Dr. Jonathan Smirl - Concussion Researcher
Jonathan D. Smirl
Post-Doctoral Fellow
in the Sports
Concussion Reseach Lab
at UBC Okangan
I completed my BSc (Biology) at the University of Victoria in 2005. After taking a few years away from academia to pursue triathlon and travel interests, I relocated to Kelowna to pursue my MSc (2011) and received the prestigious Killiam Pre-Doctoral Award during my PhD (2015) at the University of British Columbia.

The main focus of my research throughout my graduate degrees was to investigate how the brain is able to regulate it's blood flow, a process typically refered to as cerebral autoregulation. My research involved investigating cerebral blood flow regulation: in younger (19-30) and older (65-80) year old adults both at rest and during cycling exercise; in long-term heart transplant recipients (up to 23 years post-transplant); the effects of increases cerebrovascular resistance; and at high-altitude (5050 m - near Mt. Everest base camp).

Since, completing my PhD I have used the knowledge gained from these studies to investigate the acute and chronic effects of both concussive and sub-concussive impacts on brain blood flow regulation in the Sports Concussion Lab at UBCO.   
Favourite quote: 

"The only place where you find success before work is in the dictionary"
~Vince Lombardi         

Research Interests

The main focus of my research is to investigate how cerebral blood flow regulation is affected by concussions.

My collaborators and I aim to address this question by examining the acute effects of concussive impacts (with comparisons to baseline measures on the same individual) and chronic effects of concussions (via assessing the previous history of concussions in athletes).

We also examine the effects of subconcussive impacts across a competitive season and during an acute bout of soccer heading. Our research group also is working with Helios Global Technologies to develop a new helmet liner material that may help reduce the effects of head impacts.

Family Life

The most important and endearing role in my life is that of being a loving husband to my fantastic and extremely hard-working wife, Shannon, and being a supportive father to Piper our precious daughter.
Dr. Jonathan Smirl - Concussion Researcher

Community Involvement

When I am not collecting data in the lab or spending quality time with my family,  I am probably around some form of water.

Since arriving in Kelowna in 2008, I have been actively involved in the aquatics community. I have spent a lot of time on the deck at H2O Adventure and Fitness coaching either the Okanagan Masters or Ogopogo Summer Swim Clubs . I also co-founded the Ogopogo Youth Triathlon Club , which provides a FUN introduction for kids to get into the sport of triathlon. Last but not least, is my role as the starter of the across the lake swim . This race is the largest and longest running open water race in Canada. The event proceeds are used to provide a set of swim lessons for EVERY grade 3 student from Peachland to Lake Country.
  1. Prof. Paul van Donkelaar
    Prof. Paul van Donkelaar
    Post-Doctoral Supervisor Director of the School of Health and Exercise Sciences for UBC Okanagan Director of the Sports Concussion Research Lab at UBC Okanagan paul.vandonkelaar@ubc.ca
  2. Dr. Shieak Tzeng
    Dr. Shieak Tzeng
    PhD Mentor Director for the Centre for Translational Physiology at the University of Otago, Wellington New Zealand shieak.tzeng@otago.ac.nz
  3. Prof. Damian Bailey
    Prof. Damian Bailey
    PhD Mentor Research Unit Leader and Director of the Research Institute of Health & Wellbeing University of South Wales, UK damian.bailey@southwales.ac.uk
  4. Prof. Philip N. Ainslie
    Prof. Philip N. Ainslie
    PhD and MSc Supervisor Co-Director, Centre for Heart, Lung and Vascular Health Canada Research Chair in Cerebrovascular Physiology philip.ainslie@ubc.ca
  5. Prof. Patrick Neary
    Prof. Patrick Neary
    Collaborator in Cerebrovascular Research Studies Full Professor of Kinesiology University of Regina, Sask, Canada patrice.brassard@kin.ulaval.ca
  6. Dr. Patrice Brassard
    Dr. Patrice Brassard
    Collaborator in Cerebrovascular Research Studies Associate Professor of Kinesiology University of Laval, Quebec, Canada patrice.brassard@kin.ulaval.ca
  7. Alexander D. Wright
    Alexander D. Wright
    MD/PhD Vanier Scholar Colleague and key cerebrovascular physiology collaborator in the Sports Concussion Research Lab at UBC Okanagan adwright@alumni.ubc.ca
  8. Prof. Mark Haykowsky
    Prof. Mark Haykowsky
    Professor and the Inaugural Moritz Chair in Geriatrics in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation The University of Texas at Arlington mark.haykowsky@uta.edu

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Funding Agencies