Professor in Environmental physiology
Environmental physiology is often associated with the ability of humans to operate in extreme environments. Examples include flying, diving and expeditions in Arctic, tropical or desert climates. The physiological functions that are put to the test in such environments are generally also of fundamental importance in more trivial, everyday contexts. In environmental physiology research, people are therefore often exposed to some form of physical strain in order to reveal the underlying mechanisms behind normal physiological functions. Examples of the research tools used to produce these strains include pressure chambers, climate chambers and human centrifuges.
Ola Eiken and his research group mainly investigate basic physiological responses to increased and reduced gravity, high and low ambient pressure and high and low ambient temperatures. The research is mainly based on experiments carried out on healthy people. The functions that are studied relate to circulation, respiration, muscles, bones, balance and temperature regulation. The group also conducts more practical research regarding the development of different types of countermeasures and safety equipment which can be used in extreme environments, such as G-suits and breathing apparatus.