Nancy Williams appointed head of the Department of Kinesiology

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."

Williams is well regarded for her human clinical research in the area of women's health and exercise. She and her colleagues use an integrated and interdisciplinary approach to increase understanding of the physiological and behavioral underpinnings of interactions between energy balance, reproductive function, bone health and exercise performance. In particular, they conduct both randomized clinical trials and short-term experiments to further understand the female athlete triad, the etiology of menstrual disturbances, bone loss and stress fracture in premenopausal women, the impact of post-meal metabolism and gut peptides on energy balance, reproductive function, bone strength and stress fractures, the impact of eating behavior phenotypes on health outcomes and the role of energy balance on sports performance.

Williams has been recognized for her research with a number of awards and honors, including being named a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine in 1998 and a Fellow of the National Academy of Kinesiology in 2011. Williams also received a Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program Career Development Award in 2001 and a National Institutes of Health Individual National Research Service Award in 1994. She is a member of the Endocrine Society, the American Society for Nutrition and the Female Athlete Triad Coalition.

Williams joined the faculty of the Department of Kinesiology at Penn State as an assistant professor in 1997. She became an associate professor in 2003 and a professor in 2009. She earned a bachelor's degree in biology at Bucknell University in 1984, a master's degree in exercise physiology at Ohio State University in 1986, and a doctor of science degree in applied anatomy and physiology at Boston University in 1992. She conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Pittsburgh's School of Medicine from 1992 to 1996.

Karl Newell, the former head of the department, will remain on the faculty. "Karl is such a productive researcher and powerhouse in the field of kinesiology," said Ann C. Crouter, Raymond E. and Erin Stuart Schultz Dean, College of Health and Human Development. "As a result, he has helped bring stature to the department. Under his leadership, the department attained important recognition; the graduate program was ranked as the number-one program in the field of kinesiology, according to studies conducted by both the National Research Council and the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education."

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Editors: For additional information, please contact the College of Health and Human Development Office of College Relations at 814-865-3831 or healthhd@psu.edu.