By Karen Graham
Growing up in Cavan, Brennan had it all. His rural Cavan home, where father Larry operates a Chiropractic Clinic, also provided ponds for summer fishing and winter hockey activities, siblings willing to act as goalies as the need arose, and a cadre of friends to fill out the teams. A gifted athlete, his swift lateral moves on the ice made him a dominant player on a series of Millbrook rep teams, and in the summer he deftly shifted to soccer when not spending time on the water at the family cottage. He also played football on the Crestwood team and during his first year of university at Bishop’s in Lennoxville, Quebec. His good natured, easy going disposition ensured his popularity in school, where his academic performance was always honour-roll level, but not spectacular. It seemed he would follow in the footsteps of his father, who has developed a career allowing an enviable work-life balance that seemed to suit Brennan’s natural gifts.
Once he got started in post-secondary studies, Brennan’s academic aspirations began to show. After his first year of biology studies, he switched to Guelph to avail himself of broader options, and earned an honours degree in Human Kinetics, and that was just the beginning. He continued at Guelph until 2013 where he earned his PhD in Human Health and Nutrition Sciences. Not done with academia, Brennan now works at McMaster University conducting post-doctoral research exploring issues around metabolism, disease prevention through nutrition and activity levels.
This winter, Brennan married Jessica Erskine who has introduced him to a new sport, marathon running, where he continues to demonstrate his athletic ability. In his first competition last year, he missed qualifying for the Boston Marathon by two minutes. Besides providing an activity he can share with Jessica, running gives him the opportunity to clear his head and get away from the lab. He loves his work, and explains that the eureka moments in research often reveal unexpected clues to questions that were not the focus of the hypothesis under investigation, so an open and active mind is a must for this kind of work.
It seems that underneath that carefree exterior lies a determination and commitment to a field of study where he hopes to extend our ability to develop and maintain healthy bodies. We are delighted that he has chosen to share his considerable knowledge with the readers of this paper as he begins a monthly column providing insights on healthy living.