Research Activities in Kinesiology & Health Sciences

The Kinesiology & Health Sciences faculty investigate diverse and wide-spread topics. Some of us study the human body at the molecular level, others study the whole organism, and others look at humans from a societal level. The one thing we all have 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 are state-of-the-art. We use both animal and human models, as well as community health agencies to investigate our research questions.

Because ours is an undergraduate program, all our research assistants are undergrads. They are active partners in our research, and frequently co-author publications.

Biomechanics Lab image
Biomechanics Laboratory

The Biomechanics Laboratory is 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 runners. Many public roads have a slope to help with water drainage. People who regularly run on these sloped roads may be at risk of different injuries than those who don't. As they run, the downslope leg hits the ground differently than the upslope leg. This creates differences in how each leg responds to the stance phase of running. We look at foot, ankle, hip, and pelvic girdle movements and how they relate to muscle injuries.
For more information, contact the lab director, [[rwmcco, Professor McCoy]].

Exercise Physiology image
Human Performance Laboratory

The Human Performance Laboratory investigates the effects of aging, gender, and disuse in metabolic, cardiovascular, and neuromuscular function. The Human Performance Laboratory is 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. We study these systems at both the cellular and organismal levels. We are particularly interested in how they respond to increased or decreased activity (exercise). Our recent work explored the interaction of aging with alterations in physical activity.
For more information, contact the lab director, [[mrdesc, Professor Deschenes]].

Myofibers
Microscopy Laboratory

The Microscopy Laboratory works to reveal the morphological adaptations of the neuromuscular system to exercise and disuse in aged and young systems.
For more information, contact the lab director, [[mrdesc, Professor Deschenes]].

MLMC Lab image
Motor Control Laboratory

The motor control laboratory explores the areas of motor imagery and communication between the hemispheres of the brain. For example, in the motor control laboratory, we conduct experiments to better understand the relationship between motor imagery and motor control. We are building on the idea 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 brain 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 Molecular & Cardiovascular Physiology Laboratory investigates exercise-induced changes in cardiac and vascular function. Specifically, we look into changes in molecular mechanisms regulating heat shock proteins and nitric oxide synthases. Both nitric oxide synthases (NOS) and stress proteins play an important role in protecting the heart. We test for exercise-induced changes in NOS and/or stress protein expression in the heart muscles.

We use models of exercise and various disease states to test exercise-induced changes in gene and protein expression in the cardiovascular system. These changes may have a 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 the Vascular Physiology 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 explores how altitude affects the human body. The lab is 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. The Co-Directors are [[kwkamb,Prof. Ken Kambis, Ph.D.]] and [[mbharr, Prof. Brennan Harris, Ph.D.]]

Community-Based Public Health
Community-Based Public Health Research

Our Public Health research activities take us outside the walls of Adair Hall. We conduct our studies in communities, clinics, and organizations locally, nationally, and internationally. We engage community members using methods that yield both quantitative and qualitative results.

Projects may involve broad explorations of determinants of health, public health assessment, or evaluations of specific health-related programs and policies. We are currently studying grandparent care-taking and health, nutrition in incarcerated populations, and challenges faced by college students recovering from addictions.
For more information, contact [[ascott01, Professor Scott]].