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Richard L. Hughson



Office: AHS 2683

Phone: (519) 888-4567, ext. 32516


Fax: (519) 885-0470

Richard Hughson profile picture

​Research interests

Visit the Vascular Aging and Space Research Program Laboratory

Professor Hughson is the Schlegel Research Chair in Vascular Aging and Brain Health and is a member of the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging. His research focuses on the cardiovascular challenges to daily life and how the cardiovascular system changes with aging and with space travel. Professor Hughson’s research is using non-invasive technologies to study blood pressure and blood vessel responses to investigate a range of topics in health and disease.

A major focus is currently on the ability of the cardiovascular system to regulate arterial blood pressure and brain blood flow in the elderly and in astronauts. Studying these two populations in parallel provides unique insights into possible mechanisms that might increase the risk of fainting and falling in the elderly or in astronauts returning to Earth after long-duration stays on the International Space Station. The concept of stiffer blood vessels with aging or “hardening of the arteries” is well appreciated, but research from graduate student Andrew Robertson in Professor Hughson’s lab has shown that stiffer vessels could also play a critical role in causing reductions in brain blood flow with aging. The lab now is conducting a large scale collaborative study linking cardiovascular physiology to cognitive science through the funding of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Within the space research program, Professor Hughson has three different projects funded to support investigations of astronauts who live up to 6-months on the International Space Station. One called Vascular is currently examining factors responsible for changing the properties of blood vessels with spaceflight. This work has implications for the roles of physical inactivity and exercise programs for vascular health on Earth. Another branch of the research is linking the circulation and muscle metabolism during various work tasks.

Professor Hughson was the recipient of the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology Honour Award in 1997, the University of Waterloo Award for Excellence in Research in 2001, and the University of Waterloo Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision in 2005.

Graduate Supervision

I am currently accepting applications from graduate students with related research interests:

Teaching Interests





BSc (Western Ontario)

MSc (British Columbia)

PhD (McMaster)

​Selected publications

  • Hughson RL, Shoemaker JK, Blaber AP, Arbeille P, Greaves DK, Pereira-Junior PP, Xu D. Cardiovascular regulation during long-duration spaceflights to the International Space Station. J Appl Physiol. 112: 719-727, 2012.

  • Fraser KS, Greaves DK, Shoemaker JK, Blaber AP, Hughson RL. Heart Rate and Daily Physical Activity with Long-duration Habitation of the International Space Station. Aviat Space Environ Med 83: 577-584, 2012.

  • Edgell H, Robertson AD, Hughson RL. Hemodynamics and brain blood flow during posture change in younger women and post-menopausal women compared to age-matched men. J Appl Physiol 112: 1482-1493, 2012.

  • Zuj KA, Arbeille P, Shoemaker JK, Blaber AP, Greaves DK, Xu D, Hughson RL. Impaired cerebrovascular autoregulation and reduced CO2 reactivity after long-duration spaceflight. Am. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol. 302: H2592-H2598, 2012  related podcast

  • Robertson AD, Tessmer CF, Hughson, RL. Association between arterial stiffness and cerebrovascular resistance in the elderly. J Human Hypert 24: 190-196, 2010
  • Faisal A, Dyson KS, Hughson, RL. Prolonged ischemia impairs muscle blood flow and oxygen uptake dynamics during subsequent heavy exercise. J Physiol 588: 3785-3797, 2010
  • Hughson RL. Recent findings in cardiovascular physiology with space travel. Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 169 Suppl 1: S38-S41, 2009
  • Hughson RL. Oxygen uptake kinetics: Historical perspective and future directions. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 34: 840-850, 2009.
University of Waterloo

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