Leigh Gabel

Dr. Leigh Gabel

Pronouns: she/her


Assistant Professor

Faculty of Kinesiology

Full Member

McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health

Child Health & Wellness Researcher

Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute

Contact information


Educational Background

PhD Experimental Medicine, University of British Columbia, 2017

MSc Kinesiology, McMaster University, 2011

Bachelors Honours Kinesiology, Western University, 2008


Dr. Gabel's research examines the role of movement (physical activity and exercise) for musculoskeletal health across the lifespan using advanced medical imaging (HR-pQCT, pQCT, DXA). Dr. Gabel's research focuses on critical life periods for bone accrual (e.g., childhood and adolescence) and bone loss (e.g., menopause), and how physical activity and exercise can enhance bone accrual and prevent bone loss. Her lab also studies conditions that adversely affect skeletal health (e.g, microgravity and chronic disease).


Areas of Research

Growth and Maturation of the Musculoskeletal System

We use medical imaging to study how body tissues (bone, muscle, and fat) change during childhood and adolescence, with a particular focus on the adolescent growth spurt and controlling for maturation.

Wearable Technology (accelerometers)

We use accelerometry to study movement patterns (physical activity and sedentary time), including investigating which accelerometry parameters best reflect bone-loading activity.

Bone Loss during Menopause

We are interested in interventions that prevent bone loss during menopause.

Participation in university strategic initiatives


Course number Course title Semester
KNES 355 Human Growth and Development Winter 2023
KNES 503.83 Pediatric Exercise Science Winter 2023
KNES 355 Human Growth and Development Winter 2022


Strength Training for Osteoporosis Prevention in Early Menopause (STOP-EM)

This project will improve our understanding of exercise preferences and perceptions during early menopause and investigate the effect of a strength training intervention for preventing bone loss during early menopause. 

Canadian Bone Strength Development in Children with Type 1 Diabetes Study (CanBSDS)

This Canada-wide multi-centre study will investigate trajectories of bone accrual in children with Type 1 Diabetes.


  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research Fellowship, CIHR. 2021
  • T. Chen Fong Postdoctoral Fellowship in Medical Imaging Science, University of Calgary. 2017
  • Postgraduate Fellowship, Alberta Innovates. 2017
  • Endeavour Fellowship, Australian Government. 2014
  • Fredrick Banting and Charles Best CGS Doctoral Research Award, CIHR. 2012


  • Exercise and bone health across the lifespan. Macdonald HM, Gabel L, McKay HA. Clinical Sports Medicine: Exercise Medicine. (2019)
  • Exercise and the female skeleton. Gabel L and Macdonald HM. The Female Athlete Triad: A Clinical Guide. (2015)

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