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Faculty


Faculty Research Areas

Dr. Christopher Arellano

I have a broad interest in understanding the biomechanics, energetics, and balance of human and animal locomotion. Current projects focus on four main areas:

  • Locomotor Training: develop training interventions aimed at improving muscle-tendon function, economy, and balance.
  • Stability and Muscle-Tendon Mechanics: investigate how the intrinsic properties of muscle and tendon... Learn More

Dr. Austin Bigley

I am a research assistant professor working in the laboratory of Dr. Richard Simpson at the University of Houston. I joined Dr. Simpson’s lab in 2009 and was funded my first two years as a teaching fellow and my last three years as a research assistant working on NASA grant NNX12AB48G. In September 2015, I won a NSBRI First Award Fellowship and I am currently PI on NSBRI Project #PF04307. I am... Learn More

Dr. Mark Clarke

Muscle physiology, muscle adaptation to mechanical loading, cellular basis of muscle function in health and disease. (Note: Dr. Clarke currently serves as Associate Vice Chancellor/Vice President for Technology Transfer in the Division of Research)

Dr. Michael Cottingham

Promotional strategies in sport, consumer behavior, and disability sport

Dr. Stacey Gorniak

My research interests are directed towards understanding healthy and pathological neuromuscular control. Specifically, I am interested in sensorimotor function and how neurological pathology changes how we use our hands. I am interested in investigating how neural changes due to aging, chronic health conditions and movement disorders affect functional hand use, particularly in actions of daily living.

Dr. Marc Hamilton

My laboratory performs translational research that integrates both molecular and behavioral studies. This innovative approach is necessary to discover an effective public health solution to prevent and manage conditions adversely impacted by sedentary living (aging, diabetes, obesity, some cancers, dementia, and cardiovascular disease). The goal is for a scalable solution that can most feasibly... Learn More

Dr. Billy Hawkins

Dr. Hawkins is a professor at the University of Houston in the department of Health and Human Performance. He is the author of The New Plantation: Black Athletes, College Sports, and Predominantly White NCAA Institutions; and co-author of Sport, Race, Activism, and Social Change: The Impact of Dr. Harry Edwards’ Scholarship and Service, The Athletic Experience at Historically Black Colleges and... Learn More

Dr. Daphne Hernandez

My graduate and postdoctoral training were in the areas of psychological services, developmental psychology, poverty, and public policy with mentors whose backgrounds were in psychology, sociology, and economics. Thus, I have been trained across several social science disciplines, and consequently, I do not identify with one particular discipline. The majority of my interdisciplinary research... Learn More

Dr. Craig Johnston

Dr. Johnston actively studies the behavioral treatment of obesity and related diseases. One of his primary areas of research within the treatment of obesity is the development of school-based interventions. Dr. Johnston is currently working to further develop his school-based intervention to prevent obesity in a high risk group of inner-city, low-income, minority adolescents.

Dr. Mark Knoblauch

My research has focused around the phenomenon of “skeletal muscle damage”, both in determining how skeletal muscle membrane structure influences this phenomenon as well as a mechanism for why certain pharmaceutical drugs (statins) trigger symptoms commonly associated with skeletal muscle damage. I have also developed an interest in various clinical measures of athletic injury assessment and care as well as the reliability of those measures.

Dr. Mitzi Laughlin

My research involves epidemiological investigations to determine the risk factors and rates of orthopedic injuries in diverse populations. This research utilizes cohort groups from NASA, military and civilian populations. Once risk factors or at risk groups are identified, athletic training and sports medicine principles are utilized to propose clinical interventions to minimize the risk.... Learn More

Dr. Emily LaVoy

Dr. LaVoy studies the impact of physical and psychological stressors on immune health, with a focus on neuroendocrine-immune interactions. Ongoing projects include investigating whether improving fitness can improve viral control, identifying processes underlying exercise-induced improvements in immune function, and exploring the connection between neural pathways and immunity following exercise.... Learn More

Dr. Charles Layne

I am interested in the development of human coordination primarily from a neuromuscular perspective. This interest is satisfied by investigating locomotion and posture processes. More recent interests include the role of somatosensory input on muscle contraction, particularly during adaptation to split-belt locomotion.

Dr. Tracey Ledoux

Obesity results when energy intake exceeds energy expenditure over time. I conceptualize overeating as a learned or conditioned behavior that is reinforced by natural neurobiological rewarding properties of food cued by environmental stimuli and mediated/moderated by psychosocial factors. I am interested in developing effective obesity prevention interventions that target psychosocial mediators... Learn More

Dr. Beom-Chan Lee

My research interests are 1) designing and developing a real-time biofeedback technology to prevent and reduce falls by leveraging fall recovery performance in individuals with a high risk of falling, 2) designing and developing a cell phone based platform for home-based balance rehabilitation and fall prevention applications, 3) designing and developing a wearable sensory augmentation system via... Learn More

Dr. Melissa Markofski

Many of the diseases typically associated with aging may not be related to aging per se, but rather an age-associated decrease in moderate/vigorous physical activity and an increase in sedentary time. These changes in physical activity patterns are further exacerbated by changes in body composition. Consequently, signaling pathways associated with inflammation and metabolism are affected. The... Learn More

Dr. Daniel O'Connor

Dr. O’Connor’s interdisciplinary research agenda includes evaluating the effectiveness of health-related interventions, explaining individual variation in health outcomes, and investigating the effects of physical activity on health and risk factors. He has collaborated in research across many diverse fields and topics, including obesity, health and wellness, public health, kinesiology, exercise science, rehabilitation, movement disorders, physiology, and surgery.

Dr. Pranav Parikh

My research is primarily focused on understanding the sensorimotor mechanisms for motor control and learning in healthy young individuals, older adults, and patients with neurological diseases and injury. I am also interested in developing therapeutic strategies to improve sensorimotor function in older adults and patient populations. My current research uses the human hand as a model to... Learn More

Dr. Yoonjung Park

My research efforts focus on 1) Investigate the role of physical activity and exercise training in preventing or ameliorating vascular (endothelial) dysfunction in pathophysiologic conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, ischemic heart disease, hypertension, aging (Alzheimer), microgravity, etc. in animal and human subjects, and 2) Elucidating the mechanisms in which vascular function is... Learn More

Dr. Demetrius Pearson

Dr. Pearson’s research areas have focused on the Socio-cultural and Historical Aspects of Sport. Most recently he has conducted research and written about African American involvement in various sport forms, including North American Rodeo, as well as their depiction in contemporary sport films. He currently maintains a repository listing of American sport films from 1930 to 2015.

Dr. Richard Simpson

Dr Simpson studies the effects of exercise and stress on the immune system. Major cross-cutting themes of his work are aging (immunosenescence), cancer and spaceflight. Specifically, Dr Simpson and his team study how single exercise bouts can be used to augment the recovery and expansion of specific immune cells that can be used therapeutically to treat patients with hematologic malignancies; and... Learn More

Dr. Adam Thrasher

Neuromuscular physiology and motor learning; Biomechanics and gait analysis; Electrical stimulation of paralyzed muscles to restore function; Rehabilitation engineering; Pathological locomotion. Experience During his postdoctoral fellowship in Toronto, Canada, Dr. Thrasher designed a research program in which he developed a new neuroprosthesis for walking therapy in people with chronic spinal... Learn More

Dr. David Walsh

My research area is sport for development. I have two distinct focal applications for this aim. First, I examine how sport is used as a resource to overcome difficult life transitions in adulthood, particularly in assessing how we age. My research agenda is set up to test sport participation on various transition points across the life-course both cross-sectionally and longitudinally. This... Learn More