Faculty Spotlight

Zachary Schlader, PhD

Zachary Schlader is an assistant professor in the Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences (ENS).

His research focuses on how the body regulates temperature and the various interactions of exercise, cardiovascular physiology and cognitive function.

Before arriving at the University at Buffalo, Zachary completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine in Dallas, Texas. As a postdoc in the Thermal and Vascular Physiology Laboratory, he conducted research that investigated the impact of thermal stress on simulated hemorrhage tolerance, the efficacy of heat acclimation in burn survivors with grafted skin, and the impact of age on various aspects of temperature regulation. Previous to that experience, he had the tremendous opportunity to study his PhD at Massey University in New Zealand. His PhD thesis developed, and later utilized, an exercise model that enabled him to evaluate some of the mechanisms underlying human adaptive behavior during thermal stress. This work was an extension of the research he completed during his time as a Masters student at Indiana University.

The Body's Reaction to Extreme Environments

Schlader is spearheading the development of a state-of-the-art laboratory that simulates extremes in the environment, such as cold and hot, that can be used to better understand how the temperature of the environment affects our physiological responses.

“In our lab, we can simulate not only environmental extremes, but also specific instances that may occur such as hemorrhage,” says Schlader. “When we do this, we can then look at the cardiovascular responses to that and the interactions between temperature and physiology.”

An Early Interest in Exercise Physiology

As a sports fan, Zachary Schlader, PhD, knew from an early age that we wanted to better understand the human body and how physiology impacted performance. But it wasn’t until he started down a scholarly path in exercise physiology that he realized that his interests could potentially be used to impact people’s lives.

“I think my interest in temperature and how the environment affects us is because it’s something we can all relate to. Everyone knows what it’s like to be hot, or in Buffalo, what it’s like to be cold. So everyone understands that. Not everyone necessarily understands what it’s like to be an elite athlete where you’re pushing your body to those extremes.”

This research, according to Schlader, can have far reaching impacts that may be able to save lives.

“Epidemiological data that says that injury risk, hospitalization and even death all spike whenever an injury is related to being hot or cold. We’re trying to understand why that is and once we can understand that, we hope to be able to do something about it.”

Research Opportunities for Students

Schlader also notes that UB’s Department of Exercise and Nutrition Science provides aspiring research students with great opportunities, especially those interested in environmental physiology.

“We’re just getting the ball rolling with our new lab,” explains Zachary. “With that comes a great learning opportunity because students would be very hands on. That includes everything from putting equipment together, to data collection and analysis. Our lab will not be complacent we’ll be pushing the envelope of research and innovation.”