Research Associate (Laboratory Research) / Exercise Physiologist - Pediatrics

Date: 11/17/2021

Title: Research Associate (Laboratory Research) / Exercise Physiologist

Department: Pediatrics

School: Medicine

Location: Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital

Supervisor Name and Title: John LeCastre / Manager-Pediatric Heart Center and Zagara Specialty Clinic



The research associate/exercise physiologist (RA/EP) will conduct clinical and research exercise testing and cardiopulmonary exercise testing on pediatric and adult congenital heart patients and apparently healthy patients in The Congenital Heart Collaborative at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. The RA/EP also receives referrals for testing in patients from pediatric pulmonology and sports medicine.  The RA/EP will guide and coordinate all aspects of the exercise lab including scheduling patients, human performance testing, reporting, equipment maintenance, and keep service contracts on all exercise lab equipment. The RA/EP will also help coordinate research related projects and activities within The Congenital Heart Collaborative and other UH and CWRU researchers and PI’s that require the use and expertise of an exercise physiologist and the exercise physiology lab.  The RE/EP will aid in data collection and analysis, abstract and manuscript writing, and aid in the design of research projects where exercise protocols and expertise are needed.

The Pediatric Exercise Lab focuses on cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) in both pediatric and adult populations with congenital heart disease, pulmonary disease, and apparently healthy populations. 

The RA/EP will execute research projects with the aim of understanding how exercise influences health outcomes, disease processes, data interpretation, and the prevention and management of chronic disease states in children, adolescents, and adults. 



Clinical Activity/Services

The exercise laboratory is used for research in exercise physiology and to support adolescent and adults with congenital heart disease using metabolic exercise testing at the cardiac and pulmonary diagnostic center in the Department of Pediatrics at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital. The laboratory facilities are available to outpatients and inpatients to evaluate body composition and exercise performance using the cycle ergometer, supine cycle ergometer, and treadmill. Physical activity guidelines and exercise prescriptions are provided to adolescents and adults in healthy and disease states. The cardiopulmonary exercise tests are routinely performed in adolescents with congenital heart disease or acquired heart disease, and pulmonary disease in order to evaluate:

  • Therapy (e.g. beta blocker)
  • Improvement in cardiorespiratory capacity after exercise prescription or surgical palliation 
  • Risk stratification
  • Evaluate mechanism of intolerance
  • Cardiac versus pulmonary versus conditioning limitations
  • Disability

Also, tests are performed for dynamic investigations of a) cardiac structures during supine cycle ergometry with echocardiography and b) vocal cord function in response to exercise. The facilities are also used to carry out clinical research projects in collaboration with other groups at University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University. The laboratory personnel support research groups in designing specific experimental protocols. The research laboratory has collaborated with the Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Cardiovascular Medicine, Nutrition, Nursing, and General Surgery. 

Research Services

The research activity of the laboratory is focused on the study of metabolic and cardiopulmonary responses to exercise training and testing of both sedentary and athletic populations of apparently healthy children, adolescents, young adults, and older adults in healthy and diseased states in different experimental conditions (normoxia, hypoxia). The research of the group has combined modeling, computer simulation, and in vivo experimentation to quantify relationships between cellular metabolism and physiological responses of tissue-organ systems and the whole body. Primary emphasis is given to investigating the regulation of energy metabolism in cardiac and skeletal muscle.

Under the guidance of a UH and/or CWRU PI, the RA/EP is expected to work independently, assist in designing and planning projects with cardiology fellows, supervise students, and carry out research activities of an assigned project through completion when needed. The RA/EP will also present data and findings at lab and scientific meetings, seminars, and aid in preparing abstracts and manuscripts.  



  1. Conduct maximal exercise testing using respiratory gas analysis on healthy and diseased children and adults in both clinical and research laboratories.  Competent in using, interpreting, and analyzing data on a variety of human performance testing devices including:  Biodex, Bod Pod, skinfold calipers, Medgraphics MGC diagnostics system, Vacu-Med metabolic cart system, Vyaire Vmax metabolic cart system, pulse oximetry, blood pressure monitoring, supine exercise echo exercise testing, patient preparation for metabolic exercise testing, metabolic exercise testing and data interpretation and analysis, formulation of exercise prescription and recommendations related to findings. (60%)


  1. Teach exercise physiology course and concepts to undergraduate and graduate students, cardiology fellows, pulmonary medicine fellows, and sports medicine fellows each semester. (20%)


  1. Additional research duties include: subject recruitment and screening, data collection, coordinate exercise stress testing laboratory, coordinate and help to write grants and IRB protocols as well as research related abstracts and manuscripts for publication with the PI. (10%)
  2. Plan and execute experiments for research projects designed by the principal investigator and may aid in designing experiments in collaboration with the PI. Assist with and coordinate experiments performed by other lab members when applicable, ensuring adequate resources, assisting with experimental design and analysis. (5%)
  3. Maintenance of equipment and troubleshooting skills used for clinical and research exercise physiology lab devices (5%)



  1. Perform other duties as assigned. 



Department: Frequent contact with PI and lab members, may work with other faculty for collaboration of research projects, contact with administrative staff as needed.  This position and the services provided in this lab are utilized by, but not limited to the divisions of pediatric cardiology, adult congenital cardiology, pulmonology, and sports medicine.  The RA/EP works very closely with physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, research staff, and other health care professionals to guide patient care, improve the function and outcomes of both pediatric and adult patients from multiple divisions in the hospital. 


University: Regular/Occasional contact with other labs for collaboration and with other departments as needed The Congenital Heart Collaborative and other UH and CWRU researchers and PI’s that require the use and expertise of an exercise physiologist and the exercise physiology lab.

Students: Fellows, undergraduate, and graduate students participating in exercise physiology rotations/internships The RA/EP will mentor and teach cardiopulmonary exercise testing and exercise physiology related concepts to cardiology, pulmonary, sports medicine fellows, undergraduate and graduate students

Subjects: Research subjects and their parents who participate in research studies



No direct supervisory responsibilities. Will train and provide oversight to lab staff, fellows, and students.



Experience: Minimum of 5 to 8 years of conducting research in a human performance lab/exercise physiology lab or clinical research center is required due to the variety of individual’s and complicated pathophysiology’s we see.  


Education/Licensing: PhD, MD, MS in exercise physiology or related field / American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist or Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist required for this position.




  1. Extensive knowledge, skills, and abilities from ACSM’s Guidelines for Clinical Exercise Testing and Prescription.
  2. Comprehensive knowledge in principles of exercise physiology, functional human anatomy, cardiovascular physiology, and knowledge of the most prevalent congenital heart defects and their physiological consequences and palliative surgical interventions for those defects.
  3. Comprehensive knowledge of how certain congenital defects affect exercise capacity, blood flow, hemodynamics and oxygen uptake kinetics during progressive exercise.
  4. Comprehensive knowledge of operating a stress ecg device, reading and interpreting ECG’s, proficiency in measuring blood pressures in the resting and exercise states, using pulse oximetry and measuring other physiological responses with other devices (such as a non-invasive cardiac output monitor or transcutaneous CO2 monitor) at rest and during exercise in healthy and diseased populations in both pediatrics and adults when needed.
  5. Comprehensive knowledge in using, interpreting, and analyzing data from indirect calorimeters used to measure oxygen uptake, carbon dioxide production and minute ventilation parameters at rest and during exercise. 
  6. Knowledge of Exercise Is Medicine curriculum as it relates to health and disease states and disease management.
  7. Obtains and maintains BLS for adult and pediatric populations.
  8. Emergency procedures related to maximal exercise testing and training in healthy and chronic disease states.
  9. Ability to work independently and to recommend experimental designs for research projects. Ability to communicate effectively with children and parents. Ability to communicate effectively in technical writing in exercise physiology.
  10. Excellent analytical skills; ability to formulate findings and recommendations from the analysis. 
  11. Excellent oral and written communication skills and interpersonal skills; must demonstrate the ability to effectively and professionally communicate and work with various individuals within and external to the University.
  12. Strong organization skills; ability to multi-task, prioritize, and meet deadlines.  Must demonstrate attention to detail and accuracy, time management skills, and follow-through. Must be able to work under pressure and conform to shifting priorities, demands, and timeline.    
  13. Effective leadership skills; ability to lead, train, work with, and elicit cooperation from team members and staff.  
  14. Ability to work effectively independently and collaboratively within a team.  Must be highly motivated, responsible, dependable, and a self-starter. 
  15. Effective problem-solving skills; must demonstrate innovation and creativity, sound judgment, and good decision-making.  
  16. Good computer skills, including database management. Ability to learn new programs as needed (i.e. Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Zoom). 



The working environment includes the exercise laboratory. Having the ability to lift objects of up to 30 lbs may be required at times. Working with and changing compressed gas cylinders for the metabolic cart is required and maintaining safe storage of those cylinders in the lab is also necessary. To my knowledge, no health or physical hazards exist from working in this position.



In employment, as in education, Case Western Reserve University is committed to Equal Opportunity and Diversity.  Women, veterans, members of underrepresented minority groups, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.


Qualified candidates should send their resume to