Dr. Leigh Gabel, PhD
Faculty of Kinesiology
McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health
Child Health & Wellness Researcher
Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute
For media enquiries, contact
Leanne Yohemas - Director, Communications and Marketing, Faculty of Kinesiology.
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
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.
We use accelerometry to study movement patterns (physical activity and sedentary time), including investigating which accelerometry parameters best reflect bone-loading activity.
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|
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.
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
- Pre-flight exercise and bone metabolism predict unloading-induced bone loss due to spaceflight. Gabel L, Liphardt A-M, Hulme PA, Heer M, Zwart SR, Sibonga JD, Smith SM, Boyd SK. British Journal of Sports Medicine. (2021)
- Postural balance effects associated with 400, 4000 or 10,000 IU vitamin D3 daily for three years: A secondary analysis of a randomized clinical trial. Gabel L†, Burt LA, Billington EO, Hanley DA, Boyd SK. Nutrients. (2020)
- Sex-, ethnic- and age-specific centile curves for pQCT and HR-pQCT-derived measures of bone structure and strength in adolescents and young adults. Gabel L, Nettlefold L, Macdonald HM, Macdonald HA. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. (2018)
- Bone strength in girls and boys following a distal radius fracture: a 2-year HR-pQCT double cohort study. Macdonald HM, Määttä M, Gabel L, Mulpuri K, McKay HA. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. (2018)
- Bouts of vigorous physical activity and bone strength accrual during adolescence. Gabel L, Macdonald HM, Nettlefold L, McKay HA. Pediatric Exercise Science. (2017)
- Physical activity, sedentary time and bone strength from childhood to early adulthood: a mixed longitudinal HR-pQCT study. Gabel L, Macdonald HM, Nettlefold L, McKay HA. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. (2017)
- Sex differences and growth-related adaptations in bone microarchitecture, geometry, density and strength from childhood to early adulthood: a mixed longitudinal HR-pQCT study. Gabel L, Macdonald HM, McKay HA. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. (2017)
- Re-examining the surfaces of bone in boys and girls during adolescent growth: a 12-year mixed longitudinal pQCT study. Gabel L, Nettlefold L, Brasher PM, Moore S, Ahamed Y, Macdonald HM, McKay HA. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. (2015)
- A 4-year mixed longitudinal analysis of the health behaviours and fat mass accrual during adolescence and young adulthood.. Gabel L†, McConnell-Nzunga J†, Macdonald HM, Rhodes RE, Hofer SM, Nayor PJ, McKay HA.. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2178-2187. (2022)
- Incomplete recovery of bone strength and trabecular microarchitecture at the distal tibia 1 year after return from long duration spaceflight. Gabel L, Liphardt A-M, Hulme PA, Heer M, Zwart SR, Sibonga JD, Smith SM, Boyd SK.. Scientific Reports. 9446. (2022)
- 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)
In the News
- What can Sports Exercise Medicine learn from the International Space Station. British Journal of Sports Medicine Podcast. (2021)
- Postdoctoral Research Slam. UToday. (2020)
- U of C confirms bone loss in astronauts. Global News. (2022)
- Bone loss during spaceflight. UCalgary Today.
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