Research and lab

Dr. Basset’s research activities and interests currently focus on the following areas:

Post-metabolic response to hypoxic exposure 

Metabolic adjustments induced by the reduced partial pressure of oxygen have an impact on the contribution of different substrates to energy expenditure and ATP synthesis. Recovery from acute and short-term moderate hypoxic exposure has not been extensively studied. The underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. This research has the potential to expand the field of exploration in human physiology and can lead to applications in nutrition, pharmacology, and environmental medicine. Canadians, notably those affected by chronic diseases, will benefit from knowledge about the mechanisms underlying metabolic responses to intermittent hypoxic exposure.


Metabolic and other responses to long-term cold exposure

The timeframe for a mass rescue incident in the Arctic region is currently estimated at 5-7 days. At present, the majority of physiological studies on cold exposure involve exposure to very cold conditions where ethical limits for hypothermia are reached within 4-6 hours, due to the high rates of heat loss. Dr. Basset and colleagues intended to fill this research gap by exposing subjects to moderate cold (7.5oC) for long periods of time (i.e., ≥24 hours). The aim is to push subjects to the limit of what they could voluntarily tolerate for 24 hours, and to perform a series of physiological and cognitive tests at intervals throughout the exposure. Specific areas of interest include how long-term cold exposure affects cognitive performance; basic survival skills necessary to signal for help; heat balance (i.e., thermoregulation); functions of major physiological systems (i.e., cardiorespiratory system, nervous system, renal system, digestive system); and metabolic processes (e.g., basal metabolic rate; substrate partitioning).



Cardiorespiratory responses to exercise

Dr. Basset has developed research projects that integrate cardiorespiratory physiology and motor control to assess human performance, as well as acute and chronic (i.e., acclamatory) responses to physical training. This involves the study of metabolic and biomechanical/motor control responses to exercise in an integrative manner. This research represents a new theoretical corpus and new techniques, emphasizing the impact of athletic profile on sport performance. Recent work in this area has been published in international peer-reviewed journals, conference proceedings, and abstract



Muscle coordination and central and peripheral fatigue

The origin of performance decrement induced by repetitive skeletal muscle contractions is still debated in exercise sciences. Undoubtedly, the muscle contractile apparatus becomes less efficient when undergoing high-intensity exercise; however, the central nervous system (CNS) also demonstrates effects of fatigue. The study of fatigue phenomena should include both the role of central motor drive, as well as peripherally-based, metabolite-induced failure of skeletal muscle contractile function, independent of the CNS. There is a growing body of literature suggesting that performance is regulated by the CNS,specifically to ensure that acatastrophic failure of homeostasis does not occur during voluntary exercise. Exposure to acute hypoxia triggers several metabolic and neuromuscular responses to adjust and compensate for reduced arterial oxygen, significantly affecting aerobic capacity. It was also proposed that the central nervous system receives sensory input from muscle afferents that regulates the central motor drive to adjust for intramuscular metabolite accumulation, and that under hypoxic stress the termination of exercise may be the result of direct effects of oxygen deficit on the brain. Dr. Basset’s research aims at investigating muscle coordination modifications induced by exercising under acute normobaric hypoxia, versus normoxia. It also aims to determine whether muscle coordination modifications predispose or follow thedevelopment of peripheral fatigue.



Within the Human Physiology and Environmental Physiology laboratories at the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Dr. Basset has access to, and utilizes various experimental tools, applications, and equipment:

• Metabolic cart (for exercise tests [e.g., VO2max], substrate partitioning, and basal metabolic rate [BMR]);

• Ergometers (arm-crank, treadmills, VeloTron Ergocycle);

• Electrocardiogram (ECG);

• Spirometer;

• O2 Saturation (SpO2);

• Blood lactate (BLa) lancet / analyzer;

• Hydrostatic weighing;

• Cold water immersion (tank with water cooling system [down to 5°C]);

• Normobaric hypoxia (nitrogen filter technique).