Research Activities in Kinesiology & Health Sciences

In Kinesiology & Health Sciences we like to say that our research interests span from the molecules which make up the human body, to the human body itself, and even out to community-wide populations. Because of the diverse interests of our faculty, our research activities are also wide-spread, but in common is that we all ultimately focus on human health. We have specialists in physiology, anatomy, public health, health ethics, motor learning, nutrition, and biomechanics. Our labs and the research techniques that we employ are state-of-the-art, and as a result, our undergraduate (ours is solely an undergraduate department) research assistants have the opportunity to get first-hand, and first-rate, experiences in sophisticated research activities. Our research procedures allow us to use both animal and human models, as well as community health agencies to investigate our research questions. To learn more, please check out the weblinks below. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you find!

Biomechanics Lab image
Biomechanics Laboratory

The Biomechanics Laboratory is located on the second level of Adair Hall on the main campus of William & Mary. Current biomechanics research investigates the effect of cross-sloped roads on the mechanics of the lower extremity joint motion. Specific focus is on foot, ankle, hip, and pelvic girdle movements as related to muscle injuries. When running on many public roads that have a cross-slope the downslope leg impacts the ground differently than the upslope leg which creates differences in how each leg responds to the stance phase of running.
For more information, contact the lab director, [[rwmcco, Professor McCoy]].

Exercise Physiology image
Human Performance Laboratory

Research in this laboratory is involved in investigating the effects of aging, gender, and disuse in metabolic, cardiovascular, and neuromuscular function.  The Human Performance Laboratory is located in the bottom level of Adair Hall on the main campus of William & Mary.
For more information,contact the lab director, [[mrdesc, Professor Deschenes]].

Cellular and Biochemistry Lab
Cellular and Biochemistry Laboratory

This laboratory focuses on the neuromuscular and neuroendocrine systems. These systems are studied at both the cellular and organismal levels, particularly in response to increased (e.g., exercise) or decreased activity. Recent work includes investigation of the interaction of aging with alterations in physical activity.
For more information, contact the lab director, [[mrdesc, Professor Deschenes]].

Microscopy Laboratory

The laboratory is dedicated to revealing the morphological adaptations of the neuromuscular system ( neuromuscular junctions and muscle fibers) to exercise training and unloading (disuse) in aged and young systems.
For more information, contact the lab director, [[mrdesc, Professor Deschenes]].

MLMC Lab image
Motor Control Laboratory

The major research focus of the motor control laboratory is primarily in the area of motor imagery and in the area of hemispheric communication.  For example, in the motor control laboratory, experiments are designed to better understand the relationship between motor imagery and motor control. We are building on the postulate that while motor imagery and motor control can affect  each other they do not cognitively represent each other. We also conduct experiments on the behavioral manifestations of hemispheric communication. Our preliminary data indicates that hemispheres inhibit each other during response initiation and during the execution of very simple responses. However, in some situations the hemispheres seem to cooperate with each other during the execution of more complex responses.
For more information, contact the lab director, [[rmkohl, Professor Kohl]].

MCP Lab image
Molecular and Cardiovascular Physiology Laboratory

The major focus of this laboratory is on exercise-induced changes in cardiac and vascular function related to changes in molecular mechanisms regulating heat shock proteins and nitric oxide synthases. Physical inactivity (as with hypertension, smoking, and high cholesterol) is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease and the most prevalent of the four. Although exercise has been shown to provide a protective effect against high blood pressure and the development of atherosclerosis, the mechanism of this effect is unknown. In addition, while it is apparent that both nitric oxide synthases (NOS) and stress proteins play an important role in cardioprotection and vascular function, little is known about exercise-induced changes in NOS and/or stress protein expression in the vasculature. Using models of exercise and various disease states, this laboratory can evaluate exercise-induced changes in gene and protein expression in the cardiovascular system and examine their role in preventing endothelial dysfunction in aging, hypertension, diabetes, and ischemia/reperfusion.
For more information, contact the lab director, [[mbharr, Professor Harris]].

Vascular Physiology Lab image
Vascular Physiology Laboratory

Research in this lab focuses on the function of arteries in normal and diseased states. The research group is particularly interested in the role of gap junctions (channels that connect the interiors of neighboring cells) in vascular function, and how the function of these channels is altered in those with risk factors for cardiovascular disease and during the process of vascular remodeling.
For more information, contact the lab director, [[rlooft, Professor Looft-Wilson]].

JBARF Lab image
The Jack Borgenicht Altitude Research Facility

The Jack Borgenicht Altitude Physiology Research Facility is located at 49 ft. altitude and is usually near 752 torr, approximately sea level depending upon weather conditions. However, it can simulate atmospheres found at altitudes up to 18,000 feet. Find out more about this project being directed by principle investigator, [[kwkamb,Prof. Ken Kambis, Ph.D.]].

Community-Based Public Health
 Community-Based Public Health Research

Our Public Health research activities take us outside the walls of Adair Hall to communities, clinics, and organizations locally, nationally, and internationally. This research is both quantitative and qualitative, and often engages community members through participatory methodologies. Projects may involve broad explorations of determinants of health, public health assessment, or evaluations of specific health-related programs and policies. Current projects we are involved with deal with grandparent caretaking and health, nutrition in incarcerated populations, and challenges in higher education faced by students recovering from addictions.
For more information, contact [[ascott01, Professor Scott]].