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Woman running off the starting blocks on a red background. Digital graphic of foot pressure.

Creating Innovative Athletic Products through Research

Portrait of Mario Lafortune

Mario Lafortune ’78g, ’84g PH ED
Director, Nike Sport Research Laboratory

Lecture Details

Date: Thursday, October 15, 2009
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Bennett Pierce Living Center, 110 Henderson Building

The event is free and open to the public.

About Mario Lafortune

Mario Lafortune, director of the Nike Sport Research Laboratory (NSRL), is working to make athletes faster and stronger by researching and creating new athletic products. A renowned scientist, Lafortune’s research focuses on running, walking, and the biomechanics of the human leg and foot.

After receiving a B.S. in Kinanthropology from the University of Ottawa (Canada) and both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Biomechanics from Penn State, Lafortune set to work in the laboratory, researching first at Adidas Sporting Goods and then at the Penn State Biomechanics Laboratory. He continued his research at several organizations, including a stint at NASA, and in 1996 was named director of the NSRL.

At the NSRL, Lafortune provides leadership for one of the world’s foremost research facilities in creating and developing new athletic products. By working with athletes and utilizing cutting-edge technology, NSRL adapts shoes, equipment, and other athletic products to fit the needs of athletes, taking into account the fine details of human movement. In this role, Lafortune helped establish the Nike Award for Athletic Footwear Research, which recognizes scientific achievements related to the biomechanics of the foot.

A devoted educator, Lafortune is currently a member of the Faculty of Sport at the University of Porto, Portugal. He has held various other professorial roles in the past in disciplines that include biology, biomechanics, and human kinetics, working in several countries: France, Portugal, Canada, and the United States.

Lafortune has spoken at a number of professional conferences that focus on a variety of topics, including diabetic footwear, soccer injuries, and sport surfaces. He has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals, and is currently on the editorial board of two journals: Journal of Sports Engineering and Technology and Footwear Science

Distinguished Speaker Series

The Distinguished Alumni Speaker Series was established by the Board of Directors of the College of Health and Human Development Alumni Society in order to feature prominent graduates of the college who are leaders in their fields. The board's mission is to facilitate and promote the participation of alumni in activities that support the college's pursuit of excellence.