Courtney M. Wheatley-Guy, Ph.D., is an exercise physiologist whose research passion also revolves around exercise. Through her work, she aims to demonstrate that exercise is effective medicine for a variety of diseases and to identify the optimal dose of exercise to improve patient outcomes. Dr. Wheatley-Guy uses exercise as a diagnostic tool by stressing the body to help detect subclinical pathology earlier to aid in disease prevention and management. She also investigates different methods to monitor patients at home so that clinicians can be made aware of declines, decompensations or exacerbations.
At one time, physical activity and illness were two things that didn't mix. But clinical practice has drastically changed. Dr. Wheatley-Guy believes that the benefits of exercise for overall health are clear, and recent data show that exercise is beneficial as an adjunct treatment for most pathologies.
- Evaluating new models of exercise training in a range of clinical populations to compare the effectiveness of semisupervised exercise training to standard of care in reducing symptoms and improving quality of life and physical fitness
- Investigating exercise with and without simulated altitude exposure to speed up altitude acclimatization, to improve immune cell output and to restore immune cell function changes in immune function
- Quantifying symptoms and changes in cardiopulmonary function in post- COVID-19 conditions and myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS)
- Investigating novel drug or device treatments for cardiac and pulmonary conditions, including heart failure, pulmonary arterial hypertension, chest pain, stable angina, myocardial ischemia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD)
Significance to patient care
For exercise to be effective medicine like medication or other treatments, it must be given at the correct dose — frequency, duration and intensity. Dr. Wheatley-Guy believes the medical system can better meet the needs and improve the health of patients by bridging the gap with personal training and providing guided exercise prescription, potentially with a better understanding of condition-specific limitations.
By investigating methods to deliver semisupervised exercise training in person or virtually, Dr. Wheatley-Guy hopes to provide patients with an opportunity to take the first step. She hopes to give them the comfort of supervision as they're getting started and help keep them accountable until they develop a routine and make exercise a habit that they can continue on their own.
She also hopes that her research on the effects of exercise and simulated altitude on immune function helps restore immune function, optimizes the response to immunotherapy, and improves yield and quality of cells used for manufacturing in cell therapeutic approaches for patients with cancer.
In addition, Dr. Wheatley-Guy hopes that gaining a better understanding of cardiopulmonary changes and limitations in people with post-COVID conditions and ME/CFS will help guide development of new therapeutics and treatment of the causes rather than the symptoms of these conditions.