Dr. David Wright

A photograph of Dr. David Wright.
Phone number: 
ext. 56751
ANNU 334
ANNU 322

During my undergraduate studies in the faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary I became fascinated with understanding how the body adapts to regularly performed exercise. These initial learning experiences prompted me to pursue graduate studies in exercise physiology first at Arizona State University for the completion of my MSc and then at Ball State University where I received my doctorate in Human Bioenergetics.

After the completion of my PhD I completed  a postdoctoral fellowship in Dr. John Holloszy’s laboratory at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. During this time my research was focused on examining the biochemical pathways activated by exercise that lead to 1) increases in skeletal muscle glucose uptake and 2) enhanced skeletal muscle mitochondrial content. Towards the end of my postdoctoral fellowship several papers were published demonstrating that commonly prescribed anti-diabetic medications such as rosiglitazone can increase mitochondrial content in adipose tissue. While effective in improving insulin action these compounds have many unwanted side effects. Since we have known for over 4 decades that exercise increases mitochondrial density in skeletal muscle, I wondered if exercise would have the same effect in other tissues such as adipose, and if so, what mechanisms could be mediate this effect.

In 2006, I began my first faculty position as the University of Alberta and investigated the effects of exercise and diet on adipose tissue function and metabolism, and in turn how these alterations, regulate skeletal muscle and whole body glucose homeostasis. Since 2010 I have held a tier II Canada Research Chair in Lipids, Metabolism and Health in the department of HHNS. My research continues to focus on how diet and exercise effect adipose tissue metabolism.

BPE - University of Calgary
MS - Arizona State University 
PhD - Ball State University

  1. McKie GM*, Wright DC. Biochemical adaptations in white adipose tissue following aerobic exercise: From mitochondrial biogenesis to browning. Biochem J. 477:1061-1081, 2020.
  2. Townsend LJ*, Weber A*, Barbeau PA, Holloway GP, Wright DC. Reactive oxygen species-dependent regulation of PDK4 in white adipose tissue. Am J Physiol Cell, 318: C137-149, 2020.
  3. Shamshoum H*, Medak K*, Townsend LK*, Ashworth K*, Bush N*, Hahn M, Kemp B, Wright DC. AMPK b1 activation suppresses anti-psychotic-induced hyperglycemia in female mice.  FASEB J, 33, 14010-14021, 2019.
  4. Medak KD*, Townsend LK*, Hahn M, Wright DC. Female mice are protected against acute olanzapine-induced hyperglycemia. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 110, 104413, 2019.
  5. McKie GL*, Medak KD*, Knuth CM*, Shamshoum H*, Townsend LK*, Peppler WT*, Wright DC. Housing temperature affects the acute and chronic metabolic adaptations to mice. J Physiol.597:4581-4600, 2019. 
  6. Townsend LK*, Medak KD*, Peppler WT*, Meers GM, Rector RS, LeBlanc PJ, Wright DC. High saturated fat diet-induced obesity causes hepatic interleukin-6 resistance via endoplasmic reticulum stress. J Lipid Res.60: 1236-1249, 2019.
  7. Peppler WT*, Castellani LN*, Medak KD*, Townsend LK*, Root-McCaig J*, Sutton CD*, Frendo-Cumbo S*, MacPherson REK*, Charron MJ*, Wright DC. Regulation of hepatic follistatin expression at rest and during exercise in mice. Med Sci Sports Exerc 51:1116-1125, 2019.
  8. Townsend LK*, Medak KD*, Knuth CM*, Peppler WT*, Charron MJ, Wright DC. Loss of glucagon signaling alters white adipose tissue browning. FASEB J 33:4824-4835, 2019.
  9. Peppler WT*, Townsend LK*, Meers GM, Panasevich MR, MacPherson RE, Rector RS, Wright DC. IL-6 acutely improves indices of hepatic glucose and lipid metabolism in lean and obese mice. Am J Physiol Gastro 316: G166-178, 2019.
  10. Knuth CM*, Peppler WT*, Townsend LK*, Miotto PM, Gudiksen A, Wright DC. Prior exercise training improves cold tolerance independent of indices associated with non-shivering thermogenesis. J Physiol, 596: 4375-4391, 2018.
  11. Bush ND*, Towsend LK*, Wright DC. AICAR protects against olanzapine-induced disturbances in glucose metabolism. J Pharmacol Exp Ther, 365: 526-535, 2018.
  12. Castellani LN*, Peppler WT*, Miotto PM, Bush ND*, Wright DC. Exercise protects against olanzapine-induced hyperglycemia in male C57BL/6J mice. Sci Rep, 15:772 doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-19260-x, 2018.
  13. Townsend LK*, Peppler WT*, Bush ND, Wright DC. Obesity exacerbates the acute metabolic side effects of olanzapine. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 88:121-128, 2018.
  14. Peppler WT*, Townsend LK*, Knuth CM*, Foster MT, Wright DC. Subcutaneous inguinal white adipose tissue is responsive to, but dispensable for, the metabolic health benefits of exercise. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, 314 E66-77, 2018.
  15. Peppler WT*, Miotto PM, Holloway GP. Wright DC. CL 316,243 mediated reductions in blood glucose are enhanced in RIP140-/- mice independent of alterations in lipolysis. Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 486:486-491, 2017.
  16. Castellani LN*, Peppler WT*, Sutton CD*, Whitfield J, Charron MJ, Wright DC. Glucagon receptor knockout mice are protected against acute olanzapine-induced hyperglycemia. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 82:38-45, 2017.

HHNS*6710 Advanced Topics in Nutrition and Exercise

Name Role
McKie, Greg PhD Student
Medak, Kyle PhD Student
Seguin, Ian MSc Student
Shamshoum, Hesham PhD Student
Weber, Alyssa MSc Student