Faculty Spotlight

Dave Hostler, PhD

Dave Hostler, an expert in firefighter health and safety with 25 years of experience in public safety, is professor and chair of the Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences (ENS).

He joined UB from the University of Pittsburgh, where he was an associate professor of emergency medicine and the Department of Emergency Medicine Professor of First Responder Health & Safety. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wright State University, and his doctorate in physiology from Ohio University.

“My research interests focus on environmental physiology and human performance in extreme environments, especially the physiological responses of working in protective clothing,” said Hostler.  

Promoting Health and Safety for Emergency Responders

At Pitt, he was a founding faculty member and director of the Emergency Responder Human Performance Lab, for which he directed studies to understand the stresses associ­ated with emergency response and developed interventions to improve the health and safety of the nation’s first responders.

These include the Fireground Rehab Evaluation (FIRE) Trial and the Enhanced Firefighter Rehab Trial (EFFoRT). Additionally, he was principal investiga­tor for the SHIELD Trial examining the role of statin drugs and cardiovascular stress in firefighters.

The Emergency Responder Human Performance Lab moved with Hostler to UB and now occupies space in Sherman and Farber halls.

“I am currently focusing on the long-term effects of uncompensable heat stress on firefighters. We know a lot about what happens to the heart and body temperature 20 minutes after responding to an emergency call but we know very little about the later effects on reaction time and decision-making. Those effects may not appear right away, but surface one or two hours later, which would affect firefighters if they had to go to another fire.”

A firefighter and paramedic by training, Hostler served on the county Hazmat team in Pittsburgh.

Offering Significant Research Opportunities for Students

“I joined SPHHP to be part of a strong program that is continuing to grow. ENS has a strong faculty and a bright future,” he said of the department which emphasizes scientific inquiry and discovery throughout each of its academic programs.

“Students in my lab have opportunities to participate in every aspect of environmental physiology research and ultimately prepare themselves for careers in human subject research or clinical medicine.”

This profile was adapted from an article written by David J. Hill and first appeared in the Fall 2013 issue of the UB Health Impact newsletter.