Dr. Robert Ross, Ph.D.

Professor, Tenured
Area of Expertise: 
Exercise Physiology
Contact Information
KHS 301E

Research summary

Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Research Unit

Our research work is focused on the characterization and management of obesity and related co-morbidities in adults. In recent years we have conducted a number of randomized controlled trials to determine the efficacy and effectiveness of lifestyle-based interventions designed to manage abdominal obesity and related health risk. Our objective is to continue this type of research for the foreseeable future.

Our intervention-based research is performed within 5000 square feet of space in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies. This space includes the aerobic exercise equipment necessary to perform multiple intervention trials.  Equipment for measurement of indirect calorimetry both during exercise and at rest is in place. Also included are 4 MRI- and CT-image analysis workstations.  We also have routine access to MRI, MRS, CT and DEXA facilities at Kingston General Hospital.  Our cardiometabolic-based research is performed within our Clinical laboratory space located within our laboratory and includes 2 beds, office space for our research nurses and two metabolic testing suites dedicated to performing our metabolic studies including hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp studies, glucose tolerance, glucose oxidation, resting metabolic rate measurement etc.

Graduate student training opportunities

As the prevalence of obesity, diabetes and aging continue to increase worldwide, the importance of research designed to develop graduate students trained in these research areas is magnified. The research objectives of our laboratory are consistent with this observation and thus, graduate students in our lab are trained in fertile research areas that will develop the skills required within a broad spectrum of the research community.  To date 35 MSc and 8 PhD students have graduated from our laboratory.

Current funding

Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR)

Recent publications

Recent, Selected Publications (2014-2016)

Ross R, Hudson R, Stotz P, Lam M. Effects of exercise amount and intensity on abdominal obesity and glucose tolerance in obese adults. A randomized controlled trial. Annals of Internal Medicine 162: 325-334, 2015.

Ko G, Davidson L, Brennan AM, Lam M, Ross R. Mediators of the Exercise-induced Change in Insulin Sensitivity in Older Adults.  PLoS One (In Press)

Clarke J, de Lannoy L, Ross R. Comparison of measures of maximal and submaximal fitness in response to exercise. Med Sci Exer Sport (In Press)

Bostad B, Ricketts A, Stotz PM and Ross R.  Cardiovascular disease risk using     established values for cardiorespiratory fitness. J Appl Physiol Metab (In Press)

Ross R, Blair SN, Arena R, Church TS, Despres J-P, Franklin BA, Haskell WL, Kaminsky LA, Levine BD, Lavie CJ Jr, Myers J, Niebauer J, Sallis R, Sawada SS, Sui X, Wisloff U; on behalf of the American Heart Association Physical Activity Committee of the Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health, Council on Clinical Cardiology, Council on Epidemiology and Prevention, Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing, Council on Functional Genomics and Translational Biology, and Stroke Council. Importance of assessing cardiorespiratory fitness in clinical practice: a case for fitness as a clinical vital sign: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2016. In press.

Ross R.  Is setting a criterion for ‘clinically significant weight loss’ necessary?   Invited Commentary, Obesity 24(4): 791, 2016.

Ross R, Hill JO, Latimer A and Day AG. Evaluating a small change approach to preventing long term weight gain in overweight and obese adults - study rationale, design, and methods. Contemporary Clinical Trials 47: 275-281, 2016.

Ricketts A, Sui X, Lavie CJ, Blair SN and Ross R.  Addition of Cardiorespiratory Fitness within an Obesity Risk Classification Model Identifies Men at Increased Risk of All-Cause Mortality.   Am J Medicine 129: 536.e13-536.e20, 2016.

Ross R, deLannoy L, Stotz P. Separate effects of exercise amount and intensity on inter-individual cardiorespiratory fitness response. Mayo Clin Proc. 90(11):1506-1514, 2015.

Nazare JA, Smith JD, Borel A-L, Haffner SM, Balkau B, Ross R, Massien C, Alméras N, Després J-P. Usefulness of Measuring Both Body Mass Index and Waist Circumference   for the Estimation of Visceral Adiposity and Related Cardiometabolic Risk Profile Am J Cardiol 115:307-315, 2015.

Ross R, Blair  SN, de Lannoy L, Després J-P, Lavie CJ.  Changing the endpoints for determining effective obesity management. Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases doi: 10.1016/j.pcad.2014.10.003, 2014.

Sallis R, Franklin B, Joy L, Ross R, Sabgir D, and Stone J.  Strategies for Promoting Physical Activity in Clinical Practice.  Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases  doi: 10.1016/j.pcad.2014.10.003, 2014.

Ainsworth B, Cahalin L, Ekelund U, Ross R.  The Current State of Physical Activity Assessment Tools.  Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases doi: 0.1016/j.pcad.2014.10.005,   2014. 

Borel AL, Nazare JA, Smith J, Aschner P, Barter P, Van Gaal L, Tan CE, Wittchen H-U, Matsuzawa J, Kadowaki T, Ross R, Brulle-Wohlhueter C, Alméras N, Haffner SM, Balkau B, Després JP. Visceral, subcutaneous abdominal adiposity and liver fat content distribution in normal glucose tolerance, impaired fasting glucose and/or impaired glucose tolerance. International Journal of Obesity doi: 10.1038/ijo.2014.163, 2014.

Brennan A, Lam M, Paula S, Hudson R and Ross R. Exercise-induced change in insulin resistance is mediated by abdominal obesity but not cardiorespiratory fitness.  Diabetes Care 37:e95–e97, 2014.

Wilson M, and Ross R. Measurement of muscle insulin sensitivity in obese men.  Diabetes and Metabolism, 40 161–164, 2014.

Shalev-Goldman E, McGuire KA, and Ross R.  Waist circumference and cardiorespiratory fitness are independently associated with glucose tolerance and insulin resistance in obese women.  Appl Physiol Nutr Metab  39(3): 358-362, 2014.