Department of Exercise Science research effort centers on the investigation of health-related aspects of exercise. Department faculty research is integrative and allows for study at the cellular, tissue, and whole organism level. General research interests of faculty in the Exercise Science Department include:

  • Anti-inflammatory effects of exercise
  • Effect of gene and environmental interactions on human athletic ability, health, and disease
  • Skeletal muscle adaptations to disuse and aging
  • Obesity and Diabetes
  • Physical activity promotion for individuals with disabilities and their families (Kinesiology for Individuals with Disabilities)

We also collaborate with the SUNY Upstate Medical University on projects and share some research and laboratory space. Collaborative research, clinical and educational opportunities are available for our students through SUNY UMU as well. The Institute for Human Performance, part of the SUNY UMU campus, is a 40,000 square foot facility of dedicated laboratory space for research in Human Performance.

Exercise Science research facilities include:
Human Performance Laboratory
Muscle Biology Laboratory
Altitude Simulation Laboratory
Kinesmetrics Lab
Exercise Prescription Lab (ExRx Lab)

Students in Research

As a student in Falk College, you will have opportunities to work with researchers, professors, and fellow students (both graduate and undergraduate) exploring a variety of fields and approaches in each of the Falk disciplines. Research experience allows students to better understand published works, balance collaborative and individual effort, grow interest in graduate studies and influence career trajectories.

Graduate students in Exercise Science are encouraged to become involved in the research process by participating as part of a team on various projects during their first semester on campus. Both M.S. and Ph.D. students also direct their own projects after their first year. Graduate student research in the department is of exceptional quality and the students publish their papers in professional journals. Many students have also received grant support for their research.

Faculty Projects

Opportunities exist for students to participate in exciting research opportunities with Exercise Science staff. here are some ongoing research opportunities:

The DeRuisseau Muscle Biology Laboratory

Keith DeRuisseau, Department Chair, focuses on the role of oxidative stress and stress proteins in mediating adaptations of skeletal muscle to disuse and aging. The primary objective of the lab is to conduct experiments designed to minimize adverse effects of disuse and aging on skeletal muscle function. Muscle adaptations are studied at the tissue level utilizing a variety of biochemical, histochemical, and molecular biology techniques. The lab is also equipped to investigate in situ and in vitro skeletal muscle force production and fatigue properties. Professor DeRuisseau is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health to study how skeletal muscle iron accumulation may contribute to aging-associated muscle mass loss and dysfunction.

Human Performance Laboratory

Kevin Heffernan’s research examines the interaction of diet, nutritional supplementation, and exercise (with an emphasis on resistance exercise) on vascular function in health, disease, and disability throughout the human lifespan. His Human Performance Laboratory includes equipment such as a bodpod to measure body composition.

Altitude Simulation Laboratory

Tom Brutsaert, focuses his work on how genes and environment interact to produce variation in human athletic ability and health and disease. He conducts field research in high-altitude environments, such as the Andes in Peru and Mount Everest in Nepal. His on-campus Altitude Simulation Laboratory houses a human-scale hypoxia chamber that is large enough to accommodate several test subjects during metabolic testing under simulated altitude conditions up to 20,000 feet.

Kinesmetrics Lab

The goal of the Kinesmetrics Lab is to advance the knowledge of physical behavior’s (i.e., sleep, sedentary behavior, and physical activity) consequences on health. Dr. Tiago Barreira is an expert in the objective measurement of human physical behavior, more specifically in the use of pedometers and accelerometers. The research related to the measurement of human physical behavior’s in the Kinesmetrics Lab seeks to:

  1. establish the validity and reliability of evidence for human physical behavior’s measurement tools (i.e., questionnaires, pedometers, accelerometers),
  2. determine how to use these tools to obtain reliable and accurate information on behavior patterns,
  3. the use of these tools as a motivation to promote improvements,
  4. investigate the relationship between human physical behavior’s and cardiovascular disease risk factors.

In addition, the Kinesmetrics Lab has a number of instruments to measure body composition and dimensions including a full-body 3D scanner.

Some of the current research in the Kinesmetrics Lab includes: validation of an automated algorithm to detect sleep with a waist-worn accelerometer, validation of the Adapted Physical Education Assessment Scale (APEAS II) validation of sleep measures by Fitbit devices, validation of the Cosmed K5 portable metabolic unit, investigation of physiological response of students undergoing teaching simulation, measurement of physical behaviors of children with autism spectrum disorder.