Professor Wood's area of interest is exercise physiology; the role of exercise in the modulation of immune function in the young and old, neuroendocrine mechanisms underlying exercise, and stress-induced immunomodulation. The broad goal of his research program is to generate a public health message regarding the effects of exercise on immune function and susceptibility to disease. The current belief is that moderate exercise enhances immune function, whereas intense, prolonged exercise suppresses it. Specifically, our experiments are designed to:
Purposes of experiments
- describe the effects of different doses of exercise on immune functioning,
- determine the mechanisms (i.e. central nervous, endocrine, intracellular) responsible for exercise-induced changes in immunity,
- define the physiological significance of exercise-induced changes in immunity in relation to disease susceptibility and progression (influenza infection and cancer), and
- explore the use of appropriate forms of exercise as adjunct therapy for those with deranged immune systems (e.g. elderly).
We use both human and animal models in our research. Currently, we are funded by the National Institute on Aging to determine the extent to which exercise training improves immune responses to vaccine in older adults. We also have several ongoing studies in mice examining the impact of exercise on the immune response and susceptibility to influenza virus, the growth and rejection of tumors, wound healing, and inflammation associated with obesity. We have found that exercise can protect mice from death due to influenza, speed wound healing, and reduce inflammation and blood vessel density in growing tumors. We believe that exercise improves health by reducing acute and chronic inflammation. Our laboratory is fully equipped with state-of-the-art tissue culture facilities, equipment for biochemical measurements, animal telemetry, molecular biology, and clinical exercise and body composition testing. We enjoy collaborations with investigators in diverse fields such as veterinary medicine, psychology, animal sciences, nutritional sciences, molecular virology, immunology, as well as kinesiology.