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Health & Kinesiology

Research Groups


 

Biomechanics and Locomotion

Our missions are to discover and disseminate our understanding of human movement and to improve mobility outcomes in people with various health conditions. We bridge concepts spanning kinesiology, engineering, and rehabilitation medicine to examine how humans produce, utilize, and/or dissipate various forms of energy (e.g., mechanical, metabolic, thermal), especially during locomotion tasks.

Contact: Kota Takahashi, PhD, Kota.Takahashi@utah.edu

Community-Engaged Health Promotion through Dissemination & Implementation Science

Despite over 30 years of research demonstrating the effectiveness of interventions for health promotion, moving these research tested interventions into sustained community practice is challenging. Our Community-Engaged Dissemination & Implementation (CEDI) team focuses on a range of studies that test strategies to speed the translation of evidence-based interventions into community and clinical practice. Our work is embedded within community settings and include projects related to childhood obesity treatment in rural settings, diabetes prevention for underserved and underrepresented populations, obesity prevention with indigenous communities, and reducing sedentary behaviors in workplaces. Ultimately our goal is to design and disseminate health promotion interventions with broad reach, particularly with groups experiencing health inequities, effectively improve and maintain improvements in health and can be adopted, implemented, and sustained in communities that experience health disparities.

Contact: Paul Estabrooks, PhD, paul.estabrooks@health.utah.edu

Exercise and Cancer Survivorship

The goal of our research is to develop, test, and implement exercise and nutrition strategies that complement cancer treatment and survivorship care in efforts to improve survival, physical function and conditioning, independence, and quality of life. We work with individuals living with cancer of all stages and cancer types.

Contact: Adriana Coletta, PhD, MS, RD, adriana.coletta@hci.utah.edu

Lifespan Motor Neuroscience

Our group examines how changes in the structure and functioning of the brain across the human lifespan influence the learning and control of movement. We employ functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), including analyses of task-related brain activity and connectivity as well as resting state functional connectivity, and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to assess experience-dependent neuroplasticity. By employing multimodal brain imaging to understand the neural mechanisms underlying age-related changes, we can ultimately determine novel approaches to facilitate sensorimotor development in children and minimize age-related declines in older adults.

Contact: Bradley King, PhD, bradley.ross.king@utah.edu

Neuromechanics and Applied Locomotion

Situated within the Cognitive and Motor Neuroscience research theme, we concentrate on the intersection of biomechanics and neural control during real-world locomotion to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and functional rehabilitation of populations with impaired mobility. Towards this goal, we study populations with traumatically induced injury (e.g., concussion) or neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., Parkinson’s disease) to understand how physiological changes influence balance and gait. We value collaborations with engineers, clinicians, physical therapists, and neuroscientists to synthesize and apply our knowledge of locomotion and balance to improve people's lives.

Contact: Peter Fino, PhD, peter.fino@utah.edu

Physical Activity and Health Promotion Science

We are an interdisciplinary team of faculty and graduate students conducting rigorous research to understand and optimize physical activity, sedentary behavior, and other behavioral patterns influencing physiological and psychological well-being across diverse populations. We also strive to communicate the findings of scientific research to the general public and to apply this research in the real world.

Contact: Yang Bai, PhD, yang.bai@utah.edu

Sleep & Circadian Rhythm

The overarching aims of our research program are to: 1) identify mechanisms underlying adverse metabolic risk associated with insufficient sleep and circadian disruption; and 2) develop sleep and circadian-based countermeasures to improve cardiometabolic health. Our research team utilizes research protocols ranging from highly controlled human clinical translational research studies in the sleep lab to "real-world" field studies, with an effort to enhance translation by integrating robust laboratory measures with "real-world" monitoring.  

Contact: Christopher Depner, PhD, christopher.depner@utah.edu

Sleep and Motor Memory

The goal of our research is to modulate the neurophysiological processes supporting motor learning and sleep-related motor memory consolidation in order to optimize motor behavior in healthy populations. We investigate whether experimental interventions such as the manipulation of prior knowledge, stress, brain or sensory stimulation can modulate the consolidation process. We employ multimodal research approaches, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), electroencephalography (EEG) and polysomnography (PSG) in order to characterize the neural substrates of these modulatory effects.

Contact: Genevieve Albouy, PhD, genevieve.albouy@health.utah.edu

Weight Management and Metabolic Health

Our group develops and tests lifestyle interventions (specifically exercise and diet) to improve weight management and metabolic health outcomes in adults with overweight and obesity. We take a bio-behavioral approach, evaluating how our interventions impact both physiological (e.g. hormonal) and behavioral aspects of appetite regulation that are linked to successful weight management outcomes.

Contact: Tanya Halliday, PhD, RD, tanya.halliday@utah.edu