Dr. Maureen J. MacDonald Ph.D.

Maureen J. MacDonald Ph.D.

Our blood vessels play an important role in transporting blood to and from all of the tissues of our body. My research focuses on the role that physical activity plays in altering arterial structure and function.

Two important features of our arteries are how flexible they are and how much they can expand when they need to accommodate more blood flow. In my lab, we are using new ultrasound methods to look directly at the walls of the arteries and blood flow inside muscles. Our ongoing studies will focus on the use of cutting edge ultrasound technology to view blood vessels. The information gained from these studies will assist in advancing the current basic knowledge of human physiology and help in developing effective exercise programs.

My work in the PACE includes several studies looking at blood vessels in different populations including healthy individuals and those at increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Some current research questions include:

  • Is arm or whole body exercise training better to decrease cardiovascular risk in individuals with a chronic spinal cord injury?
  • Are activity patterns predictive of arterial health in pre-school aged children?
  • Will sprint interval exercise improve the function of arteries for people in a cardiac rehabilitation program?
  • Do adults with cerebral palsy have increased cardiovascular risk?
  • Does Tai Chi increase exercise capacity for people with cardiac disease?
  • How do different exercise programs regulate changes in blood vessel health?

Dr. MacDonald's Research

CHAMpS Study

Cardiovascular Health And Mobility across a spectrum of Stroke risk (CHAMpS) study aims to gain a better understanding of factors that impact a person’s risk for future stroke. Read More


CHOICES, a CIHR Team Grant-funded project led by principal investigator Dr. Andrei Krassioukov from ICORD, brings together leading researchers from across Canada with the aim of improving the lives of Canadians living with spinal cord injury. Read More

Regulatory Mechanisms of Vascular Structure and Function

This is a five-year program grant funded by The Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grant program supporting the overarching goal to increase our mechanistic understanding of human cardiovascular regulation. Read More

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