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Faculty in the Department of Kinesiology concentrate their research in six interdisciplinary areas of study: Athletic Training and Sports MedicineBiomechanics, Exercise Physiology, History and Philosophy of Sport, Motor Control, and Psychology of Physical Activity.

The department is led by some of the world's most renowned and respected scholars who serve as editors of scholarly journals, on international and national advisory boards, as leaders of important professional organizations, and on scientific review panels for federal funding agencies.

Kinesiology laboratories are primarily based in Noll Laboratory, including the Clinical Research Center, and the Biomechanics Laboratory in Rec Hall.

laser treatment device against an injured knee

Athletic Training and Sports Medicine

The Athletic Training Research Laboratory studies the delivery of clinical health services to physically active individuals.

Faculty in the group investigate the pathoetiology, prevention, assessment, and treatment of common athletic and orthopedic injuries.

John Vairo icon-olus-circle

Through inter-professional collaboration, John Vairo's research aims to enhance care of anterior cruciate ligament injuries to optimize health-span.

Location: 21D, 21E, 21F Recreation Building

computer-generated motion capture image of person running


Biomechanics research at Penn State encompasses several sub-domains of the disciplines.

These include the application of biomechanical principles to motor control and neurological problems, understanding how muscle properties dictate the coordination of movement, exploring the mechanical behavior of musculoskeletal structures at the tissue level, and exploring innovative solutions to orthopedic problems. 

John Challis - Biomechanics Laboratory icon-olus-circle

The Biomechanics Laboratory aims to understand the role of the elastic structures of the foot on the energetics of locomotion.

Principal Investigator: John Challis

Location: 39 Recreation Building

Jonathan Dingwell - Locomotor Control Laboratory (LoCo Lab) icon-olus-circle

The Penn State Locomotor Control Laboratory (LoCo Lab) is dedicated to understanding the biomechanics and neuromuscular control processes that underlie complex adaptive human movements.

Principal Investigator: Jonathan Dingwell

Location: 38 Recreation Building

Robert B. Eckhardt - Laboratory for Comparative Morphology and Mechanics icon-olus-circle

The Laboratory for Comparative Morphology and Mechanics seeks to elucidate evolutionary biomechanics within and between generations using data that document normal and abnormal development.

Principal Investigator: Robert B. Eckhardt

Location: 29 Recreation Building

Stephen J. Piazza - Functional Biomechanics Laboratory icon-olus-circle

The Functional Biomechanics Laboratory is interested in quantifying joint mechanics and understanding how normal, pathological, and surgically-altered joint mechanics and muscle-tendon architecture influence the capacity of muscles to produce movement.

Principal Investigator: Stephen J. Piazza

Location: 29 Recreation Building

Jonas Rubenson - Muscle Function and Locomotion Laboratory icon-olus-circle

The Penn State Muscle Function and Locomotion Laboratory is dedicated to understanding the biomechanics and energetics of legged locomotion by studying 1) in vivo muscle function; 2) the biomechanical determinants of locomotor energy cost; 3) locomotor optimization.

Principal Investigator: Jonas Rubenson

Location: 12A Noll Laboratory

Aliza Rudavsky icon-olus-circle

Aliza Rudavsky

Aliza Rudavsky's research examines the relationship between pelvic floor function and the voice. She studies how normal and abnormal function at each end of the trunk affects the other end in singers, performers, women, and athletes.

Location: 21C Recreation Building and 125 Theatre Building

research subject in Human Thermoregulation Lab

Exercise Physiology

Exercise physiology faculty are dedicated to studying physiology, especially as it relates to health and disease.

They investigate specific physiological mechanisms underlying the positive health effects of physical activity and the adverse health effects of physical inactivity.

The ultimate goal is to improve human health across the lifespan.

Lacy Alexander - Microvascular Research Laboratory icon-olus-circle

The Microvascular Research Laboratory seeks to understand mechanisms and the impact of interventions on microvascular function.

Principal Investigator: Lacy Alexander

Location: 204, 205, 118, 224, 224A Noll Laboratory and 115 Elmore Wing

Mary Jane De Souza - Director, Women's Health and Exercise Laboratory (WHEL) icon-olus-circle

The Women's Health and Exercise Lab (WHEL) and Penn State University conducts research focused on the interplay between energy intake and energy expenditure, reproductive function, and bone health in female athletes and recreationally active women.

Principal Investigators: Mary Jane De Souza and Nancy Williams

Location: 109, 110, 112, 116, 117, 122, 124, 206, 207 Noll Laboratory

W. Larry Kenney - Thermoregulatory and Microvascular Research Lab icon-olus-circle

The Thermoregulatory and Microvascular Research Lab investigates healthful aging in the context of climate change and environmental extremes.

Principal Investigator: W. Larry Kenney

Location: Noll Laboratory Environmental Chambers (228 and 229) and Microdialysis Lab (205)

Donna H. Korzick - Cellular Cardiovascular Function Laboratory icon-olus-circle

The Cellular Cardiovascular Function Laboratory seeks to understand the innate immune response to myocardial infarction in an animal model of post-menopausal estrogen deficiency to limit cell death.

Principal Investigator: Donna H. Korzick

Location: 225 Noll Laboratory

Gustavo Nader icon-olus-circle

The Nader lab investigates the transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms regulating ribosome biogenesis during muscle growth and atrophy in health and disease.

Principal Investigator: Gustavo Nader

Location: 02, 118, 120 Noll Laboratory

James A. Pawelczyk - Autonomic Neurophysiology Laboratory icon-olus-circle

The Autonomic Neurophysiology Laboratory evaluates the effects of physical inactivity and spaceflight on regulation of blood pressure and cardiovascular function.

Principal Investigator: James A. Pawelczyk

Location: 227 Noll Laboratory

David N. Proctor - Integrative Vascular Physiology Laboratory icon-olus-circle

The Integrative Vascular Physiology Lab studies how to improve oxygen supply to muscles in exercise, aging, and disease.

Principal Investigator: David N. Proctor

Location: 202 Noll Laboratory

Nancy I. Williams - Co-Director, Women's Health and Exercise Laboratory (WHEL) icon-olus-circle

The Women's Health and Exercise Lab (WHEL) and Penn State University conducts research focused on the interplay between energy intake and energy expenditure, reproductive function, and bone health in female athletes and recreationally active women.

Principal Investigators: Nancy I. Williams and Mary Jane De Souza

Location: 109, 110, 112, 116, 117, 122, 124, 206, 207 Noll Laboratory

book held open to show old Penn State sports programs

History and Philosophy of Sport

The History and Philosophy of Sport program focuses on the ethical, philosophical, historical, and cultural dynamics that shape sport and physical activity and their meanings in contemporary and historical societies.

Faculty examine how these physical practices intersect with cultural, social, racial, gender, and political dimensions of people's experiences.

Mark Dyreson icon-olus-circle

Mark Dyreson is a historian of sport who focuses on the intersections of culture, politics, science, race, class, and gender with the traditions of human movement.  His current work concentrates on sport in the United States, on the transnational border between the U.S. and Mexico, and on the macro-histories of running.

Location: 268S Recreation Building

Francisco Javier López Frías icon-olus-circle

Francisco Javier López Frías researches sports ethics, philosophy of games, and bioethics, with an emphasis on performance-enhancing technologies in sport, and is also interested in public health ethics and normative ethics.

Location: 268H Recreation Building

Jaime Schultz icon-olus-circle

Jaime Schultz's research and teaching interests include historical and contemporary issues in women’s sport and physical activity; cultural kinesiology; and racial politics and cultural memory.

Location: 268M Recreation Building

Michelle Sikes icon-olus-circle

Michelle Sikes is a historian of sport and how it relates to race, gender, class, and politics. Her current work focuses on politics and sport in African history, women's sport in Africa, and histories of track and field.

Location: 268B Recreation Building

Research participant's hand placed over a finger movement sensor device

Motor Control

Motor Control faculty examine the cognitive, neurophysiological, and biomechanical foundations of voluntary movements and posture.

Among other topics, faculty study the neural foundations of basic motor control mechanisms in order to understand motor dysfunction and recovery of function.

Xiaogang Hu - Neuromechanics Laboratory icon-olus-circle

The Neuromechanics Laboratory focuses on neural control of biological and bionic hands. The team develops neural-machine interface and neural stimulation techniques to help restore sensory and motor functions of the hand in individuals after stroke, traumatic brain injury, or limb loss.  

Principal Investigator: Xiaogang Hu

Location: 334 Reber Building

Taewon (Tay) Kim - Motor Learning and Rehabilitation Laboratory icon-olus-circle

The MOtor Learning and REhabilitation Laboratory (MORE) at Penn State explores the theoretical underpinnings of neural mechanisms in motor learning and memory consolidation. The MORE Lab is engaged in translational science, striving to translate this knowledge into improved rehabilitative interventions for individuals with unilateral impairments who need to acquire or re-learn essential motor skills.

Principal Investigator: Taewon (Tay) Kim

Location: 34 Recreation Building

Mark L. Latash - Motor Control Laboratory icon-olus-circle

The Motor Control Lab (MCL) at Penn State utilizes the research areas of "Equilibrium-point Hypothesis" and "Synergy" to study multi-joint limb movements, postural control, and multi-limb coordination. 

Principal Investigator: Mark L. Latash

Location: 20, 21A Recreation Building

MCL also has a related, clinical laboratory, Translational Research in Applied Kinesiology (TRAK), co-directed by Xuemei Huang in the Department of Neurology, Hershey.

Robert Sainburg - Movement Neuroscience Laboratory icon-olus-circle

The Movement Neuroscience Laboratory investigates brain mechanisms underlying motor control and learning applied to movement deficits following stroke and identifying stroke rehabilitation intervention.

Principal Investigator: Robert Sainburg 

Location: 27 Recreation Building

Tarkeshwar Singh - Sensorimotor Neuroscience and Learning Laboratory icon-olus-circle

The Sensorimotor Neuroscience and Learning Laboratory at Penn State uses robotics, augmented reality, eye-tracking, and electrophysiological measures to study how visual and somatosensory information are integrated by the brain to produce goal-directed movements in healthy adults and individuals with Parkinson's Disease.

Principal Investigator: Tarkeshwar Singh

Location: 23 Recreation Building

Two women discussing their smart watches after exercise

Psychology of Physical Activity

Psychology of Physical Activity faculty study a range of topics aimed to promote physical-activity and human health

including physical-activity behavioral interventions, health disparities, group dynamics, and the neuropsychological aspects of traumatic brain injury in sport. Faculty often leave the lab to study personal and community environments, with innovative research employing personal devices to study health behavior.

Melissa Bopp - Physical Activity and Public Health Laboratory icon-olus-circle

The Physical Activity and Public Health Laboratory conducts research to understand and promote physical activity in a variety of settings and populations through community-based approaches.

Principal Investigator: Melissa Bopp

Location: 23C Recreation Building

David E. Conroy - Motivation Lab icon-olus-circle

The Motivation Lab aims to move people to live healthier and happier lives through the development, evaluation, and refinement of evidence-based approaches to behavior change.

Principal Investigator: David E. Conroy

Location: 17 Recreation Building

Danielle Downs - Exercise Psychology Laboratory icon-olus-circle

The Exercise Psychology Laboratory investigates automated dosage changes to effectively regulate prenatal weight gain by utilizing intensive data collected on each woman to understand her intervention responsiveness and predict future behaviors (and how to translate this process to the real-world).

Principal Investigator: Danielle Downs

Location: 18 Recreation Building; 223 Noll Laboratory

Semyon (Sam) M. Slobounov - Psychophysiology of Movement Lab icon-olus-circle

The Psychophysiology of Movement Lab studies how concussions affect the brain and motor functions, specifically vestibular and oculomotor functions in athletes. 

Principal Investigator: Semyon (Sam) M. Slobounov

Location: 19 Recreation Building

blood pressure being taken

Learn about kinesiology's current research studies and how you can participate.