Olivier BIROT

Associate Professor

Locations / Contact Info:

Keele Campus
Phone (Life Science Building): 416 736 2100 Ext. 44043

Email address(es):


Faculty & School/Dept.

Faculty of Health - School of Kinesiology & Health Science


Postdoctoral Fellow - 2006
Karolinska Institutet
Stockholm, Sweden

PhD - Physiology - 2003
Université Claude Bernard
Lyon, France

MSc (DEA) - Physiology of Extreme Environments - 1998
Université Claude Bernard
Lyon, France


Dr. Birot has research and teaching interests in vascular and muscle physiology, particularly in the context of physical exercise and extreme environmental conditions. Growing up in the Alps he has always been an outdoor and mountain enthusiast. This has greatly stimulated his interest for exercise and extreme environmental physiology. Dr. Birot has also experienced himself some of these extreme environmental conditions when serving as a firefighter for over 6 years. 

Dr. Birot graduated from the Université Claude Bernard (Lyon, France) in 2003 with a PhD degree in Physiology and a Master specialization (DEA) in Extreme Environmental Physiology. His graduate focused on skeletal and cardiac muscle angiogenesis in response to physical exercise and high-altitude exposure. Dr. Birot did a postdoctoral fellowship in cellular and molecular vascular biology at the Karolinska Institute (Stockholm, Sweden). In 2006, he joined the kinesiology department at the Université de Montréal as an assistant professor, and two years later (2008) he joined York University. He is today an associate professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science.

Teaching and research interests: Human physiology, Muscle physiology, Exercise physiology, Vascular biology, Altitude and Extreme Environmental physiology.


  • KINE 4442, Advanced Exercise Physiology: Exercising and Surviving in Extreme Environments.
  • KINE 4443, Living and performing at high altitude: The physiology of human adaptation to hypoxia.
  • KINE 4450, Advanced Exercise Physiology: The cardiovascular system.

Research: Muscle angio-adaptation in health & disease - Capillaries are our smallest blood vessels. "Fueling" muscle cells with oxygen and nutrients, capillaries are very important for the muscle function. In healthy tissues, capillaries usually form a well-organized network, which is very plastic and adaptable. In response to various physiological or pathological conditions (such as exercise training, altitude, physical inactivity, obesity, diabetes...), capillaries can either stabilize, grow, or regress, a process named "angio-adaptation". 
Using a very integrative approach, from human biopsy analysis to primary human endothelial cell cultures, Dr. Birot's research aims to identify and to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate skeletal muscle angio-adaptation in health and disease. He is currently focusing on the impact of exercise, thermal stress and hypoxia (the lack of oxygen) on angio-adaptation. Hypoxia can be observed in various diseases but also physiologically when going to altitude. 

Other: When not teaching or running research with his students in the lab, Dr. Birot is probably somewhere climbing, hiking or paddling his canoe... 

Selected Publications

Amouzou C, Breuker C, Fabre O, Bourret A, Lambert K, Birot O, Fédou C, Dupuy AM, Cristol JP, Sutra T, Molinari N, Maimoun L, Mariano-Goulart D, Galtier F, Avignon A, Stanke-Labesque F, Mercier J, Sultan A, Bisbal C. Skeletal muscle insulin resistance and absence of inflammation characterize insulin-resistance grade I obese women. PLoS One, 11(4), 2016


Aiken J, Roudier E, Ciccone J, Drouin G, Stromberg A, Vojnovic J, Olfert IM, Haas T, Gustafsson T, Grenier G, Birot O. Phosphorylation of murine double minute-2 on Ser166 is downstream of VEGF-A in exercised skeletal muscle and regulates primary endothelial cell migration and FoxO gene expression. FASEB J. 2016 Mar;30(3):1120-34. doi: 10.1096/fj.15-276964. Epub 2015 Nov 17.


Roudier E, Aiken J, Slopack Dara, Gouzi F, Mercier J, Haas TL, Gustaffson T, Hayot M, Birot, O. Novel perspective:  Exercise training stimulus triggers the expression of the oncoprotein Human Double Minute-2 in human skeletal muscle. Physiological Reports 1, 2014


Gouzi F, Prefaut C, Abdellaoui A, Roudier E, de Rigal P, Molinari N, Laoudj-Chenivesse D, Mercier J, Birot O, Hayot M. Blunted muscle angiogenic training-response in COPD patients versus sedentary controls. European Respiratory Journal 41:806-14, 2013 



Roudier E, Forn P, Perry ME, Birot O. Murine Double Minute-2 is required for capillary maintenance and exercise-induced angiogenesis in skeletal muscle. FASEB Journal 26:4530-4539, 2012 



Roudier E, Gineste C, Wazna A, Dehghan K, Desplanches D, Birot O. Angio-adaptation in unloaded skeletal muscle: New insights into an early and muscle-specific dynamic process. Journal of Physiology (London) 588: 4579-4591, 2010


Holmgren L, Ambrosino E, Birot O, Tullus C, Veitonmäkii N, Carlson L-M, Forni G and Kiessling R. A DNA vaccine targeting the angiostatin receptor angiomotin inhibits angiogenesis and suppresses tumor growth. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 103: 9208-13, 2006


Currently available to supervise graduate students: Yes

Currently taking on work-study students, Graduate Assistants or Volunteers: Yes

Available to supervise undergraduate thesis projects: Yes

Current Research

Cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating muscle angio-adaptation under physiological and pathological conditions (exercise training, altitude, environmental physiology, obesity, diabetes).