Christou, Demetra, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology

  • Ph.D. in Kinesiology, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana (2000)
  • M.S. in Exercise Physiology, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana (1998)
  • B.S. in Exercise Physiology/Cardiac Rehabilitation, Northeast Missouri State University (1994)
  • Curriculum Vitae

Contact:

(Office) FLG 120
(Lab) FLG 74
P.O. Box 118205
Gainesville, FL 32611-8205
(352) 294-1715
ddchristou@hhp.ufl.edu

 

Biography:

Demetra Christou, Ph.D. received her doctoral training at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the area of Exercise Physiology. She then trained as a Research Associate in the area of Human Cardiovascular Physiology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Since coming to the University of Florida, Dr. Christou has established and directed the Integrative Cardiovascular Physiology Laboratory.

Her laboratory is performing integrative mechanistic research in humans with a focus on conditions associated with increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the world. One of her primary areas of research is aging, an important non-modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Aging is associated with increased adiposity and decreased physical activity, which contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease. Aging, obesity, and inactivity also contribute to the development of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, independent risk factors of cardiovascular disease. Her overarching goal is to understand the mechanisms responsible for cardiovascular dysfunction in these conditions and to develop human interventions to restore cardiovascular function and improve quality of life. Through collaborative projects, her laboratory is also performing basic cardiovascular research using animal models of aging and chronic heart failure.

Dr. Christou’s current research projects seek to close the knowledge gap regarding the optimum type, intensity, duration, and frequency of aerobic exercise to maximize the beneficial cardiovascular effects in aging and type 2 diabetes and to enhance our understanding of the mechanisms underlying chronic and acute responses to exercise. Her group uses whole-body approaches, including vascular and cardiac imaging via ultrasonography, complemented with cellular/molecular approaches including measures of circulating blood markers, protein and mRNA expression in biopsied endothelial cells and isolated peripheral blood mononuclear cells, cell cultures and in vitro studies.

Dr. Christou’s lab is funded by the National Institutes of Aging (NIA) and has previously been funded by the American Heart Association. Her research has been published in Circulation, Hypertension, American Journal of Physiology, Journal of Applied Physiology, Experimental Gerontology, among other journals.