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Integrative Physiology


PhD student at work

The group Integrative Physiology consists of a dynamic team of researchers including, PhD students and technicians. The group is supervised by Prof. dr. Maria Hopman and participates in the Radboud Institute for Health Sciences and in the Institute for Functional and Clinical Movement Sciences, a graduate school of the Free University of Amsterdam and Radboud University Nijmegen on the human motor apparatus and physiological research.

The group Integrative Physiology has a long-standing tradition in human-in-vivo research related to oxygen transport (circulation) and oxygen utilization (muscle) at rest and during exercise in health and disease. Normal lifestyle has become progressively more inactive, while a demographic shift towards the aging of the population is present. The research nowadays focuses mainly on cardiovascular adaptations to inactivity and the reversibility of these changes by training to achieve insight into mechanisms explaining the relationship between inactivity, chronic diseases and aging.

The metabolic syndrome is a clustering of cardiovascular risk factors that markedly increase the chance to develop cardiovascular diseases. Due to the changes in lifestyle, prevalence of the metabolic syndrome is rapidly increasing, while also the number of overweight and obese persons is growing, in adults as well as in children. Especially the childhood obesity deserves our scientific attention, given the related serious health risks later in life. Deconditioning and its associated increases in chronic diseases will, therefore, be studied at from childhood to the elderly.

The research is directed towards identifying genetic factors explaining the endothelial dysfunction, known to play a role in the development of atherosclerosis and increased cardiovascular risk, as a result of deconditioning and/or disease. In addition, research focuses on structural and functional changes of the arterial and venous system to elucidate the mechanism responsible for the increased cardiovascular risk in deconditioning, aging and chronic disease states. A close collaboration exists with the department of Pharmacology-Toxicology, Neurology and with Rehabilitation Centers in the Netherlands, particularly with the St Maartenskliniek in Nijmegen. Internationally, collaborations have been established with world-leading groups in Liverpool, Switzerland and Dallas.



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