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James A. Pawelczyk

Pawelczyk to contribute biomedical expertise to NASA

James A. Pawelczyk, associate professor of physiology and kinesiology in Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development, has been appointed to the National Research Council’s Committee on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space (CBPSS).

Reporting to the NRC’s Space Studies Board, the committee aims to support scientific progress in space research in the biological, medical and physical sciences, and assist the federal government in integrating and planning programs in these fields.

In addition, Pawelczyk has been named a member of the research subcommittee of the Human Exploration and Operations Committee to the NASA Advisory Council (NAC). The NAC advises the NASA administrator on matters of strategic importance to NASA.

Read more about Pawelczyk's appointment to the NRC.

Penn State joins Brain Concussion Neuroimaging Consortium

A number of units at Penn State have joined in a new collaboration, the Brain Concussion Neuroimaging Consortium, which aims to optimize long-term outcomes in athletes and soldiers with concussion and traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Penn State partners in the effort include the Penn State Center for Sport Concussion Research and Services (PSCSC); Athletic Training Services; and Human Imaging, Social Life & Engineering Sciences Imaging Center.

The consortium will focus on intervention to reduce concussion and TBI occurrence; manage treatment and rehabilitation; and enhance long-term outcomes for individuals with concussion or TBI.

The effort will include colleges and universities with strong athletic programs willing to perform longitudinal studies of all their varsity and club sports athletes, research-dedicated MRI facilities and published imagers in concussion/addiction/depression/cognitive neuroscience.

Read more about the Brain Concussion Neuroimaging Consortium.

NIH funds pre-doctoral training grant for kinesiology and physiology students

Penn State’s Department of Kinesiology and Intercollege Program in Physiology, part of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, have received a $1,353,144 five-year pre-doctoral training grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The grant, Research Training in Physiological Adaptations to Stress, will support a program designed to train scientists to meet the 21st century biomedical workforce demand.

The primary goal of the training program, which will include 25 to 30 students in kinesiology and physiology, is to provide a new generation of future scientists with comprehensive research training and educational experiences that emphasize a translational approach to understanding the physiological mechanisms that trigger and meditate organismal stress adaptation.

“The NIH has recognized for several years now that universities must be responsive to changes in the biomedical workforce, and implement new and different pre-doctoral training programs to meet these workforce needs,” said Donna Korzick, professor of physiology and kinesiology and chair of the intercollege graduate degree program in physiology. “Scientists at Penn State took a big step forward in achieving a piece of the NIH roadmap with the funding of a doctoral training program which integrates cutting-edge interdisciplinary biomedical science with regulatory aspects of science, business and law, and will be funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS).”

Read more about the NIH pre-doctoral training grant.

Students to go mobile with Exercise is Medicine

Penn State Kinesiology Club to take events, health assessments on the road

Penn State’s Kinesiology Club is excited to see where its Exercise is Medicine (EiM) program will go. Literally.

EiM is hitting the road this fall with its new Mobile Outreach & Regional Expansion initiative, a project that will take its events and health assessments to campuses and community groups across the state.

“We’re trying to reach out to the Penn State community as well as the Commonwealth campuses,” said Michele Duffey, director of the Kinesiology Physical Activity Program.

EiM on campus is an initiative of the American College of Sports Medicine that calls on universities and colleges to promote physical activity and exercise and their health benefits on their campuses. The first campus-wide EiM event at Penn State's University Park campus was held in November 2012.

Students played double Dutch

Students in the Penn State Kinesiology Club held the second Exercise is Medicine event in October at University Park.

The goal with Mobile EiM, which has been made possible by a grant from the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence, the Thomas M. Nardozzo Community Service Endowment and the Department of Kinesiology’s Faculty Endowment Fund, is to travel to various sites in and out of the community, and grant kinesiology students the opportunity to be on the “front line” and give real advice, Duffey said.

Read more about Exercise is Medicine going mobile.

Undergraduate Thesis Award winner and finalists announced

The winners of the Penn State University Libraries' 2014 Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis awards have been announced. Top winner of the $1,250 award is Chloe Quinn Weaver, history and German, for her thesis "An Economic and Historical Analysis of Turkish Guest Worker Migration to Postwar West Germany."

Natalie Roberts, history and political science, was awarded $750 for her thesis “History of Organic Farming in California and Pennsylvania.” Ronald Paul Mack Jr., kinesiology, was awarded $500 for his thesis "Marginal Zinc Intake Impairs Mammary Gland Involution, Increases Oxidative Stress and Disrupts Ductal Integrity Abrogating the Protective Effect of Lactation on Breast Tumorigenesis in a Mouse Model."

More information on the Undergraduate Thesis Award.

Mobile health apps lack behavior-change techniques

Behavior-change techniques are not well represented in the marketing materials for top-rated physical-activity apps, according to a team of Penn State researchers.

They also found that two types of physical-activity apps are available on the market — those that focus on educating users on how to perform different exercises and those that focus on supporting users' motivation for physical activity.

"The app marketplace is largely unregulated and users make decisions based on developers' descriptions of apps," said David Conroy, professor of kinesiology. "Our results suggest that developers have not incorporated many behavior-change techniques to date, and there may be opportunities to integrate behavioral science to make apps that are more effective for helping people who seek to change their behavior and become more active."

Read more about mobile health apps and their effectiveness on behavior change.

Semyon Slobounov publishes book on concussions in athletics

Concussions in Athletics Book Cover

Semyon (Sam) Slobounov, professor of kinesiology and neurosurgery at Penn State, has published a book titled "Concussions in Athletics: From Brain to Behavior." The book offers state-of-the-art clinical guidance on diagnosing and treating concussion, the latest research findings and implications written by an international panel of experts and advanced brain imaging findings to delineate the hidden symptoms of concussion.

The book—which Slobounov edited with Wayne Sebastianelli, Kalanek Professor in Orthopedics and director of athletic medicine at Penn State—was published on March 7.

"Concussion in athletics is a growing public health concern with increased attention focusing on treatment and management of this puzzling epidemic," Slobounov said. "Despite the increasing occurrence and prevalence of concussions in athletics, there is no universally accepted definition, or 'gold standard,' for its assessment."

Read more about the book Concussions in Athletics: From Brain to Behavior.

Moe Kishida has been selected as the recipient of the Outstanding Student Researcher in Women’s Health Award on behalf of the Women's Health SIG of SBM.

Moe Kishda

Moe's work entitled "Daily Physical Activity Enhances Resilient Resources for Symptom Management in Middle-Aged Women" was selected from over a dozen abstracts and was evaluated on the basis of relevance to women’s health, quality of research design and analysis, and the degree to which your research offers a unique or innovative contribution to women’s health. Moe will be honored at the Women's Health SIG of SBM annual breakfast at the upcoming meeting, to be held from 7:30-8:30 AM on Thursday, April 24 (location TBD), with a plaque and a cash reward of $200. As part of the award, Moe will describe her research project to the SIG members at the breakfast.

Kinesiology professor publishes book on US women's sports

Qualifying Times book cover

Jaime Schultz, assistant professor of kinesiology, has published a book, titled "Qualifying Times: Points of Change in U.S. Women's Sport." The book explores U.S. women's sports through historical "points of change" — particular products or trends that dramatically influenced both women's participation in sports and cultural responses to women athletes.

Learn more about Schultz and her book.

Probing Question: Is sitting bad for your health?

Think you're healthy because you work out?

Although your exercise regimen is good for your body, it may not be enough to counteract the negative effects of sitting.

"A recent survey found that many of us spend about eight hours a day being sedentary, not including time spent sleeping," says David Conroy, PennState professor of kinesiology.

Learn more about Conroy's research.

Benjamin Webb, a doctoral candidate in Kinesiology, won the American Public Health Association Physical Activity Section Student Research Poster Presentation Award.

Benjamin Webb

Benjamin Webb, a 4th year doctoral candidate in the department of Kinesiology, received the American Public Health Association Physical Activity Section's Student Research Poster Award at the annual meeting in Boston, MA. His poster, entitled "Practicing what they preach: Physical activity counseling practices of clergy" showcased some of Ben's research from his dissertation. Ben is a graduate research assistant in the Physical Activity and Public Health lab and has been working on projects related to promoting physical activity at a community level. His dissertation research, partially funded by a grant from the American College of Sports Medicine, has focused on the role of faith-based settings and specifically clergy, in promoting physical activity and health. After receiving his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Kinesiology at Kansas State University, Ben began his doctoral program at Penn State in 2010 and plans to graduate in Spring 2014.

KINES graduate students participated in the American Physiological Society’s Phun Week

They led an active learning lesson on muscle fatigue in Dr. Gilmour’s science class at State College Area High School on November 6, 2013. Photos of this event are attached.

Anna Stanhewicz, a KINES doctoral candidate, published two papers in the Journal of Applied Physiology last month.

One was selected as an “Editor’s Pick!” A podcast summarizing the findings and explaining their significance is available at http://jappl.podbean.com/2013/07/08/oral-sapropterin-aging-and-skin-blood-flow/.

Undergraduate Ryan Cusack receives USA Today Student Leadership Award

James Jay Edward Thomas Jr. never let his disability hold him back from his love of sports. The former member of Penn State's Ability Athletics wheelchair basketball team passed away in September 2012, just shy of his 40th birthday.

To honor Thomas's life, Ryan Cusack, a kinesiology major and president of the Penn State Adaptive Outreach Club, organized the first annual Jay Thomas Memorial Wheelchair Basketball Tournament, which was held in December 2012.

Read more about Ryan Cusack.

Kinesiology Club to promote active living during Exercise is Medicine Week

The Pennsylvania State Kinesiology Club, with the support of faculty members in the Department of Kinesiology, will hold its second annual Exercise is Medicine event during the week of Oct. 14 to 17. The event will consist of campus-wide activities that will encourage Penn State students, and the entire community, to "get moving" so they can enjoy a healthier, more physically active lifestyle.

"Not getting enough daily physical activity as a result of insuffieient exercise and prolonged periods of sitting is the fastest growing public health problem in the United States, and is widely prevalent even among college-age individuals," said David Proctor, professor of kinesiology/physiology and one of the faculty organiziers for the annual event.

Read more about Exercise is Medicine Week Oct. 14-17.

Professor receives $1.8M to prevent weight gain among overweight pregnant women

Danielle Downs

Danielle Symons Downs, associate professor of kinesiology and obstetrics and gynecology, has received a five-year, $1.8-million grant from the National Institutes of Health Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to develop an intervention to reduce gestational weight gain among overweight and obese pregnant women.

Read more about the research concerning weight gain among overweight and obese pregnant women by Danielle Symons Downs.

Kinesiology Club to hold "Exercise is Medicine" week Oct. 14-18

The Kinesiology Club, with the support of faculty members in the Department of Kinesiology, is holding the second annual "Exercise is Medicine™" event during the week of October 14-18, 2013, on the Penn State University Park campus. The event will consist of campus-wide activities that will encourage all Penn State students to "get moving" so they can enjoy a healthier, more physically active lifestyle.

Visit the Kinesiology Club for more information on the Exercise in Medicine event.

New model of how brain functions are organized may revolutionize stroke rehab

A new model of brain lateralization for movement could dramatically improve the future of rehabilitation for stroke patients, according to Penn State researcher Robert Sainburg, who proposed and confirmed the model through novel virtual reality and brain lesion experiments.

Brain Scans

Since the 1860s, neuroscientists have known that the human brain is organized into two hemispheres, each of which is responsible for different functions. Known as neural lateralization, this functional division has significant implications for the control of movement and is familiar in the phenomenon of handedness.

Understanding the connections between neural lateralization and motor control is crucial to many applications, including the rehabilitation of stroke patients. While most people intuitively understand handedness, the neural foundations underlying motor asymmetry have until recently remained elusive, according to Sainburg, professor of kinesiology and neurology and participant in the neuroscience and physiology graduate programs at the University's Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences.

Research by Sainburg and his colleagues in the Center for Motor Control and published in the journal Brain has revealed a new model of motor lateralization that accounts for the neural foundations of handedness. The discovery could fundamentally change the way post-stroke rehabilitation is designed.

Read more about how brain functions are organized may revolutionize stroke rehab >>

Fear of Falling: Understanding Pregnant Women's Changing Gaits

Besides the bulging belly, the "waddle"—the telltale sign of a shifted center of gravity—is a key distinguishing feature of pregnant women. For many, this feeling of being off-kilter translates to a fear of falling, thus deterring them from engaging in many forms of physical activity where the risk of falling is increased.

"A recent study that examined 4,000 pregnant women found that 27 percent of them fell during their pregnancy," said Danielle Symons Downs, associate professor of kinesiology and obstetrics and gynecology. "Changes in elevation are the primary source of falling accidents. So it's not surprising that many pregnant women decrease or avoid exercising altogether because they are worried about falling and harming their babies. However, research consistently shows that the health benefits of exercising while pregnant outweigh the risks of falling as long as the exercise is conducted in a safe fashion."

To simultaneously investigate the psychological and biomechanical aspects associated with falling while pregnant, Downs, who specializes in psychological and behavioral aspects of physical activity, teamed up with colleague Jinger Gottschall, assistant professor of kinesiology with expertise in the biomechanical aspects of physical activity. Read more about Fear of Falling: Understanding Pregnant Women's Changing Gaits >>

Miller Honored by Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society

Sayers John Miller, III, assistant professor, has received the Most Distinguished Alumni Award from the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society (PFTATS) for 2013. He will be presented with the award on February 20 at the PFATS annual meeting to be held in Indianapolis, Indiana. Read more about Miller's award.

Twin Sisters Selected as Student Marshals for College of Health and Human Development

Maria and Molly Mazich Maria and Molly Mazich, twin sisters from Fleetwood, Pa., will be honored as student marshals for the College of Health and Human Development during winter commencement ceremonies on December 22, 2012 at the Penn State University Park campus. Molly Mazich, a kinesiology major, received an Academic Excellence Scholarship from the Schreyer Honors College and an Alumni Memorial Scholarship from the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She conducted a thesis, titled “Isometric Force Entrainment Depends on Temporal Location of Visual Information and Signal Predictability.” Read more about Maria and Molly Mazich, student marshals for fall 2012 commencement.

Kinesiology Club to hold "Exercise is Medicine" week Nov. 5-8

The Kinesiology Club, with the support of faculty members in the Department of Kinesiology, is holding the first annual "Exercise is Medicine™" event during the week of November 5-8, 2012, on the Penn State University Park campus. The event will consist of campus-wide activities that will encourage all Penn State students to "get moving" so they can enjoy a healthier, more physically active lifestyle.

Learn more at the Kinesiology Club website.

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Athletic Training now a stand-alone major in Department of Kinesiology

student working with patient

Students who are interested in entering the field of athletic training—which deals with the prevention, assessment and treatment of injuries and illnesses in a physically active population—now have the option to receive a bachelor of science degree in the subject. A new Athletic Training major in the Department of Kinesiology has replaced the Athletic Training option, which formerly was part of the Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology degree. Upon completion of the program, students will graduate with a bachelor of science degree in Athletic Training. More >>

Menopausal women could 'work out' their hot flashes

Menopausal women who exercise may experience fewer hot flashes in the 24 hours following physical activity, according to health researchers. In general, women who are relatively inactive or are overweight or obese tend to have a risk of increased symptoms of perceived hot flashes, said Steriani Elavsky, assistant professor of kinesiology at Penn State. Perceived hot flashes do not always correspond to actual hot flashes. Most previous research analyzed only self-reported hot flashes. This is the first study known to the researchers to look at objective versus subjective hot flashes. Elavsky and colleagues studied 92 menopausal women for 15 days. The women recruited for this study were different from many earlier menopause studies, said Elavsky. In the past, women in menopause studies were experiencing severe symptoms and seeking help. They were probably not representative of the general population. more >>

Nancy Williams appointed head of the Department of Kinesiology

Nancy Williams

Nancy Williams, professor of kinesiology in the Penn State College of Health and Human Development, has been appointed head of the Department of Kinesiology. She is replacing Karl Newell, Marie Underhill Noll Chair in Kinesiology, who served as head on two separate occasions for a total of 10 years.

"Search committee members were favorably impressed with Nancy's understanding of our complex department and her commitment to continuing our tradition as a top-ranked, comprehensive Kinesiology program," said Scott Kretchmar, professor of kinesiology and chair of the search committee. "We felt she would be a thoughtful and inclusive leader as she attempts to build on the foundation established by Karl Newell." more >>

New Center Focuses on Sport Concussion Research and Community Service

According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 1.7 million people sustain concussions — mild traumatic brain injuries (TBI) — each year, and about half a million children aged 0 to 14 years make visits to the emergency department for TBIs each year. A new Penn State center — called the Center for Sport Concussion Research and Service — has been established with a goal of advancing research on sport-related concussions and of providing services to local collegiate and child athletes in the form of baseline assessments that can aid in diagnosing concussions and tracking recovery. more >>

Fitness Studies Option to stop enrolling new students

The Department of Kinesiology will be closing the Fitness Studies Option effective Fall 2014. Students who have met all entrance-to-major criteria for the Fitness Studies Option may enter the option prior to Fall 2014. If you have any questions please contact the Kinesiology Advising Center at 814-863-4493. For more information, please view details of the Fitness Studies Option.

Concussion in Athletics: From Brain to Behavior conference to be held in October

The Department of Kinesiology is pleased to announce that the 2nd Penn State Conference on Concussion in Athletics will be held in October, 2012. The conference is chaired by Semyon Slobounov (Chair) and Wayne Sebastianelli (Co-Chair).

Please visit the Conference Website at www.hhdev.psu.edu/Concussion-In-Athletics, for details.

Kinesiology Graduate Program Receives #1 Rankings

Penn State's Kinesiology graduate program is the #1 program in the field of kinesiology, according to studies conducted by both the National Research Council (announced in September 2010) and the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education (AAKPE) (announced in October 2010).

More News

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Seminar Series

To disseminate knowledge and information, the department hosts several seminar series, which touch upon a variety of topics related to kinesiology.

Department Calendar

Kinesiology department calendar for a list of upcoming events

Newsletters

Kinesiology NewsThe department regularly publishes newsletters that highlight developments within the department.