Cheri McGowan, Ph.D.

Position: Associate Professor, Kinesiology Research Coordinator
Affiliation: University of Windsor


Areas of Expertise: Clinical Cardiovascular and Exercise Physiology, Exercise Rehabilitation

Brief Description of Research:

Dr. Cheri McGowan is a clinical cardiovascular and exercise physiologist. Her research mission is to improve the well-being of the local, provincial, national and global population by providing simple solutions to reduce cardiovascular disease-related morbidity and mortality. Using direct and indirect measures of autonomic activity and ultrasound imaging, she aims to increase our understanding of the mechanisms involved in cardiovascular regulation in health and disease, and of how these mechanisms are altered with exercise. Her current research program provides value in four areas: • Determines the contribution of the autonomic nervous system to disease pathophysiology, • Examines the effectiveness of traditional exercise-based treatments (e.g., Cardiac Rehabilitation), • Generates support for alternative exercise interventions (e.g., Isometric Handgrip (IHG) training, Ashtanga yoga) to improve blood pressure (BP) regulation in healthy and clinical (e.g., Hypertension, Cancer) populations, • Investigates methods to best implement effective interventions into clinical practice to promote optimal patient standard of care. Dr. McGowan has always been an advocate of combining psychology and physiology in treatment of disease pathophysiology. One of her more recent cancer related projects funded through the Seeds4Hope Program has teamed her up with Dr. Josee Jarry, Department of Psychology, to test how survivors of breast cancer will respond — physically and psychologically — to Ashtanga yoga, a rigorous, aerobic discipline that aims to induce a meditative state through the coordination of breath, movement, and specific visual focus for each pose.

5 Select Publications:

Boa, S.S., Narlon, C., Gregory, M.A., Gill, D.P., McGowan, C.L., Petrella, R.J. (2018) The Impact of Blood Pressure Dipping Status on Cognition, Mobility, and Cardiovascular Health and Older Adults Following an Exercise Program. Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, 4, 1-11.

Dempster, K.S., McGowan, C.L., Wade, T.J., O’Leary, D.D. (2018) Effects of Isometric Handgrip Exercise Training on Systemic Arterial Stiffness, Cardiovagal Baroreflex Sensitivity, and Cognition in Treated Adults with Hypertension: A Pilot Study. Critical Reviews in Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, 30(3), 219-237.

McGowan, C.L., Proctor, D.N., Swaine, I., Brook, R.D., Jackson, E.A., Levy, P.D. (2017). Isometric Handgrip as an Adjunct for Blood Pressure Control—A Primer for Clinicians. Current Hypertension Reports, 16(51).

Smart, N.A., Swaine, I., Carlson, D., Swaine, I., McGowan, C. (2017) Commentary on Aerobic Versus Isometric Handgrip Exercise in Hypertension: A Randomized Control Trial. Journal of Hypertension, 35(12), 2554-2556.

Somani, Y.B., Baross, A.W., Brook, R.D., Milne, K.J., Mcgowan, C.L., Swaine, I.L. (2017). Acute Response to a 2-minute Isometric Exercise Test Predicts the Blood Pressure-Lowering Efficacy of Isometric Resistance Training in Young Adults. American Journal of Hypertension, 31(3), 362-368.