Texas Tech University

Eric Rivas, Ph.D.


Researcher: Eric Rivas, Ph.D.

Title: Assistant Professor in Exercise Physiology

Laboratory: Room 109, Exercise & Thermal Integrative Physiology Laboratory




Personal Statement

Dr. Rivas is an exercise and thermal physiologist. He utilizes an integrative physiological approach to study how exercise and environmental temperatures affect health in populations with metabolic dysfunction, such as obesity, diabetes and severely burn-injured adults and children. His doctoral training involved an American Heart Association predoctoral fellowship in the Thermal and Vascular Physiology Laboratory at the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine and the University of Texas Southwest Medical Center at Dallas. Before joining TTU, he completed postdoc fellowships in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California Irvine (National Institute of Health T32 postdoctoral fellowship focused on Exercise and Rehabilitation Medicine in pediatric exercise physiology and obesity), and another in the Department of Surgery at University of Texas Medical Branch and Shriners Hospitals for Children Galveston (Diversity Supplement funded by Eunice Kennedy Institute of Child Health and Human Development and NRSA F32 funded by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute) where he studied temperature regulation and cardiovascular responses, during rest and exercise in children with severe burn injury. At Texas Tech University, his research agenda aims to continue clinically relevant translational research and conduct high-quality independent research that is focused on cardiovascular physiology and develop a successful extramurally funded program to support his research objectives.

Application of Expertise to Health Disparity Research

Dr. Rivas is a current scholar (cohort 6) in the Program to Increase Diversity in Cardiovascular Health-Related Research (PRIDE-CVD) sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, which aims to support minority scientist that focus on addressing health disparities research. The primary focus of his laboratory will address cardiovascular and metabolic disease health disparities among Hispanic populations. The approach will involve short and long-term nutrition, exercise, and heat therapy interventions which will understand the mechanisms of improving vascular and metabolic health in Hispanics. The second focus of his laboratory is to understand how temperature regulation is affected in vulnerable populations (i.e., aging, obesity, diabetes, and sickle cell anemia) that may have an increased risk for heat related injury. The third focus is student research involvement, particularly training minority students.

Laboratory Skills and Capabilities

  • Darwin Environmental chamber: 12x14x11 room with the capabilities to control for temperature and humidity (5C to 45C; 10% to 95% humidity) for heat and cold exposure studies during rest or exercise.
  • Water perfusion suits: tube lined suits for increasing or decreasing body temperature
  • Internal body and skin temperature system with wireless temperature pill.
  • Capacitance hygrometer system: sweat rate monitoring
  • AD Instruments data acquisition: continuous data recording of cardiovascular and temperature measurements
  • Muscle sympathetic nerve activity: recording capabilities during rest and exercise
  • ActiGraph GT3X physical activity monitors
  • Perimed and Moors Laser Doppler system: measurement of skin blood flow
  • Hokanson Plethysmography system: measurement of limb blood flow
  • Microdialysis system: mechanistic study of microvascular function
  • GE Logiq Doppler ultrasound: assessment of cardiac and vascular function test and brain blood flow
  • Finapres: beat to beat arterial blood pressure monitoring
  • SphygmoCor: measurements of central blood pressure pulse wave analysis and pulse wave velocity
  • Indirect calorimetry, MOXUS Modular Metabolic System: oxygen uptake during exercise and resting energy expenditure
  • Respiratory mass spectrometer: measurement of cardiac output and stroke volume during rest and exercise

Department of Kinesiology & Sport Management

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    Box 43011, Texas Tech University, 2500 Broadway, Lubbock, TX 79409
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