University of Calgary

Biomedical research conference makes a French connection

UToday HomeMay 31, 2013

How do you run faster, jump higher or get stronger? What makes some people natural athletes and other people more “natural couch potatoes?” How can fitness fight diseases associated with lifestyle or aging?

On June 4-7, a delegation of French scientists will visit to share research and discuss these kinds of questions, in an unusual workshop entitled The Biomedical Basis of Human Performance Across the Lifespan. The scientific sessions will be open to the university community and organizers are hoping that many will attend.

Lifespan performance an international 'hot topic'

The workshop focuses on an emerging research area of worldwide interest, the biomedical basis of performance through the lifespan. Some of the topics covered will include the use of hypoxia in high performance sport, the role of exercise in chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer, and the role of lifestyle factors in the prevention or delay of age-related diseases like Alzheimer disease, dementia and Parkinson’s.

Why France chose Faculty of Kinesiology

What makes this scientific gathering a little unusual is that it was organized through the French Embassy in Canada, and includes 10 scientists from France, three French ambassadors, and over 60 participants (including faculty, students, and postdocs) from several faculties including Kinesiology, Medicine, Arts, Science and Engineering.

Didier Marty-Dessus, PhD, is the scientific attaché in the French Embassy’s Science and Technology Office. He says the idea for this collaboration came after the University of Calgary hosted a delegation from the French Embassy in April 2012 that included Marty-Dessus and Nicolas Duhaut, higher education attaché in Ottawa.

Marty-Dessus says the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Kinesiology was selected for several reasons. “First of all it was the international reputation of the research programs. Secondly, we considered key collaborations that are already established with French scientists, which will help increase capacity of international co-operation and collaboration.”

Start of wider dialogue

For both Canadian and French researchers, the hope is that the workshop will serve to expand international co-operation and collaboration in graduate education and research, which has been identified as one of the top priorities in the University of Calgary Academic and Strategic Plans.

Conference organizer Marc Poulin, a researcher in the faculties of Medicine and Kinesiology who specializes in the beneficial effects of exercise on cerebral blood flow in health and disease, believes the workshop may well be the start of many future collaborations between France and the university. “The areas of research highlighted in this workshop require interdisciplinary team approaches and collaborations, and we are delighted and honoured to host such a distinguished delegation of French scientists and ambassadors.

“Our guests will receive a good introduction to facilities and the investigators across several faculties at U of C who are engaged in research on the role of physical activity and exercise across the lifespan."

Everyone invited

The scientific sessions will be held in the Faculties of Kinesiology (June 5 and 7) and Medicine (6 June). For more information, go to “The scientific sessions are open to the broader university community,” says Poulin, “and everyone is invited.”


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