The University of Windsor's Subba Rao Chaganti, Charu Chandrasekera, Cheri McGowan and Kevin Milne attend the Royal Canadian Institute for Science's 2018 Science Exchange Dinner on May 8, 2018.The University of Windsor's Subba Rao Chaganti, Charu Chandrasekera, Cheri McGowan and Kevin Milne attend the Royal Canadian Institute for Science's 2018 Science Exchange Dinner on May 8, 2018.

UWindsor researchers eat, drink and talk science

A pair of University of Windsor professors had the opportunity to eat, drink and chat about their research with The Royal Canadian Institute for Science.

Charu Chandrasekera from the University’s Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods and Cheri McGowan, from the Faculty of Human Kinetics, represented the University of Windsor as table hosts at the 2018 Science Exchange Dinner in Toronto last week.

“It was a career highlight for me to be there,” Dr. McGowan said following the event.

“When I got into research, I always wanted to help people, bring science to the people that ultimately help them live longer and better.

“This was a perfect opportunity to do that.”

The night allowed science savants with diverse backgrounds to meet and discuss a wide range of research topics.

Dr. Chandrasekera’s table was titled “Beyond Animal Testing: New Frontiers in Human-Centered Science.”

She said the dinner allowed her to have conversations with former and current animal researchers and students who are looking for information on how to incorporate human-based methods into their current laboratory.

“It was a great opportunity to represent not only our areas of research but to show that the University of Windsor is in the forefront of emerging and exciting areas of science,” Chandrasekera said.

The Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods is dedicated to the development and validation of human-centred research and testing to better understand human biology in health and disease and reliably predict chemical toxicity.

McGowan’s table, “Getting a GRIP on High BP: Using Isometric Handgrip Training as an Adjunct Standard of Care Treatment,” highlighted how regular isometric resistance training may help prevent and/or manage high blood pressure.

“Unfortunately, poor blood pressure control is a problem worldwide, increasing the risk of long-term and potentially fatal complications” McGowan said.

“But something as easy as isometric handgrip training, a form of resistance training comprised of multiple sustained forearm contractions separated by short rest periods (total 12 minutes), three times a week may help.

“Last fall, this form of exercise training made its way into the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association’s guidelines (2017 Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults) as a recommended treatment, and is listed under “Best Nonpharmacologic Interventions for Prevention and Treatment of Hypertension”.

McGowan said people were drawn to her table for scientific query and for personal enquiry.

“A lot of them knew people that had high blood pressure, or they themselves were concerned personally about high blood pressure,” McGowan said.

“It was really exciting for me because it was pure knowledge translation.”

Both researchers said the night provided a platform to highlight innovative research in Canada.

“There was a real sense of Canadian pride,” Chandrasekera said.

“Everyone there was contributing to science in Canada and working to resolve real-life problems.”

And for McGowan, it was the support of the University of Windsor, including her colleagues and students, and the community that has helped her research achieve such great success.

“I’m just so grateful that I ended up here because I truly believe that it’s Windsor’s support that allowed me to make this happen,” McGowan said.

For more information about the Science Exchange Dinner, visit the Royal Canadian Institute for Science’s website.

By Dylan Kristy

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