Research Advisory Board Tours School of Kinesiology Facility

October 1, 2014

Dr. Dave Pascoe leads a tour of the new Kinesiology Building for members of the Auburn University Research Advisory Board.
Dr. Dave Pascoe leads a tour of the new Kinesiology Building for members of the Auburn University Research Advisory Board.

The Auburn University Research Advisory Board visited the School of Kinesiology on September 25, 2014. Approximately 40 Board members from around the country traveled to Auburn to tour the new state-of-the-art, 60,000 square-foot building which houses three stories of laboratories and offices for research in health, movement, and science.

The 42-member Research Advisory Board is comprised of individuals who have knowledge of and interest in the academic and research programs of Auburn University, and broadly represent research-intensive businesses, industries, and professions. Some of the members include Yu-Tueng Tsai, President and CEO of Regitar USA, Inc.; Paul Pinyan, the executive director of the Alabama Farmers Federation and general manager of Alfa Services, Inc.; and Linda Jackson, a Rehabilitation Counselor at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, who is also the wife of Bo Jackson.

Humana-Germany-Sherman Distinguished Professor and Assistant Director of the School of Kinesiology, and Director of the Thermal and Infrared Imaging Lab, Dr. David Pascoe, led the tour highlighting the 25 labs in the building. Doctoral candidate Khalil Lee impressed the Board with his cooling garment comprised of material with weave technology to enhance sweat evaporation and body cooling during exercise. Lee developed the active wear for his dissertation and is hoping to take it to market in the near future.

Some of the other laboratories include three Biomechanics Labs, which use sensors to track movement of the body. Each lab focuses on a specialty including lower extremity with attention on gait and footwear (Dr. Wendy Weimar), upper extremity related to throwing and injury prevention (Dr. Gretchen Oliver), and rehabilitation concerning motor control (Dr. Wei Liu). The biomechanics labs are located on the first floor of the building along with the Pediatric Movement and Physical Activity Lab (Dr. Mary Rudisill).  The Lab investigates the roles of cognitive factors such as perception, attention, motivation, and response to determine how humans, particularly children, acquire and perform skillful movements.

The second floor of the building contains laboratories focusing on health and fitness. The TigerFit Lab provides fitness education and exercise programming to students, faculty, alumni, and members of the community (Dr. James McDonald).  The Exercise Psychology and Behavioral Fitness Lab conducts activity behavior change research that focuses on increasing physical activity participation and adherence through planning theory-based interventions (Dr. Danielle Wadsworth). The Performance and Exercise Psychophysiology Lab seeks to uncover neurobiological mechanisms underlying psychomotor performance phenomena (Dr. Matt Miller). The Motor Learning and Performance Lab has the expertise and equipment necessary to study psychological and physiological changes associated with motor skill acquisition and optimization (Dr. Keith Lohse).

Research in the Neuromechanical Research Lab was designed to complement and collaborate with the current Biodynamics, Thermal Regulatory, and Exercise Physiology laboratories.  The NuRL offers a Motion Monitor real-time 3-D motion capture system, a Bertec non-conducting force platform embedded in a 32-foot elevated walkway/platform, as well as other equipment. Additionally, the Warrior Research Center assists the U.S. Armed Forces in maximizing readiness through improvement of warrior physical and technical performance and equipment in order to fight and win (Dr. JoEllen Sefton). Much of the training and research is conducted at Fort Benning, Georgia.  Conducting research in school settings, the Physical Education Labs have extensive technology for the collection and analysis of data from videotape and audiotape sources, and are used by various faculty members (Dr. Peter Hastie, Dr. Sheri Brock, Dr. Alice Buchanan, and Dr. Jared Russell).

The third floor houses the basic and translational research laboratories. The Vascular Physiology Lab studies the role of the sympathetic nervous system in maintaining blood pressure and blood flow and the cause of hypertension, as well as the role of red blood cells in blood flow (Dr. Heidi Kluess). The Exercise Biochemistry and Muscle Physiology Lab studies muscle metabolism, primarily lactate metabolism and oxygen uptake on-kinetics (Dr. Bruce Gladden). The focus of the Cardioprotection Lab is to discover endogenous mechanisms of protection against ischemia-reperfusion damage, or heart attacks. The lab uses a model of short-term exercise to elicit a cardioprotected phenotype in laboratory rats, assessed via surgically induced heart attack. (Dr. John Quindry).

The Molecular and Applied Sciences Lab studies the effects of dietary compounds and/or physical activity, or the lack thereof, on physiological homeostasis in cell, rodent, and human models (Dr. Mike Roberts). The lab investigates the mechanisms of muscle growth, gene pathways, and immune response. Studies conducted in the Muscle Biochemistry Lab focus on mitochondrial adaptations in skeletal and cardiac muscle during exercise or inactivity, as well as antioxidants and oxidative stress, and muscle hypertrophy and atrophy (Dr. Andreas Kavazis).

Tours of the new Kinesiology building are regularly scheduled. Contact Dr. Dave Pascoe at pascodd@auburn.edufor more information or to schedule a tour.

Story and photos contributed