Amy Kirkham

Amy Kirkham, Assistant Professor, Clinical Cardiovascular Health

  • Assistant Professor, Clinical Cardiovascular Health

About Amy

Academic Training

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta
PhD, Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia
MSc, School of Kinesiology, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia
BSc Kinesiology, Faculty of Health, York University
Athletic Therapy Certificate, Faculty of Health, York University


The overarching goal of my research program is to use a multi-disciplinary approach that leverages cutting edge, non-invasive, imaging techniques to study precisely prescribed, mechanistically targeted, lifestyle interventions to prevent and ameliorate cardiovascular dysfunction and disease, with an emphasis on women. A primary focus is on cardiovascular disease in breast cancer survivors, the top causes of death of women in Canada.

While exercise is a key diagnostic and therapeutic tool, I take a multi-disciplinary approach in my lab to characterize and treat individuals with cardiac and/or oncologic disease. Established and novel magnetic resonance and echocardiographic imaging techniques, cardiopulmonary exercise testing and venipuncture are used to investigate cardiac, vascular and skeletal muscle mechanisms of exercise intolerance and to quantify the therapeutic benefits of targeted clinical exercise and dietary interventions on these systems. Intervention approaches of interest include acute and chronic exercise, calorie restricted, intermittent fasting, and ketogenic nutrition approaches, and multi-dimensional cardiac rehabilitation. 

Graduate Student Recruitment Status
Accepting PhD and MSc students
Research Interests

•    Cardio-oncology and cardiotoxicity
•    Women’s cardiovascular health
•    Breast cancer
•    Chemotherapy
•    Exercise prescription and adherence
•    Caloric restriction, fasting, ketogenic diet 

•   Skeletal muscle mass and quality, fat deposition
•    Non-invasive imaging (magnetic resonance and echocardiography)




Selected Publications

•    Kirkham AA, Beaudry RI, Paterson DI, Mackey JR, Haykowsky MJ. Curing breast cancer and killing the heart: A novel model to explain elevated cardiovascular disease and mortality risk among women with early stage breast cancer [Invited Review]. Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases 2019;62(2):116-26. 

•   Kirkham AA, Beka V, Prado CM. The effect of caloric restriction on blood pressure and cardiovascular function: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clinical Nutrition

•  Kirkham AA, Paterson DI, Haykowsky MJ, Beaudry R, Mackey JR, Pituskin E, Grenier JG, Thompson RB. Aerobic fitness is related to myocardial fibrosis post-anthracycline therapy. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise; in press.

•  Kirkham AA, Virani SA, Bland KA, McKenzie DC, Gelmon KA, Warburton DER, Campbell KL. Exercise training affects hemodynamics not cardiac function during chemotherapy. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment; in press.

•  Kirkham AA, Pituskin E, Neil-Sztramko SE. Cardiovascular risk factors are at age-dependent increased odds among cancer survivors: CLSA cohort. Current Oncology; in press.

•    Pituskin E, Kirkham AA, Cox-Kennett N, Dimitry R, Dimitry J, Paterson DI, Gyenes G. Rehabilitation needs in anti-cancer treatment-related cardiotoxicity [Invited Review]. Seminars in Oncology Nursing 2020;36(1) 

•    Kirkham AA, Shave RE, Bland KA, Bovard JM, Eves ND, Gelmon KA, McKenzie DC, Virani SA, Stöhr EJ, Warburton DER, Campbell KL. Protective effects of acute exercise prior to doxorubicin on cardiac function of breast cancer patients: A proof-of-concept RCT. International Journal of Cardiology 2017; 245:263-70.

•    Kirkham AA, Davis MK. Exercise prevention of cardiovascular disease in breast cancer survivors [review]. Journal of Oncology, special issue: “Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease: The Complex Labyrinth” 2015; Article ID 917606. 

•    Kirkham AA, Pituskin E, Paterson DI. Does cancer affect cardiac function prior to cancer therapy exposure? [Invited Commentary]. Canadian Journal of Cardiology 2018; 34(3):234-5. 

•    Kirkham AA, Paterson DI, Prado CM, Mackey JR, Courneya KS, Pituskin E, Thompson RB. Rationale and Design of the Caloric Restriction and Exercise protection from Anthracycline Toxic Effects (CREATE) Study: A 3-arm Parallel Group Phase II Randomized Controlled Trial in Early Breast Cancer. BMC Cancer 2018;18:864.

•    Kirkham AA, Eves ND, Shave RE, Bland KA, Bovard J, Gelmon KA, Virani SA, McKenzie DC, Stöhr EJ, Warburton DER, Campbell KL. The effect of an aerobic exercise session 24 h prior to each doxorubicin treatment for breast cancer on markers of cardiotoxicity and treatment symptoms: a RCT. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 2018;167(3):719-29. 

•    Kirkham AA, Lloyd MG, Claydon VE, Gelmon KA, McKenzie DC, Campbell KL. A longitudinal study of the association of clinical indices of cardiovascular autonomic function with breast cancer treatment and exercise training. The Oncologist 2019;24(2):273-84.

•    Kirkham AA, Pituskin E, Neil-Sztramko SE. Cardiovascular risk factors are at age-dependent increased odds among cancer survivors: CLSA cohort. Current Oncology 2020; in press 

•    Norris C, Yip C, Nerenberg K, Clavel MA, Pacheco C, Foulds H, Hardy M, Gonsalves C, Jaffer S, Parry M, Colella TJF, Dhukai A, Grewal J, Price J, Levinsson A, Hart D, Harvey P, Van Spall H, Sarfi H, Sedlak T, Ahmed S, Baer C, Coutinho T, Edwards J, Green C, Kirkham AA, Srivaratharajah K, Dumanski S, Keeping-Burke L, Lappa N, Reid R, Robert H, Smith G, Martin-Rhee M, Mulvagh S. State of the science in women's cardiovascular disease: a Canadian perspective on the influence of sex and gender. Journal of the American Heart Association. 2020;9(4):

•    Beaudry RI, Kirkham AA (co-first author), Thompson RB, Grenier JG, Mackey JR, Haykowsky MJ. Impaired exercise tolerance in anthracycline-treated breast cancer survivors: The role of skeletal muscle bioenergetics, oxygenation, and composition. The Oncologist 2020;25(5):e852-e860. 

•    Kirkham AA. Supervised, multi-modal exercise: the chemotherapy supportive therapy that almost does it all. The Oncologist [Invited Commentary]. 2020;25(1):3-5. 

•    Kirkham AA, Bland KA, Zucker DS, Bovard J, Shenkier T, McKenzie DC, Davis MK, Gelmon KA, Campbell KL. ‘Chemotherapy-periodized’ exercise to accommodate for cyclical variation in fatigue. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 2020;52(2):278-286. 

•    Kirkham AA, Bonsignore A, Bland KA, McKenzie DC, Gelmon KA, Van Patten C, Campbell KL. Exercise prescription and adherence for breast cancer: One size does not FITT all. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 2018;50(2):177-86. 

•    Kirkham AA, Virani SA, Campbell KL. The utility of cardiac stress testing for detection of cardiovascular disease in breast cancer survivors: A systematic review [review]. International Journal of Women’s Health 2015;7:127-140.

Professional Memberships

American College of Sports Medicine
Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology