Kirsten Coffman

Assistant Professor, Exercise Science
B.A., Physics, North Central College, Naperville, Ill., 2012
Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering & Physiology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., 2017

Professor Kirsten Coffman

Research Interests
I completed my Ph.D. at Mayo Clinic in 2017, where I studied the effects of healthy aging on pulmonary vascular function during exercise. I then conducted research on environmental physiology as a postdoctoral research fellow at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine before joining the University of Puget Sound in 2019.

My research interests are focused on understanding how the heart and lungs adapt to various stressors such as heat, cold, or altitude exposure, particularly during exercise. We know that these environmental stressors alter many aspects of exercise physiology including blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen consumption, and how blood is distributed in the body. Additionally, I use a technique called lung diffusing capacity to study how the diffusion efficiency of gases – such as oxygen – from the environment into the lungs and blood changes in response to these stressors. Techniques used in the laboratory include exercise testing, breathing maneuvers (spirometry), lung diffusing capacity (DLCO), temperature monitoring, electrocardiogram (ECG), and pulse-oximetry. For my future work I aim to characterize the effects of heat exposure on lung diffusing capacity and related physiological variables during rest and incremental exercise.