The Cardiac Exercise Research Group was established in January 2008 with funding from the Norwegian Research Council (Outstanding Young Investigators Program), the Norwegian Council on Cardiovascular Disease, St. Olav's Hospital and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). From 2011, the group was given a grant to become the K.G. Jebsen Center for Exercise in Medicine for the next four years, which releases additional funding from NTNU and the Central Norway Regional Health Authority. The group is headed by professor Ulrik Wisløff and currently consists of 18 post-docs, 18 research fellows and 12 engineers or adminstrative staff.
Our research focuses on identifying the key cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of physical exercise on the heart, arteries and skeletal muscle in the context of disease prevention and management through experimental, clinical and epidemiological studies. Identifying the cellular and molecular mechanisms associated with aerobic fitness is important, because it may help us develop new and better methods to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease.
The relationship between physical activity and health can be studied by either top-down or bottom-up approaches. The top-down approach starts with epidemiological studies, and then works its way towards identifying possible general physiological mechanisms. The bottom-up strategy begins with the basic molecular mechanisms induced by exercise, which are then placed in the greater context of improving public health. On its own, neither approach has successfully established firm links between molecular mechanisms and public health. We wish to address the lack of an integrated approach in fighting major public health issues such as inactivity, obesity, metabolic syndrome and subsequent cardiovascular disease, and the ensuing economic and social burdens on society in terms of treatment for lifestyle-related disease. Our current research seeks to combine epidemiological, experimental and clinical expertise to an integrated approach in the battle against lifestyle-related disease.
The Cardiac Exercise Research Group is comprised of outstanding scientists, physicians and aspiring future researchers at NTNU and St. Olav's Hospital. We believe our research will improve the means of diagnosing and treating cardiovascular disease through the knowledge acquired from large population studies, patient examinations, and experimental research at the cellular and molecular levels. We expect to identify new biomarkers for both negative (due to inactivity) and positive (following exercise) molecular mechanisms, which will form the basis of new diagnostic and therapeutic tools to better treat – as well as prevent – cardiovascular disease.