Gordon Giesbrecht, PhD
Professor, BPE/KIN Program
210 Active Living Centre | Lab: 211 Max Bell Centre
Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3T 2N2


  • 1985 B.P.E. University of Manitoba
  • 1986 M.P.E. University of Manitoba
  • 1990 Ph.D. University of Manitoba, Dept. of Medicine
  • 1991 Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Calgary
  • 2010 B.Th., Horizon College & Seminary

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Recent Research:

Cold Water Bootcamp: Knowledge Translation (PDF)

Research Interests:

Dr. Giesbrecht operates the Laboratory for Exercise and Environmental Medicine where he studies human responses to exercise/work in extreme environments. He has conducted hundreds of cold water immersion studies that have provided valuable information about cold stress physiology and pre-hospital care for human hypothermia. Other research interests include human physical and mental performance in other stresses such as altitude (hypoxia) and diving (hypobaria).

Research Key Words:

Physiology, exercise, thermoregulation, thermal stress, environmental stress, vehicle safety, vehicle submersion, cold exposure, hypothermia, drowning

Courses Taught:

  • KIN/PHED 3470 - Exercise Physiology 1
  • PERS 1500 – Foundations of Physical Education and Kinesiology
  • 57.709 – Research and Quantitative methods in Physical Education
  • REC 2010 – Measurement and Evaluation of Leisure Services
  • PHED 7160 – Principles of Thermoregulation
  • PHED 3830 - Wilderness Leadership
  • PHED 3840 - Wilderness Skills
  • PHED 3880 - Camping 1
  • PHED 3890 - Winter Camping
  • KIN 3470 Exercise Physiology
  • PHED 7610 Principles of Thermoregulation
  • PERS 7004 Current Research in Physical Activity, Health and Leisure: Physical Aspects

Selected Awards and Honours:

  • 2012 Blair Erb World Congress Award for worldwide impact on wilderness medicine, from the Wilderness Medical Society.
  • 2012 The Ellingson Award for Scientific Writing Achievement within the Associate Fellows Group of the Aerospace Medical Association.
  • 2012 Nominated by students for University 1 Excellence in Teaching Award.
  • 2011 Education and Training Award of the National Search and Rescue Program Awards of Excellence (Canada).
  • 2010 Elected as an Associate Fellow of the Aerospace Medical Association
  • 2009 Canadian Safe Boating Association, Special Recognition Award.

Recent publications:

1. Sran, BJ, GK McDonald, AM Steinman, PF Gardiner and GG Giesbrecht. Comparison of heat donation through the head or torso on mild hypothermia rewarming. Wild Environ Med. 2014; 25;4-13.
2. Brändström Helge, Göran Johansson, Gordon G Giesbrecht, Karl-Axel Angquist, Michael F Haney. Accidental cold-related injury leading to hospitalization in northern Sweden: an eight-year retrospective analysis. Scand J Trauma Resuscitation and Emerg Med (Impact Factor: 1.68). 01/2014; 22(1):6. DOI:10.1186/1757-7241-22-6
3. Henriksson O, Lundgren P, Kulkarni, K, Holmer I, Giesbrecht G, Naredi P, Bjornstig U.  Protection against cold in prehospital care – the effect on thermoregulation by wet clothing removal or addition of a vapour barrier in shivering subjects. Wilderness Environ Med.  In press.
4. Zafren, K, Giesbrecht GG, et al. Wilderness Medical Society Consensus Guidelines for Out-of-hospital Evaluation and Treatment of Accidental Hypothermia. Wild Environ Med. (In Press)
5. Kumar P, McDonald GK, Chitkara R, Steinman AM, Gardiner PF, Giesbrecht GG. Comparison of Distal Limb Warming with Fluidotherapy and Warm Water Immersion. Wilderness Environ Med. (In press)

Current grad students:

Daryl Hurrie (AHS PhD)
Kartik Kulkarni (AHS PhD)
Ramesh Dutta (KRM Msc)

Grant Funding:

2014-17 Shared Treadmill Workstations: Targeting Blood Pressure in Office Workers. Heart and Stroke Foundation Canada. (PI, Danielle Bouchard) $297,000
2014-17 Shared Treadmill Workstations: Innovative Tool to Improve Health in Office Workers. CHIR. (PI, Danielle Bouchard) $397,766
2014-17 Baby It’s Cold Outside (Cross-discipline, multi-media educational video production/instructional program). Govt of Canada, Search and Rescue Secretariat, New Initiatives Fund. (with Ted Rankine, Play Safe Productions) $950,000
2014-15 Breaking down the barriers to ‘wear it’. US Coast Guard, Sport Fishing Registration Program. (with Ted Rankine, Play Safe Productions).    $200,000(not funded)
2012-13 Transcranial Magnetic Stimulator Station $85,032
2011-12 Gov. Can. SAR New Initiatives Fund. Beyond Cold Water Boot Camp (Instructors Manual and teaching aids for Instructors of Beyond Cold Water Boot Camp program) – (with Ted Rankine, Play Safe Productions, primary applicant) $68,000
2011-12 Inanimate model for human drowning in cold water (U of M, URGP) Not funded
2011-16 Cold-induced decrement in voluntary and involuntary muscle activity, and influence of head on thermoregulation and heat transfer. (NSERC Discovery Grant) $135,000
2011-12 Transcranial Magnetic Stimulator Station Not funded
2009-10 National Water Safety Congress, Aquatic Research Trust Fund (US). Beyond Boot Camp (Instructors video package for Cold Water Boot Camp) – (with Ted Rankine, Play Safe Productions, primary applicant). $206,000

Meet Professor Popsicle:

A feature article in Outside Magazine details the work that is being done at the University of Manitoba to save lives by providing information to the general public and professional EMS, and Search and Rescue Agencies.

Cold Water Boot Camp:

Dr. Giesbrecht participated in the creation of a true-life educational project regarding survival in cold water. Volunteer students from across Canada and the US combined real life exposure to cold water and classroom instruction. The video production can be watched on line or a free DVD copy (including instruction materials) can be ordered via the email link on www.coldwaterbootcamp.com.

Discovery Channel Canada Videos (2002):

Dr. Giesbrecht acted as a Cold Weather Columnist for the Discovery Channel Canada. Three educational video presentations were created.

These downloads are for non-commercial, single-user viewing purposes only. No reproduction is permitted.

If you would like to display this material to your group or are interested in purchasing copies of the Discovery Channel Canada Videos (2002), please contact Distribution Access at www.distributionaccess.com.

To save the High Res versions to your computer please right-click (PC) or click and hold (MAC) and choose 'Save As'. The High Res videos are in MPG format.

  1. Cold Water Survival - Strategies for survival if you fall through the ice (High Res - 150 MB) (Low Res - 4.6MB)
  2. You’re Out, Now What? How to survive a night in the forest after losing your snowmobile through the ice  (High Res - 136 MB) (Low Res - 4.2MB)
  3. Getting That Sinking Feeling - The importance of proper outerwear to keep you afloat and alive when snowmobiling (High Res - 123 MB) (Low Res - 3.8MB)

State of Alaska Guidelines for Treatment of Cold Injuries (2003):

Dr. Giesbrecht participated in an expert panel that revised the Cold Injury Guidelines that provide a standard of care for many Emergency Medical Services and Hospital Groups. Download Guidelines (PDF)

Marathons on Ice - Lake Winnipeg 2004:

In January 2004, Dr. Giesbrecht hauled a sled on a solo expedition of Lake Winnipeg that covered 450 kilometers in 26 days.

One Million Steps Winter Research Expedition on Lake Winnipeg (2001):

In February 2001, five men hauled sleds the length of Lake Winnipeg in a Scientific Winter Expedition that covered 450 kilometers in 19 days.

Seminars and Lectures (off campus):
These documents require Acrobat Reader - free at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep.html

Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht

Vehicle Submersion Website

Hypothermia Frostbine and other Cold Injuries

Hypothermia, Frostbite and other Cold Injuries

Authored by Gordon G. Giesbrecht, Ph.D and James A. Wilkerson, MD

cold water bootcamp



Current Graduate Students
Daryl Hurrie (AHS PhD)
Kartik Kulkarni (AHS PhD)
Ramesh Dutta (KRM Msc)