Category: Alumni of Kinesiology

UP Health Science and Medicine Lecture Series featured in the News

The June edition of the UP Health Science and Medicine Lecture Series was highlighted by the Daily Mining Gazette and the Mining Journal.

Supported by Michigan Tech’s Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology and Health Research Institute, the summer lecture featured Dr. Robert Sallis and his study published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

To watch the lecture series, find it on the Health Research Institute’s YouTube channel. Or read about the highlights on the Daily Mining Gazette’s or the Mining Journal’s website.


Students and Faculty Participate in the Michigan Physiological Society Meeting

Students and faculty from the Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology and Department of Biological Sciences recently participated in the 8th annual Michigan Physiological Society (MPS) Meeting held virtually on June 24-25, 2021. Graduate students Jessica Bruning (KIP), Xingqian Chen (KIP), Carmen Scarfone (KIP), Aditi Vyas (BIO), Manas Warke (BIO), and Isaac Wedig (KIP) presented their research, teaching, and outreach focused projects. 

Dr. Steven Elmer (KIP) co-organized the featured symposium titled “Research and Teaching during COVID-19: Challenges, Opportunities, and Lessons Learned” and received help from Greg Miodonski (KIP) and Carmen Scarfone (KIP) who served as moderators for two oral presentations. Anatomy and Physiology Instructor, Travis Wakeham (BIO), also presented during this session and the Michigan Tech “UP and Moving” Team helped to break up the sitting time by leading the audience through a movement activity.  

All students did a great job with their presentations including Isaac Wedig who earned a student award for one of the top oral presentations. Finally, Dr. Elmer was elected as the next MPS President-Elect and will serve on the executive leadership committee for the next three years. 


Graduate Student Ben Cockfield Defends his Master’s Thesis

This past week Benjamin Cockfield (Traverse City, MI) successfully defended his master’s thesis: “Acute Physiological Responses to Arm Cranking with Blood Flow Restriction”. Over 45 people attended the Zoom video conference presentation. Ben earned his Bachelor’s in Exercise Science from Michigan Tech University in 2018 and has since been working on his Master’s in Kinesiology. Specifically, Ben conducted his research in the Exercise Physiology Laboratory under the supervision of Associate Professor Steven Elmer.

For his research, Ben evaluated the cardiorespiratory, metabolic, and perceptual responses to arm cranking with blood flow restriction. Specifically, with blood flow restriction a pressurized cuff is placed over the arm to partially limit blood from leaving the working muscles. This creates a high-intensity workout for the exercising muscles but without overtaxing the heart, lungs, and joints.

In his research, Ben found that arm cranking with blood flow restriction resulted in a small increase in cardiorespiratory strain and effort, but a large increase in metabolic stress. Increased metabolic stress is thought to be an important mechanism for improving muscle size and strength. Long term, results from Ben’s research could have possible implications for upper-body trained endurance athletes (e.g., cross country skiers, rowers, America’s cup sailors), adults recovering from shoulder injuries, wheelchair users, and older adults. Ben was partially supported by a graduate student fellowship from the Michigan Space Grant Consortium.


Q&A: Matt Roy

Former Michigan Tech hockey player Matt Roy is in his third year of professional hockey and first full season in the NHL with the Los Angeles Kings. In 61 games this season, Roy has four goals and 13 assists. He earned his first NHL call up in February 2019 and played 25 games at the end of the 2018-19 season, tallying six points with two goals and four assists. Roy left Michigan Tech after his junior season in the spring of 2017 and continued his education through the University. In December, he completed his bachelor’s of science in exercise science and received his diploma.

Who did you promise that you would finish your degree?
The first person I promised that I would finish my degree was my mom. She wasn’t going to let me leave school early if I wasn’t going to finish. Talking with Suzanne [Sanregret] and Craig Pellizzaro, who was my advisor, we discussed a plan. I was able to take classes online, and I told Suzanne that I wasn’t going to take anything for granted and pass my classes. I’m very grateful to Suzanne and Craig who helped me get my diploma.

How does it feel to be done with your bachelor’s and what are your plans after hockey?
Receiving my diploma was a great feeling. It was tough doing all the classes online and staying consistent. It was a mental battle. I’m happy to have it done and to have it through Tech is awesome. I’m not sure about plans after hockey. Personal training or owning a gym would be fun, but I have a lot of ideas floating around right now.

Read the full feature.


Award Winning student

Congratulations to our PhD Candidate, Joshua Gonzalez, who has been selected as a recipient of the 2020 Caroline tum Sudent/Frances Hellebrandt Professional Opportunity Award from the American Physiological Society!

This award is for his abstract, Acute Effects of the JUUL E-cigarette on Blood Pressure and Peripheral Sympathetic Activity in Young Non-Smokers, which was co-authored by Dr. William Cooke and Stephanie Jewel, undergraduate research assistant.

We are so proud of you all!


Kevin Phillips Graduates with a PhD in Integrative Physiology

Kevin Phillips PhD Defense
KIP PhD candidate Kevin Phillips defends his dissertation before his committee on Monday, April 1 2019

Kevin Phillips is the second student to graduate from Michigan Tech with a PhD in Integrative Physiology.

On April 1, 2019 Kevin successfully defended his dissertation: “The Influence of Temperature on Neuromuscular Fatigue and Prefrontal Cortex Activation During Upper Extremity Exercise” under the advisory of Dr. Steven Elmer.

Kevin Phillips was one of two students who transferred into the Integrative Physiology PhD program in its inaugural year (2017/18). The other student, Matthew Kilgas, defended his dissertation and graduated this past December.

“I’d like to thank Michigan Tech, the KIP Department, my dissertation committee, faculty and students for their support over the past four years,” says Phillips. “I have had a lot of fun and have grown significantly as a teacher and researcher throughout my time at Michigan Tech.”

Phillips completed his MS in Exercise Science at Northern Michigan University in 2015 and his BS in Athletic Training at Marywood University in Pennsylvania in 2012. Kevin is currently pursuing an Assistant Professor position in Exercise Science; he hopes to continue his research on the influence of temperature alterations on brain perception and regulation of fatiguing exercise.


Dr. Matthew Kilgas Graduates with KIP’s First Ever PhD in Integrative Physiology

Matthew Kilgas will become the first recipient of a PhD in Integrative Physiology from Michigan Tech.

KIP graduate student Matthew Kilgas successfully defended his PhD in Integrative Physiology on November 26th, 2018. At Commencement on Saturday, December 15th the Graduate School will confer to Matthew Kilgas the first Doctor of Philosophy degree in Integrative Physiology from Michigan Tech.

The department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology (KIP) began offering a PhD in Integrative Physiology in the 2017-18 academic year. Dr. Kilgas was one of two PhD students at Michigan Tech who transferred into the program in its inaugural year (the other student, Kevin Phillips, is scheduled to defend this Spring).

“Matt’s graduation marks a major milestone for the KIP department,” Dr. Carter explains.

Integrative physiology can be defined as the study of organisms as functioning systems of molecules, cells, tissues and organs. Application of these concepts and experimental approaches are used to understand human health, disease and performance.

The Integrative Physiology PhD program was started under the leadership of Dr. Jason Carter, founding Chair of the department (Dr. Carter now serves as Associate Vice President for Research Development for Michigan Tech’s Vice President for Research Office), and Dr. Steven Elmer, Assistant Professor and Graduate Program Director for KIP. Dr. Carter was a founding member of the KIP department in 2006 and still serves as a Professor with active NIH-sponsored research under KIP.

“We envisioned a highly research-active department that would ultimately be capped off with a strong doctorate degree.” -Dr. Jason Carter, Associate Vice President for Research Development and KIP founding Chair

“Matt’s graduation marks a major milestone for the KIP department,” Dr. Carter explains. “When we established the department thirteen years ago, we envisioned a highly research-active department that would ultimately be capped off with a strong doctorate degree. Our faculty and staff, along with a supportive administration over the past decade, deserve the credit for their persistence and steadfast commitment to that goal.”

Dr. Kilgas completed his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering here at Michigan Tech, and then went on to complete his M.S. in Exercise Science at Northern Michigan University. He returned to Tech in 2015 to begin working on his PhD.

“I would really like to thank the department for all their help in getting me this far,” Kilgas says. “Specifically Dr. Elmer for pushing me, I couldn’t have done it without him.”

Dr. Kilgas defended his thesis on “Acute and Chronic Responses to Exercise with Blood Flow Restriction” under the advisory of Dr. Elmer. For his research he used a variety of experimental techniques to investigate how partial restriction of blood flow to exercising muscles can improve health and enhance performance.

Matthew Kilgas defends his PhD thesis “Acute and Chronic Responses to Exercise with Blood Flow Restriction” in front of his Advisory Committee and other audience members on November 26, 2018.

“Matt has already begun a tenure-track faculty position in the School of Health and Human Performance at Northern Michigan University earlier this Fall,” explains Dr. Elmer. “We wish him the very best with his career in academia.”


Fonkoue Recognized as 2018 Young Investigator

Congratulations to recent Michigan Tech doctoral graduate, Ida Fonkoue on her latest award.   Ida was awarded the 2018 Southern Society Clinical Investigation (SSCI) Young Investigator Award at the Southern Regional Meeting in February.  This award recognizes and encourages excellence in investigation by physicians and medical students during research training.

Ida finished her doctoral degree in May 2017 working under the advisement of Dr. Jason Carter and is currently working as a postdoctoral fellow at Emory University in the Division of Renal Medicine.

Ida Award cropped
Ida accepting the 2018 Young Investigator Award at the SSCI Southern Regional Meeting