Olivier BIROT

Associate Professor

Locations / Contact Info:

LSB 423A
Keele Campus

Email address(es):


Faculty & School/Dept.

Faculty of Health - School of Kinesiology & Health Science


HDR, Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches - 2009
Université Claude Bernard
Lyon, France

Postdoctoral Fellowship completion - 2006
Karolinska Institutet
Stockholm, Sweden

PhD - Doctoral degree in Physiology - 2003
Université Claude Bernard
Lyon, France

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


Dr. Birot is an associate professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science with 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 6-7 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 MSc and PhD work focused on skeletal and cardiac muscle angiogenesis in response to physical exercise and high-altitude exposure.

In 2004-2006, Dr. Birot competed a postdoctoral fellowship in cellular and molecular vascular biology at the Cancer Centrum Karolinska (CCK), Karolinska University Hospital and Karolinska Institute (Stockholm, Sweden).

In 2006, he joined the department of kinesiology at the Université de Montréal as an assistant professor in cardiovascular physiology, and two years later (2008) he joined York University. He is today an associate professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science.

In 2009, Dr. Birot obtained his Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches (HDR) from the Université Claude Bernard (Lyon, France). HDR is the highest academic qualification earned after a PhD, statutorily defined by the Order of November 23rd, 1988.

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 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

Full list on PUBMED:


Selected publications:

Aiken J, Mandel ER, Riddell MC, Birot. Hyperglycaemia correlates with skeletal muscle capillary regression and is associated with alterations in the murine double minute-2/forkhead box O1/thrombospondin-1 pathway in type 1 diabetic BioBredding rats. Diab. Vasc. Dis. Res. 16(1): 28-37, 2019.

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. 30(3): 1120-34, 2016.

Egginton S & Birot O. Angiogenesis: growth points. Microcirculation 21(4); 276-277, 2014.

 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, 2013.

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.

Olfert IM & Birot O. Importance of anti-angiogenic factors in the regulation of skeletal muscle angiogenesis. Microcirculation 18(4): 316-30, 2011.

 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: No

Available to supervise undergraduate thesis projects: No

Current Research

Cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating tissue angio-adaptation under physiological and pathological conditions (exercise training, altitude, cold exposure, obesity, diabetes). Integrative approach from primary cell culture (muscle cells, endothelial cells from muscle, dermal, brain and lung tissues) to muscle biopsy analysis.