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Kirsten Bell
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Assistant Professor
Ivor Wynne Centre, Room 216
905 525 9140 ext. 24872

My research seeks to better understand the relationship between nutrition (especially dietary fats) and metabolic health in adults with breast cancer. Unhealthy metabolic changes develop and worsen during the breast cancer trajectory (diagnosis, treatment, survivorship), often leading to the diagnosis of co-morbidities, like type 2 diabetes and even cancer recurrence, once patients enter survivorship. We do not fully understand why breast cancer patients are predisposed to these metabolic perturbations, but it may be related to certain cancer treatments (e.g., chemotherapy, hormone therapy) or even cancer itself. Cancerous tumours consume fuel (like glucose and lipids) at accelerated rates compared to normal cells, which may impact the metabolic regulation of host tissues, like skeletal muscle

Students in my laboratory:

  1. Manipulate circulating lipids to uncover the mechanisms linking lipid availability and skeletal muscle glucose dysregulation in cancer and non-cancer populations,
  2. Apply fat-based nutrition interventions (e.g., omega-3 supplementation) to improve features of glucose metabolism in adults with breast cancer, and
  3. Test and develop innovative ultrasound-based techniques to non-invasively assess muscle fat infiltration and metabolic health

I am currently accepting graduate students for Fall 2022. If you are interested in graduate work, please contact me at

I am committed to building and supporting an equitable, inclusive, diverse, and accessible lab environment. Members of equity-deserving groups, including (but not limited to) racialized, 2SLGBTQIA+, neurodivergent, and disabled communities, are encouraged to apply for research opportunities in my lab.

Cancer; Nutrition; Dietary fat; Glucose metabolic health; Skeletal muscle; Body composition; Ultrasound

Bell KE, Paris MT, Avrutin E & Mourtzakis M (2022). Altered features of body composition in older adults with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes compared with matched controls. J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle. Accepted.

Paris MT, Bell KE, Avrutin E & Mourtzakis M (2022). Association of strength, power, and performance with muscle thickness, echo intensity, and lean tissue in older males. Applied Physiol Nutr Metab. Accepted.

Paris MT, Bell KE, Avrutin E & Mourtzakis M (2022). Body size normalization of ultrasound measured anterior upper leg muscle thickness in younger and older males and females. Eur J Clin Nutr; Epub Jan 19. doi:10.1038/s41430-022-01070-0.

Paris MT, Bell KE, Avrutin E, Rosati K & Mourtzakis M (2021). Influence of subcutaneous adipose tissue and skeletal muscle thickness on rectus femoris echointensity in younger and older males and females. J Ultrasound Med; Epub Dec 18. doi: 10.1002/jum.15922.

Bell KE, Pfeiffer AG, Schmidt S, Bos L, Russell C, Barnes T, Di Sebastiano KM, Avrutin E, Gibson M, Dubin JA & Mourtzakis M (2021). Low-frequency exercise training improves cardiovascular fitness and strength during treatment for breast cancer: a single-arm intervention study. Sci Rep; 11(1): 22758. doi:10.1038/s41598-021-01962-4.

Paris MT, Bell KE, Avrutin E & Mourtzakis M (2021). Associations between skeletal muscle echo intensity and thickness in relation to glucose homeostasis in healthy and glucose impaired older males. Exp Geronol; Epub Oct 15, 154: 111547. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2021.111547.

Paris MT, Bell KE, Avrutin E & Mourtzakis M (2021). Older males exhibit reduced anterior upper leg and anterior abdominal muscle thickness compared to younger males when matched for relative appendicular lean tissue. Arch Gerontol Geriatr; Epub Sep-Oct, 96: 104483. doi:10.1016/j.archger.2021.104483.

Paris M*, Bell KE*, & Mourtzakis M (2020). The potential roles of key myokines and adipokines in sarcopenia. Curr Opin Pharmacol; Epub Jun, 52: 61-66. doi:10.1016/j.coph.2020.06.003.

*Co-first authorship.

Paris M, Bell KE, Avrutin E & Mourtzakis M (2020). Ultrasound image resolution influences analysis of skeletal muscle composition. Clin Physiol Funct Imaging; 40(4): 277-283. doi: 10.1111/cpf.12636.

Nederveen JP, Joanisse S, Thomas A, Snijders T, Bell KE, Manta K, Phillips SM, Kumbhare D & Parise G (2020). Age-related changes to the satellite cell niche are associated with reduced activation following exercise. FASEB J; 34(7): 8975-8989. doi: 10.1096/fj.201900787R.

Bell KE, Schmidt S, Pfeiffer A, Bos L, Earthman C, Russell C & Mourtzakis M (2020). Bioelectrical impedance analysis overestimates fat-free mass in breast cancer patients undergoing treatment. Nutr Clin Pract; 35(6): 1029-1040. doi: 10.1002/ncp.10438.

Bell KE, Fang H, Snijders T, Allison DJ, Zulyniak MA, Chabowski A, Parise G, Phillips SM & Heisz JJ (2019). A multi-ingredient nutritional supplement in combination with resistance exercise and high-intensity exercise training improves cognitive function and increases n-3 index in healthy older men: A randomized controlled trial. Front Aging Neurosci; May 9;11:107. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2019.00107.

Bell KE, Brook MS, Snijders T, Parise G, Smith K, Atherton PJ & Phillips SM (2019). Integrated myofibrillar protein synthesis in recovery from unaccustomed and accustomed resistance exercise with and without multi-ingredient supplementation in overweight older men. Front Nutr; Apr 11;6:40. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2019.00040.

Allison DJ, Nederveen JP, Snijders T, Bell KE, Kumbhare D, Phillips SM, Parise G & Heisz JJ (2019). Exercise training impacts skeletal muscle gene expression related to the kynurenine pathway. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol; 316(3): C444-C448. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00448.2018.

Snijders T, Nederveen JP, Bell KE, Lau SW, Mazara N, Kumbhare D, Phillips SM & Parise G (2019). Prolonged exercise training improves the acute type II muscle fibre satellite cell response in healthy older men. J Physiol; 597(1): 105-119. doi: 10.1113/JP276260.

Snijders T, Bell KE, Nederveen JP, Saddler NI, Mazara N, Kumbhare D, Phillips SM & Parise G (2018). Ingestion of a multi-ingredient supplement does not alter exercise-induced satellite cell responses in older men. J Nutr; 148(6): 891-899. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxy063.

Di Sebastiano DM, Bell KE, Mitchell AS, Quadrilatero J, Dubin JA & Mourtzakis M (2018). Glucose metabolism during the acute prostate cancer treatment trajectory: The influence of age and obesity. Clin Nutr; 37(1): 195-203. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2016.11.024.

Bell KE, Snijders, T, Zulyniak M, Kumbhare D, Parise G, Chabowski A, & Phillips SM (2018). A multi-ingredient nutritional supplement enhances exercise training-related reductions in markers of systemic inflammation in healthy older men. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab; 43(3): 299-302. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2017-0533.

Bell KE, Snijders, T, Zulyniak M, Kumbhare D, Parise G, Chabowski A, & Phillips SM (2017). A whey protein-based multi-ingredient nutritional supplement stimulates gains in lean body mass and strength in healthy older men: A randomized controlled trial. PLOS ONE; 12(7): e0181387. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0181387.

Bell KE, von Allmen MT, Devries MC & Phillips SM (2016). Muscle disuse as a pivotal problem in sarcopenia-related muscle loss and dysfunction. J Frailty Aging; 5(1): 33-41. doi: 10.14283/jfa.2016.78.

Nederveen JP, Joanisse S, Séguin CML, Bell KE, Baker S, Phillips S & Parise G (2015). The effect of various modes of exercise on the acute response of satellite cells in old men. Acta Physiol; 215(4): 177-190. doi: 10.1111/apha.12601.

Oikawa SY, Bell KE & Hector AJ (2015). Comment on: The effects of resistance exercise training upon macro- and micro-circulatory responses to feeding and skeletal muscle protein anabolism, in older men. J Physiol; 593(17): 3771-2. doi: 10.1113/JP270969.

Bell KE, Séguin C, Parise G, Baker S & Phillips SM. Day-to-day changes in muscle protein synthesis in recovery from resistance, aerobic, and high-intensity interval exercise in older men. J Gerontol A Med Sci; 70(8): 1024-9. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glu313.

Barnes T, Bell K, Di Sebastiano KM, Vance V, Hanning R, Russell C, Dubin JA, Bahl M, Califaretti N, Campbell C, Mourtzakis M (2014). Plasma amino acid profiles of breast cancer patients early in the trajectory of the disease differ from healthy comparison groups. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab, Jun;39(6):740-4. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2013-0526.

Bell KE, Di Sebastiano KM, Vance V, Hanning R, Mitchell A, Quadrilatero J, Russell C, Dubin JA, Bahl M, Califaretti N, Campbell C & Mourtzakis M (2014). A comprehensive metabolic evaluation reveals impaired glucose metabolism and dyslipidemia in breast cancer patients early in the disease trajectory (2014). Clin Nutr, Jun;33(3):550-7. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2013.08.001.

Di Sebastiano KM, Bell KE, Barnes T, Weeraratne A, Premji T & Mourtzakis M (2013). Glutamate supplementation is associated with improved glucose metabolism following carbohydrate ingestion in healthy males. Br J Nutr, Dec;110(12):2165-72. doi: 10.1017/S0007114513001633.

Bell KE, Bedbrook M, Nguyen T-T & Mourtzakis M (2012). The facemask produces higher peak minute ventilation and respiratory rate measurements compared to the mouthpiece. J Sports Sci Med, 11(3): 564-566. PMID: 24137074.

Degree Specialty University Year
Postdoctoral Fellowship Kinesiology University of Waterloo 2021
PhD Kinesiology McMaster University 2017
MSc Kinesiology University of Waterloo 2012
BSc Biology McMaster University 2010
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McMaster University - Faculty of Science | Kinesiology