Director, Professional Studies | Associate Professor, Kinesiology
Dennis Koch, PhD completed his undergraduate studies in Biology at Canisius University, with intentions of becoming a medical doctor. However, by the end of his junior year, he began to realize that medicine was not his calling. His love of sports, and running in particular, led him to pursue an exercise science minor, under the tutelage of Dr. Khalid Bibi. This sparked a passion that led him to pursue his doctorate in Physiology at Pennsylvania State University. He was awarded a graduate fellowship from the National Institute of Health to study the effects of stress on physiology at Penn State's Noll Physiological Research Center. In his doctoral research, Dr. Koch examined on the effects of age on the regulation of blood flow to exercising muscles, and his dissertation focused specifically on the control of blood flow by the sympathetic nervous system. In the Spring of 2004, Dennis was awarded a Caroline tum Suden award for outstanding student research by the American Physiological Society at the annual FASEB meeting.
Koch has co-authored several abstracts and manuscripts. He has been published in The Journal of Physiology, The Journal of Applied Physiology, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, The Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology, The American Journal of Physiology, and Adultspan. Dr. Koch collaborated with Bibi to co-author a chapter entitled "Metabolic Calculations" in ACSM's Certification Review, Third Edition, which was published in the spring 2009. This textbook was used by students pursuing certification as a Certified Health Fitness Specialist (CHFS) or a Clinical Exercise Scientist (CES) through the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). In 2009, more than 7,000 copies of the book were sold. More recently, he has shifted his research focus, and is now studying the neuromuscular junction in a collaboration with the University at Buffalo, where he holds an appointment as a Research Associate Professor. His most recent publication, examining the role of glutamate receptors in regeneration of functional neuromuscular junctions following peripheral nerve injury, was published in the Frontiers of Cellular Neuroscience in September 2022. His current project is examining the role of a gene called NANOG on skeletal muscle, which may pave the way for helping us to understand why in early development, neurons are able to appropriately connect with skeletal muscles to produce functional neuromuscular junctions, but these connections are much more difficult to form in adulthood, often leading to permanent disability in individuals with peripheral nerve damage.
Koch has been a faculty member at Canisius University since Fall 2004, and has directed the Health and Human Performance program since Fall 2006. At the MS level, he teaches courses in Epidemiology and Health Promotion, Research Methods, Electrocardiography and Stress Testing, and Exercise Physiology. He also teaches an undergraduate course and lab in Exercise Physiology, and he began sharing his expertise with the Biology department in Fall 2018, teaching physiology courses to undergraduate students. He is passionate about teaching students about how the body works, about how to keep the body healthy through exercise, proper nutrition, and healthy lifestyle choices, and on how to apply this knowledge to maintain or restore health.
Outside of work, Koch is married and has 2 children. He loves hiking, kayaking, canoeing, camping, backpacking, trail running, and cycling (anything to get out in nature, especially if there are mountains involved). He also enjoys ice hockey and photography. He was a competitive runner, cyclist, and triathlete for many years, and still considers himself an endurance athlete at heart, even though he is not actively racing and competing.