our children as cardiovascular diseases tend to develop much earlier in diabetic patients compared to the general population. Physical inactivity is also a major concern for the health care system, as health care expenditures associated with diabetes exceed $13 billion per year. In contrast, exercise is considered to be a viable therapy for the prevention and management of at least 25 different chronic disease conditions, including heart disease, stroke, depression, hypertension, type-2 diabetes and some cancers.

What techniques and equipment are used in this laboratory?

My basic science program employs a range of animal models of Type 1 diabetes or dietary induced insulin-insensitivity (high fat feeding, sucrose feeding, Western diet), as well as genetic models of type 2 diabetes (ob/ob mice or db/db mice). The physical activity models that we employ for our exercise studies utilize running wheels, or high-intensity interval treadmill running. To analyze tissue samples, we utilize biochemical, cellular and molecular assessment techniques to measure the changes that occur in response to physical activity. We also measure changes in heart function through the use of echocardiography technologies, miniature catheterization technologies, and isolated tissue (cell culture and isolated muscle) technologies. Our laboratory also has access to equipment that can detect and analyze proteins (Western blot) and RNA (real-time PCR). Fluorescent and spectrophotometric assays are used to characterize changes in protein function in tissue homogenates and isolated fractions.

My clinical research program also uses a variety of tools. For example, we use two approaches to assess changes in physical activity behaviour, namely the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) and Actical accelerometers. We also use surveys to assess measures of anxiety and symptoms of depression using the Cardiac Anxiety Questionnaire (CAQ) and the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), respectively. Finally, we assess clinical outcomes by reviewing patient medical records to determine if the specific physical activity interventions lead to changes in blood pressure, lipids and other parameters routinely collected by primary care physicians.

Dr. Todd Duhamel

Dr. Todd Duhamel was born in Atikokan, Ontario. After completing his undergraduate degree in Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo, he went on to complete a Ph.D. in the field of skeletal muscle physiology in the laboratory of Dr. Howard Green at the University of Waterloo. To complete his academic training, he finished a 2 year postdoctoral fellowship placement within the Institute of Cardiovascular Science at St. Boniface Hospital Research. Dr. Duhamel is a recently recruited Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management, University of Manitoba. His research program brings a distinct expertise to the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, as he has a particular research emphasis examining the role of physical activity for the prevention, as well as treatment of cardiovascular disease in diabetes.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Todd Duhamel
Tel: (204) 235-3589


HAPPY Hearts needs your help!!!

Heart disease is the number one killer of women, including those over the age of 55, and women run a greater risk of dying after a heart attack or stroke then men. Women are under-informed about their risks of heart disease and stroke and unfortunately there has been limited research focused on women’s heart health. We want you to help us change this!

We are looking for volunteers for a research study looking at the effectiveness of non-invasive testing for the early detection of cardiovascular disease.

  • Women age 55 or older.
  • No previous hospitalization for stroke or cardiac disease.
  • Eligibility will be determined over the phone or in person if preferred.

Once eligibility is determined a study visit at the St. Boniface General Hospital will be scheduled that will include:

  • Fasting blood test.
  • Completing a medical history.
  • Completing a series of questionnaires about lifestyle.
  • Completing a series of tests:
    • Height and weight and body composition.
    • Blood pressure after 3 minutes of exercise.
    • Measure of blood vessel function.
    • 6 minute walking test.

Please contact us at:

Tel: (204) 235-3589


Articles Published in Refereed Journals

1. Horne D†, Kehler DS†, Kaoukis G, Hiebert B, Garcia E, Chapman S, Duhamel TA‡, Arora RC‡. Impact of Physical Activity on Depression after Cardiac Surgery (IPAD-CS). Accepted for publication. Canadian Journal of Cardiology on August 18, 2013. † indicates an equal contribution to the project that warrants co-first authorship. ‡ indicates an equal contribution to the project that warrants co-senior authorship.

2. Epp RA, Susser SE, Morissette MP, Kehler DS, Jassal DS and Duhamel TA. Exercise training prevents the development of cardiac dysfunction in the high fat diet-fed, low-dose streptozotocin diabetic rat. Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology. 91(1):80-9. 2013. Funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

3. Horne D†, Kehler DS†, Kaoukis G, Hiebert B, Garcia E, Duhamel TA‡, Arora RC‡. Depression before and after cardiac surgery: do all patients respond the same? Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. 145(5):1400-6. 2013. † indicates an equal contribution to the project that warrants co-first authorship. ‡ indicates an equal contribution to the project that warrants co-senior authorship. Funded by the Manitoba Health Research Council.

4. Hnatiuk JA, Duhamel TA, Katz A, Ready AE. Physical Activity Supports Provided by Health Care Providers to Patients with Type 2 Diabetes. Can J Diabetes. 36.119-127. 2012.

5. Green HJ, Duhamel TA, Smith IC, Rich SM, Thomas MM, Ouyang J, Yau JE. Muscle Fatigue and Excitation-Contraction Coupling Responses Following a Session of Prolonged Cycling. Acta Physiol (Oxf). 203(4):441-55. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-1716.2011.02335.x. 2011. Funded by NSERC.

6. Green HJ, Duhamel TA, Smith IC, Rich SM, Thomas MM, Ouyang J, Yau JE. Muscle metabolic, enzymatic and transporter responses to a session of prolonged cycling. Eur J Appl Physiol. 111(5):827-37. 2011. Funded by NSERC.

7. Bohm CJ, Ho J and Duhamel TA. Regular physical activity and exercise therapy in end-stage renal disease: how should we move forward? J Nephrol. 23(3):235-43. 2010.

8. Adameova A, Xu YJ, Duhamel TA, Tappia PS, Shan L, Dhalla NS. Anti-atherosclerotic Molecules Targeting Oxidative Stress and Inflammation. Curr Pharm Design 15: 3094-3107. 2009. Funded by the Canadian Institute for Health Research.

9. Green HJ, Bombardier E, Duhamel TA, Stewart RD, Tupling AR, and Ouyang J. Metabolic, enzymatic and transporter responses in human muscle during consecutive days of exercise and recovery. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 295(4):R1238-50.2008. Funded by NSERC.

10. Dhalla NS, Sani-Chohan HK, and Duhamel TA. Strategies for the regulation of intracellular calcium in ischemic heart disease. Future Cardiology. 4(4), 339-345. 2008. Funded by the Canadian Institute for Health Research.

11. Green HJ, Burnett ME, Duhamel TA, D’Arsigny CL, O’Donnell DE, Webb KA, Ouyang J. Abnormal Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Calcium-Sequestering Properties in Skeletal Muscle in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 295(2):C350-7. 2008. Funded by NSERC.

12. Green HJ, Duhamel TA, Stewart RD, Tupling AR, and Ouyang J. Dissociation between changes in muscle Na+-K+-ATPase isoform abundance and activity with consecutive days of exercise and recovery. Am J Physiol: Endo Metab. 294(4):E761-7. 2008. Funded by NSERC.

13. Green HJ, Bombardier E, Duhamel TA, Holloway GP, Moule J, Ranney DW, Tupling AR and Ouyang J. Acute responses in muscle mitochondrial and cytosolic enzyme activities during heavy intermittent exercise. J Appl Physiol. 104(4):931-7. 2008. Funded by NSERC.

14. Stewart RD, Duhamel TA, Tupling AR and Green HJ. Effects of consecutive days of exercise and recovery on muscle mechanical function. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 40(2):316-25. 2008. Funded by NSERC.

15. Green HJ, Duhamel TA, Holloway GP, Moule J, Ranney DW, Tupling AR and Ouyang J. Rapid upregulation of GLUT4 and MCT4 expression during sixteen hours of heavy intermittent cycle exercise. Am J Physiol Regul, Integ Comp Physiol. 294(2):R594-600. 2008. Funded by NSERC.

Invited Commentaries Published in Refereed Journals

16. Czubryt M, Wigle J, Duhamel T, Singal P. Preface to: Scientific Basis for Heart Health and Care (Winnipeg Heart International Conference). Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2012 Aug;90(8):v. Epub 2012.

17. Duhamel TA. Viewpoint: Fatigue mechanisms determining exercise performance: integrative physiology is systems physiology. J Appl Physiol. 104(5):1544. 2008.

Published Reports.

18. Duhamel TA, McDonald G, Garcia E, Chapman C, Kehler DS, Petheric L, Norman TM, Buchanan P, Glazebrook C, Gysel A, Brown K, Giesbrecht G, Dunn N. AFTER THE SCHOOL BELL RINGS: A Manitoba After School Recreation Project. 1-258. 2013. Accessed on September 23, 2013. Winnipeg, MB, Canada.

19. Buchanan P, Norman M, Petherick L, Duhamel TA. Getting Girls Active: Examining the Physically Active Recreation Experiences of Ethno-Racially Diverse Girls. Boys and Girls Club Canada – City of Winnipeg. Funding Organization: Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC 6269-07-2010/1092046. Manuals. Date Submitted June 30, 2012.

Published Book Chapters.

20. Kehler DS, Dhalla NS and Duhamel TA. Biochemical Mechanisms of Exercise-Induced Angiogenesis. In: Biochemical Basis and Therapeutic Implications of Angiogenesis (pp. 181-206). Ed. By JL Mehta and NS Dhalla, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, New York. 2013.

21. Duhamel TA and Dhalla NS. Molecular Mechanisms of Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone Blockade in Congestive Heart Failure. In: Recent Advances in Cardiovascular Sciences, Ed. by S.S. Agrawal, DIPfSAR, Govt. of NCT Delhi, New Delhi, 1-41. 2008.

Knowledge translation publications.

22. Duhamel T. (2012). 100 Steps a Minute. Reh-fit Center. Accessed on June 18, 2013. Winnipeg, MB. Canada.

23. Kent D, Kehler DS, and Duhamel T. (2013). A prescription for exercise? Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. Inspire:News and information for staff working for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. Accessed on June 25, 2013. Winnipeg, MB. Canada.

24. Kent D, Kehler DS, Prowse S, and Duhamel T. (2013). Are you physically active enough? Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. WAVE (Winnipeg’s health and wellness magazine) Published on August 27, 2013. Winnipeg, MB. Canada. Accessed on September 23, 2013. Winnipeg, MB. Canada.

Published Theses

25. Morissette M. (2013) Examining the role of the adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase α2 (AMPKα2) subunit on sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium-ATPase (SERCA) expression and function in sedentary and exercise-trained mice. University of Manitoba. Winnipeg, MB, Canada. April 2013.

26. Kehler SD (2012) Pre-habilitation Program for Elective Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery Patients: A Pilot Project. University of Manitoba. Winnipeg, MB, Canada. April 2013.

27. Nilupama Wanigasekara. (2012) Examining the effects of a novel model of cardiac rehabilitation in reducing wait times and increasing adherence to behavior changes promoted by the program. University of Manitoba. Winnipeg, MB, Canada. August 2012.

28. Riley Epp (2013). The ENCOURAGE project: Fee for service interviews. University of Manitoba. Winnipeg, MB, Canada. August 2013.


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University of Manitoba Graduate Student Association Teaching Award (2013)

University of Manitoba Merit Award for Combination of Teaching, Service, and/or Research, Scholarly Work& Other Creative Activities. (2012)

Canadian Institutes of Health Research Fellowship (2008)

Manitoba Health Research Council Fellowship Award (2008)

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Postdoctoral Fellowship Award (2006-08)

Strategic Training Program in Health Research Fellowship Award;

Integrated and Mentored Pulmonary and Cardiovascular Training (IMPACT), funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Heart and Stroke Society of Canada (2006-08)

University of Waterloo Alumni Gold Medal Nominee – presented in recognition of outstanding academic achievement in graduate studies (2007)

Manitoba Health Research Council Fellowship Award (2006)

Canadian Graduate Scholarship Award – National Sciences & Engineering Research Council (2003-06)

University of Waterloo President’s Graduate Scholarship Award (2005-06)

Post Graduate Scholarship Award – National Sciences & Engineering Research Council (2003)

University of Waterloo Graduate Incentive Award (2003)

Ontario Graduate Scholarship – Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities (2002-03)

Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology Graduate Student Award Finalist (2004)

American Physiological Society: Muscle Biology Graduate Student Award (2002)

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Manitoba Primary Prevention Challenge Grant Program

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Grant-in-Aid

Canadian Institutes of Health Research Operating Grant

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Discovery Grant

Manitoba Health Research Council Establishment Grant

St. Boniface Hospital Research Foundation

Recreation Connections Manitoba – Public Health Agency of Canada, Canada Healthy Living Fund

I enjoy providing students with opportunities to learn more about what it means to be a researcher. In my own laboratory, I have been the primary mentor for 1 high school, 13 undergraduate, 2 B.Sc. Medicine, 7 Masters and 1 Doctoral students since 2008. I do my best to provide an outstanding training environment for my student trainees by providing trainees with an opportunity to make meaningful contributions to the overall management of each project. I also enable students to interact with our research partners and stakeholders to inform best practice. Finally, I seek to tailor each research placement so the experiences gained fit within the student’s long-term career plan. Students with an interest to learn more about a research placement in my group can contact me by email.


Life In the Lab