March 20, 2024

World-class kinesiology research facility coming to the University of Calgary

$20-million donation from the Taylor Family Foundation will advance game-changing human performance, movement and sport science research
A woman wearing a lab coat and glasses smiles at the camera while another works out behind her
Jenny Zhang, in the foreground, is a PhD student in the Faculty of Kinesiology; Rachel Ghitter trains on a bike in the background. Marnie Jazwicki, University of Calgary

The University of Calgary will soon be home to one of the most advanced post-secondary research facilities dedicated for the study of human performance, movement and sport science, thanks to an extraordinary $20-million gift from the Taylor Family Foundation.

The Taylor Family Kinesiology Building will take UCalgary from one of the top sport science schools in North America to an international leader, with a state-of-the-art research facility that will enable revolutionary advancements in exercise physiology, neuroscience, nutrition and more. This extensive project will also revitalize existing spaces to improve labs and offices, enabling growth to undergraduate enrolment and drawing top scholars to the city — further strengthening excellence in both teaching and research.

“The Faculty of Kinesiology has already earned a place among the top sport science schools in North America, and the time has come to expand its potential,” says Dr. Ed McCauley, PhD, UCalgary president and vice-chancellor. “The Taylor Family’s long-standing support and vision has truly helped make the extraordinary possible at UCalgary, and we look forward to opening this iconic new facility to further our leadership in human movement, sport, recreation and wellness.”

The new gift makes the Taylor Family the largest individual donor to the University of Calgary, with their support over the years totalling more than $100 million.

Don Taylor, OC, Hon. LLD’07, has supported the Faculty of Kinesiology since 1997, when he funded the Dr. Benno Nigg Chair in Biomechanics, Mobility and Longevity — named for the founder of UCalgary’s Human Performance Lab, with whom Taylor formed a deep friendship.

“Witnessing the faculty’s growth and increasing standing on the world stage over the years is inspiring. I’m thrilled by its success,” says Taylor. “Looking to the future, this new investment in the faculty just makes sense.”

Celebrating the donation, from left: Ed McCauley, Don and Ruth Taylor, Benno Nigg and Nick Holt.

Celebrating the donation, from left: Ed McCauley, Don and Ruth Taylor, Benno Nigg and Nick Holt.

Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

The facility will boast 25,000 square feet dedicated to world-class kinesiology teaching and research — and a new home for the Human Performance Lab — a multidisciplinary centre that explores mobility and longevity. The expanded space will accelerate what is possible with an impressive breadth of equipment, with hundreds of pieces ranging from multiphoton microscopes and cell incubators to motion-capture systems and instrumented treadmills.

“We are set to be a global leader for decades to come with this new facility,” says Dr. Nick Holt, PhD, dean of the Faculty of Kinesiology. “Building upon our world-renowned excellence, we look forward to preparing more leaders in research and industry and accelerating collaborations with leading companies around the world.”

The Faculty of Kinesiology has earned a reputation for excellence that is due in part to the legacy of the 1988 Winter Olympics. Building on this foundation and a commitment to transdisciplinary research, the faculty has continued to climb in rankings over the decades. UCalgary faculty, researchers and students have consistently led the way in their fields, but the dated and over-capacity spaces are beginning to limit advances. This new facility will empower the promising and impactful work of students and researchers, including:

A man stands with a laptop in his hands while a runner stretches behind him

Bill Wannop explores human movement through motion capture.

Marnie Jazwicki, University of Calgary

Precision athletic equipment

Biomechanics captured Dr. Bill Wannop’s interest when he served as a lab assistant in the HPL as an undergraduate student at UCalgary.

Wannop, BKin’06, PhD’12, now supervises his own students who conduct research to maximize athletes’ performance by precision-tuning equipment, matching footwear to individual athletes and refining sport surfaces — including turf used by the Canadian and National Football Leagues — to minimize injury.

Injury prevention in sport

Dr. Carolyn Emery, MSc’99, PhD, is a driving force behind UCalgary’s top-five standing in concussion and injury prevention research worldwide. She is a chair of UCalgary's Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre (SIPRC), one of 11 International Olympic Committee Research Centres in Prevention of Injury and Protection of Athlete Health in the world.

She leads the SHRed Concussions project, a multi-year, pan-Canadian endeavour funded by the National Football League’s Scientific Advisory Board Play Smart Play Safe program. This study will increase understanding of the burden of concussions and how to best prevent and manage concussions in adolescent athletes.

A woman stands in front of a bus

Carolyn Emery and the SHRed Mobile travel to gather concussion data.

Marnie Jazwicki, University of Calgary

A woman works in a lab

Raylene Reimer explores how nutrition can affect chronic disease.

Marnie Jazwicki, University of Calgary

Innovations in nutrition

Dr. Raylene Reimer, PhD, and her team explore how nutrition can prevent and treat chronic disease. Reimer, a registered dietitian, is a world-leading researcher who has made pioneering discoveries in the ways that prebiotics can help prevent and treat metabolic diseases across the lifespan. Human clinical studies are exploring whether prebiotics can improve the gut microbiome and disease-management in children and young adults with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes, and whether prebiotics can reduce pain and improve physical function in adults with knee osteoarthritis and obesity. In her innovative new research, she is studying how nutrition and the gut microbiome can be used to improve athletic performance.

Discoveries for muscular diseases

A woman in a hijab works in a lab

Nada Abu Ghazaleh, MSc’14, PhD candidate in Biomedical Engineering, working within Walter Herzog’s lab.

Marnie Jazwicki, University of Calgary

Dr. Walter Herzog, PhD, current co-director of the HPL, is a pioneer in neuro-biomechanics of the muscular-skeletal system and has contributed to our foundational understanding of the mechanics of muscle contraction.

A man in glasses and blazer smiles at the camera

Walter Herzog, a pioneer in neuro-biomechanics of the muscular-skeletal system.

Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

His research team discovered that a structural protein, titin, is implicated in muscle-force regulation and is exploring how it may affect cells in people with muscular diseases. This discovery is a game-changer and is giving hope to people living with bone, joint and muscular diseases.

The new Taylor Family Kinesiology Building will accelerate this kind of research and more — making an impact for people and communities here and around the world.





Learn more about the new Taylor Family Kinesiology Building and the impact of the Taylor Family's philanthropy at UCalgary.

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