Section: Overview
Overview
Key publications
Research funding
Supervising & teaching
Career

Key details

Areas of expertise

  • Muscle and Exercise Physiology
  • Human physiology
  • Human exercise physiology; potassium and electrolytes
  • Skeletal muscle sodium-potassium-ATPase
  • Potassium regulation

Available to supervise research students

Available for media queries

About Michael McKenna

Professor Michael McKenna is the Executive Director of the Institute for Health & Exercise, one of two flagship research institutes at Victoria University. The Institute was formed through the amalgamation of the Institute of Sport, Exercise & Active Living (ISEAL) (of which Michael was Director) and the Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention & Management. The Institute he leads has 115 research staff and 250 PhD students. 

Michael has an internationally recognised track record in muscle and exercise physiology, through integrative human physiology research, specialising in potassium, sodium and calcium regulation in skeletal muscle and blood with exercise in humans. This has largely focused on muscle function, fatigue, adaptability with training, ageing and inactivity, exercise limitations in chronic disease including in chronic kidney failure, lung transplants and osteoarthritis. He has investigated molecular and contractile regulation in single muscle cells in humans, in muscle biopsies obtained from young and older adults.

Career research highlights include:

  • funding includes $6.6M as a Chief Investigator
  • publications include 110 journal articles and 10 book chapters, most as first or senior author
  • an h-index of 39 and 3960 citations (Scopus)
  • successful completions of 20 PhD students and 7 Master of Applied Science students.
  • He was the Inaugural Chairman (2005-) of the MyoNaK international research interest group investigating sodium/potassium regulation in heart and muscle, comprising around ~70 scientists, including many world leaders in their field.

In the past 5 years, in addition to his Director roles, he has won $2.4 million in research funding as a Chief Investigator, published 25 journal articles, supervised 2 postdoctoral fellows and 5 PhD students to completion. 

Michael was the recipient of 2010 Vice-Chancellor’s Peak Award for Outstanding Service to Victoria University “For establishing VU at the national forefront of sport and exercise science through conceptualising, initiating, leading and managing research and teaching infrastructure”.

In 2016 he was awarded the VU Centenary Medal “for pioneering work in establishing VU research at the Western Bulldogs”.

Qualifications

  • PhD, University of Melbourne, Australia, 1991
  • BSc (Hons), University of Melbourne, Australia, 1982
  • Dip Ed, University of Melbourne, Australia, 1983
  • MSc, University of Melbourne, Australia, 1986

Key publications

Year Citation
2018 Atanasovska, T., Smith, R., Graff, C., Tran, C. T., Melgaard, J., Kanters, J. K., Petersen, A. C., Tobin, A., Kjeldsen, K. P., & McKenna, M. J. (180510). Protection against severe hypokalemia but impaired cardiac repolarization after intense rowing exercise in healthy humans receiving salbutamol. Journal of Applied Physiology, 125(2), (624-633).

doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00680.2017

2017 Wyckelsma, V. L., Levinger, I., Murphy, R. M., Petersen, A. C., Perry, B. D., Hedges, C. P., Anderson, M. J., & McKenna, M. J. (170401). Intense interval training in healthy older adults increases skeletal muscle [3H]ouabain-binding site content and elevates Na+,K+-ATPase 2 isoform abundance in Type II fibers. Physiological Reports, 5(7),

doi: 10.14814/phy2.13219

2016 Altarawneh, M. M., Petersen, A., Smith, R., Rouffet, D. M., Billaut, F., Perry, B. D., Wyckelsma, V. L., Tobin, A., & McKenna, M. J. (161201). Salbutamol effects on systemic potassium dynamics during and following intense continuous and intermittent exercise. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 116(11-12), (2389-2399).

doi: 10.1007/s00421-016-3481-0

2016 Perry, B. D., Wyckelsma, V. L., Murphy, R. M., Steward, C. H., Anderson, M., Levinger, I., Petersen, A. C., & McKenna, M. J. (161101). Dissociation between short-Term unloading and resistance training effects on skeletal muscle Na+,K+-ATPase, muscle function, and fatigue in humans. Journal of Applied Physiology, 121(5), (1074-1086).

doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00558.2016

2015 Perry, B. D., Levinger, P., Morris, H. G., Petersen, A. C., Garnham, A. P., Levinger, I., & McKenna, M. J. (150101). The effects of knee injury on skeletal muscle function, Na + , K + -ATPase content, and isoform abundance. Physiological Reports, 3(2),

doi: 10.14814/phy2.12294

2014 Atanasovska, T., Petersen, A. C., Rouffet, D. M., Billaut, F., Ng, I., & McKenna, M. J. (140701). Plasma K- Dynamics and implications during and following intense rowing exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology, 117(1), (60-68).

doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01027.2013

2014 Lamboley, C. R., Murphy, R. M., Mckenna, M. J., & Lamb, G. D. (140315). Sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ uptake and leak properties, and SERCA isoform expression, in type I and type II fibres of human skeletal muscle. Journal of Physiology, 592(6), (1381-1395).

doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2013.269373

2013 Perry, B. D., Levinger, P., Serpiello, F. R., Caldow, M. K., Cameron-Smith, D., Bartlett, J. R., Feller, J. A., Bergman, N. R., Levinger, I., & McKenna, M. J. (131115). The effects of osteoarthritis and age on skeletal muscle strength, Na+-K+-ATPase content, gene and isoform expression. Journal of Applied Physiology, 115(10), (1443-1449).

doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00789.2013

2012 Williams, T. J., & McKenna, M. J. (120701). Exercise limitation following transplantation. Comprehensive Physiology, 2(3), (1937-1979).

doi: 10.1002/cphy.c110021

2008 McKenna, M. J., Bangsbo, J., & Renaud, J. M. (080101). Muscle K+, Na+, and Cl- disturbances and Na+-K+ pump inactivation: Implications for fatigue. Journal of Applied Physiology, 104(1), (288-295).

doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01037.2007

Research funding for the past 5 years

Please note:

  • Funding is ordered by the year the project commenced and may continue over several years.
  • Funding amounts for contact research are not disclosed to maintain commercial confidentiality.
  • The order of investigators is not indicative of the role they played in the research project.

Benchmark State Netball and Hockey Centre sporting facilities and training services.
From: Major Projects Victoria
Investigators: Aspr Camilla Brockett, Prof Andrew Stewart, Dr Damian Farrow
For period: 2016-2017
Not disclosed

Maribyrnong Sports Academy - Sport Scientist
From: Maribyrnong College - Maribyrnong Sports Academy
Investigators: Dr Damian Farrow, Dr Paul Larkin
For period: 2015-2020
$235,000
Joint Appointment of Prof of Sport Biomechanics - Schedule 26
From: Australian Sports Commission (ASC)
Investigators: Dr Damian Farrow
For period: 2015-2020
$619,930
Molecular basis of Ca2+-dependent disruption of EC-coupling and weakness in skeletal muscle
From: NHMRC (Non-Lead Org)
For period: 2015-2017
$138,203

Discovering the role of pH in regulating mitochondrial biogenesis, so as to improve the design of preventative programs aimed at healthy ageing
From: ARC - Discovery
Investigators: Prof David Bishop
For period: 2014-2016
$377,446

2014 - 2017 Sport Science Research and Knowledge Exchange Collaboration
From: Western Bulldogs
Investigators: Prof Warren Payne
For period: 2013-2017
$1,148,000
VU/ISEAL Fitness Industry Research Project.
From: Fitness Australia Limited
For period: 2013-2016
$159,000
Physiological and pathological effects of oxidation on contractile function in skeletal muscle
From: NHMRC - Projects
For period: 2013-2016
$228,428

Research Appointment of Dr Damian Farrow , Professor in Sport Science - Strategic Partnership Agreement between Australian Sports Commission
From: Australian Sports Commission (ASC)
Investigators: Aspr Dennis Hemphill, Prof Hans Westerbeek, Dr Damian Farrow
For period: 2010-2016
Not disclosed

Supervision of research students at VU

Available to supervise research students

Available for media queries

Currently supervised research students at VU

No. of students Study level Role
1 PhD Principal supervisor

Currently supervised research students at VU

Students & level Role
PhD (1) Principal supervisor

Completed supervision of research students at VU

No. of students Study level Role
13 PhD Principal supervisor
3 PhD Associate supervisor
3 Masters by Research Principal supervisor

Completed supervision of research students at VU

Students & level Role
PhD (13) Principal supervisor
PhD (3) Associate supervisor
Masters by Research (3) Principal supervisor

Other supervision of research students

Supervision of research students at VU - 14 PhD Principal supervisor - 4 PhD Associate supervisor - 4 Masters by Research, Principal supervisor - 2 Masters by Research, Associate supervisor). Completed supervision of research students at University of Melbourne - 1 PhD Co-supervisor. Completed supervision of research students at University of Sydney - 1 PhD Co-supervisor - 1 Masters by Research, Principal supervisor.

Key academic roles

Dates Role Department / Organisation
Jan 2018 - Jan 2019
Executive Director, Institute for Health and Sport
Victoria University
Sep 2012 - Dec 2017
Director, Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL)
Victoria University
Apr 2017 - Dec 2019
Guest Professor
Guangzhou Sport University, Guangzhou, China
Jan 2006 - Dec 2019
Professor in Muscle and Exercise Physiology (Continuing position)
Victoria University
Jan 2010 - Aug 2012
Research Director Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL)
Victoria University
Show more academic roles
Dates Role & Department/Organisation
Jan 2018 -
Jan 2019
Executive Director, Institute for Health and Sport
Victoria University
Sep 2012 -
Dec 2017
Director, Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL)
Victoria University
Apr 2017 -
Dec 2019
Guest Professor
Guangzhou Sport University, Guangzhou, China
Jan 2006 -
Dec 2019
Professor in Muscle and Exercise Physiology (Continuing position)
Victoria University
Jan 2010 -
Aug 2012
Research Director Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL)
Victoria University
Show more academic roles

Professional memberships

  • Member, Australian Physiological Society
  • Member, The American Physiology Society
  • Member, American College of Sports Medicine
  • Member, Exercise Sport Science Australia
  • Inaugural Chair and Co-Founder, Potassium sodium and the function of heart and skeletal muscle