Exercise Physiology; Epidemiology
My research addresses the impact of exercise on cardio-metabolic health outcomes across the lifespan. Most recently, I have been investigating the role of skeletal muscle adaptations and the impact of muscular fitness as an independent predictor of health status as it is linked to both premature mortality and several morbidities across the lifespan. We have recently reported that a simple clinical assessment of muscular strength is a powerful predictor of cardiometabolic risk in children and have identified low thresholds for strength that could be helpful for clinicians. Maintaining strength over time, as we have recently investigated, is critical to guard against the future development of cardiometabolic risk. We have also shown that the muscle’s response to strengthening activities initiates a series of immune system responses that promotes metabolic function indicating the alternative benefits of strengthening activities among those with metabolic dysfunction. I am also an ongoing member of the Genetics and Exercise Research Consortium, I continue to investigate the role that genes play on the adaptive responses to exercise and how these may contribute to a personalized prescriptive approach to optimal health outcomes.
Exercise Physiology; Exercise Nutrition
My research interests involve both the young and old and deal with the effects of resistance exercise and training and/or nutritional intervention on the: 1) the pre- and post-translational mechanisms which govern muscle-specific gene expression, along with up-stream signal transduction pathways that are involved in regulating skeletal muscle gene expression, protein synthesis and subsequent hypertrophy; 2) the oxidative-and inflammation-mediated signaling mechanisms which play a role in up-regulating atrophic-related genes thereby impacting muscle proteolysis and atrophy.
My research interests include the role of exercise, diet and and obesity on risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and inflammation. More specifically, my research topics are focused on the effects of exercise and diet interventions on the responses of atherosclerotic and inflammatory biomarkers by examining plasma lipid and lipoprotein parameters, pro-/anti- inflammatory biomarkers, cell adhesion molecules (CAMs), matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), and tissue inhibitors of MMPs (TIMPs). The current projects examine the effects of high-fat vs. high-carbohydrate on these atherosclerotic and inflammatory biomarkers in obesity.
My research focuses on the human dimensions of natural resource management. Specifically, I have a continuing interest in the meanings recreational visitors ascribe to parks and other protected areas. I use place meaning to refer to the thoughts and feelings people hold for specific settings. The concept provides the foundation for understanding other constructs important to the human-environment relationships (e.g. sense of place and place attachment) and the sustainable management of protected areas (e.g. relationships between various resource uses and recreation users, community stakeholder involvement, and collaborative management). My other research interests include recreation behavior as it relates to the management of parks and other protected areas. I have developed my knowledge of this area through projects related to the enforcement of regulations and laws in parks, management of game species through hunter behavior, and community and stakeholder involvement in the management of publically owned recreation resource areas. Lastly, I have also been involved in projects related to the evaluation of grassroots conservation projects.
My research interests are focused on adverse health behaviors in collegiate student populations. To date I have examined risk factors and motivations associated the prescription medication misuse, energy drink consumption, and hazardous drinking. My primary area of research examines the risk factors and motivations associated with stimulant use (e.g. prescription stimulants, energy drinks) in undergraduate student samples. Currently my research is focused on examining neuroethical and spiritual issues related to stimulant misuse.
Nutrition; Family and Consumer Sciences
My research interests are focused on the promotion of quality nutritional intake, supplements, healthy body weight and composition. A near-term research project will investigate diet quality, body composition and food insecurity in college aged participants. I am also interested in exercise effects on body composition, both weight training and aerobic, coupled with quality nutritional intake including supplementation. My research questions are aimed at determining the beneficial effects of supplementation and exercise and the cumulative effects on body composition. A second project in the planning phase will focus on peri- and post-menopausal women and the effect of leucine and omega3 supplementation combined with a weight training program. The information from this study is designed to further develop hypotheses related to the influence of supplements and response of biomarkers such as cortisol and vitamin D and the role they play in transforming body composition. The overarching goal is to continue to identify the unique contributions of exercise, diet quality and supplementation in improving body composition with or without weight loss.
Nutrition; Family and Consumer Sciences
The focus of my laboratory is on elucidating the relationship between diet, the microbiome and colon cancer etiology. Our goal is to 1) delineate the dietary factors that modify the microbiome and its function, 2) develop microbial multi-omic classifiers that improve stratification of patients for colon cancer treatment, and 3) identify key functional pathways and mechanisms of the microbiota-host communication, including nucleic acid sensing cell receptors that control inflammation. Ultimately, our goal is to discover microbial and metabolic targets for the development of clinical tools to improve treatment and reduce mortality from colon cancer.