Category: Research

December KIP Seminar

Join us for the last seminar of the semester to close out the “Women in Health Science, Medicine, and Physiology” series.

Dr. Carrie Karvonen-Gutierrez and Dr. Erica Twardzik will be presenting their research and work. To learn more about the speakers, find their abstracts and biographies below.

Dr. Karvonen-Gutierrez’s Abstract: Among older adults (age 65+ years), declines in physical functioning, increases in disability and the relationship of falls with adverse outcomes including hospitalizations and death are well documented. However, evidence suggests that the mid-life period (40-64 years of age) is a critical window for the onset of poor physical functioning and falls, particularly in women. Women experience greater disability, more rapid declines in physical functioning, and more falls than do age-matched men. This presentation will overview the burden of physical functioning limitations, disability and falls among mid-life women and identify important correlates of these health outcomes. Key findings from the ongoing Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation, a prospective, multi-ethnic study of midlife women will be included to demonstrate important differences in the burden of physical functioning by key demographic measures.

Dr. Twardzik’s Abstract: Older adults with disabilities are a growing demographic group. People with disabilities represent 26.8% of the general population, and the prevalence of disability increases with age. People with disabilities, compared to non-disabled peers, are less likely to engage in physical activity and social participation, key components of healthy aging. Observed disparities are driven by a multifactorial set of environmental barriers and facilitators. This presentation will describe socio-environmental drivers of mobility among older adults and people with disabilities. Examples from recent work empirically testing relationships between built environment and mobility will be used to illustrate how environments shape mobility among people with disabilities. Environmental modification is needed to achieve societal inclusion and optimize individual participation among those aging with and into disability.

Free Falling: Dr. Carolyn Duncan to be featured on “Husky Bites”

Dr. Carolyn Duncan
Assistant Professor, KIP
Sarah Aslani
PhD Student, CLS

On Monday, November 14th, at 6:00 pm KIP’s Dr. Carolyn Duncan will be the latest guest on Husky Bites, a free and interactive Zoom webinar hosted by Dean Janet Callahan of the College of Engineering. Also joining in will be Cognitive and Learning Sciences PhD student Sarah Aslani, who is a member of Dr. Duncan’s Balance and Functional Mobility Lab.

During the 30-minute webinar, they will explore balance and fall prevention and discuss Dr. Duncan’s ongoing research on both topics. “We need greater understanding of exactly what affects our ability to regain our balance when we lose it. Not all risk factors affect balance in the same way. There are many unanswered questions, and that’s where our research comes in,” she explains in an interview she did for the College of Engineering Blog that highlights its Husky Bites guests.

To read the complete interview with Dr. Duncan and Sarah, go to the COE Blog. To tune in for their Husky Bites event, registration is required but free. All of the details can be found on the Husky Bites website.

Students conducting research in Dr. Duncan’s Balance and Functional Mobility Lab

From the Scientific Literature to the Field: KIP Graduate Students Present their Work at Two Recent Conferences

Graduate students in the Advanced Exercise Physiology Course (KIP 5000) recently attended several conferences and presented class projects collaboratively built through the first part of the semester. The course taught by Dr. Steven Elmer in the Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology (KIP), tasked students with conducting a literature search to evaluate the direct and indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on human health and society. In support of Exercise is Medicine on Campus Month, the student projects emphasized the important role that physical activity has in combating both chronic and infectious disease.

Midwest ACSM Conference

Master’s student Felix Cottet-Puinel and doctoral student Kyle Wehmanen attended the annual meeting for the Midwest Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine held in Indianapolis, Indiana on October 20-22, 2022. The mission and purpose of the conference was to promote scientific advancement, disseminate information regarding sports, physical activity, and medicine, and foster collaborative relationships between students, educators, scientists, and physicians across the region. Felix and Kyle presented their class work during the first poster session of the event with great success. Visitors were highly engaged with the poster’s topic spotlighting the problematic synergy between multiple long-standing health pandemics (non-communicable diseases) and the crisis of the emergent COVID-19 pandemic. Their work also laid out evidence based on the HL-PIVOT Model (Healthy Living for Pandemic Protection) for leveraging healthy living behaviors including physical activity to combat these multiple pandemics. They shared ways the KIP students and faculty are working to increase activity and health in our community. Our Michigan Tech attendees also enjoyed learning outside their direct areas of study. Dr. Andrew Jagim from the Mayo Clinic delivered a fantastic keynote on nutrition in athletes and how they are often not meeting their basic needs. Also during the trip, Felix, Kyle, and several other KIP graduate students visited Dr. John Durocher at Purdue University Northwest to foster collaborative relationships across institutions. At the end of the day, it was a fantastic experience. Felix said, “I learned a great deal, and had a ton of fun presenting. The only thing I would change is making the poster session twice as long!”

Felix Cottet-Puinel presenting at Midwest ASM
Felix Cottet-Puinel
master’s student
Kyle Wehmanen
PhD student

Global and Community Engagement Conference

Master’s students Tyler Hampton and Gwyn Hamlin presented at the D80 Conference here at Michigan Tech University on October 29, 2022. The theme of the interdisciplinary conference was “Re-energizing Our Communities Through Service.” These students expanded upon the work described above to deliver an oral presentation to a broad audience consisting of students, staff, faculty, and community members. A key component of the presentation was highlighting the community service that the KIP Department provides delivering live and recorded physical activity workouts through a free program called UP & Moving. Attendees were very interested in how the general public views “physical activity” as a means to go to the gym, while Tyler and Gwyn pointed out that this could be something as simple as walking the dog or shoveling snow during our long winters here in the Upper Peninsula. These students also had the opportunity to listen to the keynote speaker Dr. Kurt Paterson, who presented “Global Engagement, Problem-Solving, or Impact.” Dr. Paterson’s return to Michigan Tech was very welcomed as he participated in the first D80 Conference held here. This is especially true since he really got the audience thinking at the end of his presentation. After the conference Gwyn said, “I enjoyed the setting of the conference and I think it went well. We were able to answer questions at the end and provide additional information on the importance of being physically active during the pandemic and beyond.”

Gwyn Hamlin
master’s student
Tyler Hampton master’s student

Attending these conferences helped KIP graduate students gain valuable experience bridging the gap from classroom learning to a professional setting while sharing their ideas in a supportive environment. Moving forward, we plan to capture this momentum and include more graduate and undergraduate students in similar work. Finally, the graduate students would like to thank the KIP Department for their support, and specifically, Dr. Elmer for his guidance throughout the process.

KIP Students and Faculty Participate in UP Medical Conference

Sherry Chen, PhD student, Poster Session Winner (tied 3rd place)
Isaac Lennox, MS student, Poster Session Winner (1st place)

Students and faculty from the Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology and recently participated in the first annual Upper Peninsula Medial Conference, hosted by the Michigan Tech Health Research Institute, on August 26-28, 2022.

The focus of the conference was on rural health and health topics impacting rural communities (e.g., mental health, lifestyle medicine, diabetes, public health, orthopedics and sports medicine). Conference attendees included students, faculty, and clinicians from across the Upper Peninsula. The conference also provided continuing medical education credits for clinicians.

Graduate students Xingqian (Sherry) Chen, Isaac Lennox, Greg Miodonski, Isaac Wedig, and Kyle Wehmnanen presented their research and outreach-related projects. For the research category, Isaac Lennox and Sherry Chen earned awards for their poster presentations. For the physician’s choice category, Isaac Wedig and Kyle Wehmanen earned awards for their poster presentations. Isaac Lennox, Isaac Wedig, and Kyle Wehmanen, along with Dr. Elmer, delivered an interactive activity as part of the featured lecture on lifestyle medicine.

Isaac Wedig, PhD candidate, Physician’s Choice Winner (tied)
Greg Miodonski, MS student

Conference attendees also had the opportunity to tour the Exercise Physiology Laboratory and visit the Central Michigan University Physical Therapy Program – Satellite Campus. Dr. Chen and Dr. Elmer, served on the conference organizing committee. Dr. Elmer indicated that, based on feedback from attendees, the organizing committee is already discussing plans for improving the conference for next year.

Overall, the first annual Upper Peninsula Medial Conference was an excellent opportunity for students and faculty to showcase their work, learn more about rural health challenges, and network with clinicians. Thank you to the Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology Faculty for supporting costs for our students to attend this conference.

KIP Students Present at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting and World Congresses

Graduate students Isaac Wedig and Isaac Lennox accepting EIM-OC recognition certificate from former ACSM President Robert Sallis and EIM-OC Committee Chair Neil Peterson  
Isaac Lennox, Masters student, giving his presentation titled “Exercise Is Medicine On-Campus: A National analysis during the President’s Cup Competition
Isaac Wedig, PhD student, presenting his poster titled “A Prediction Equation for Blood Flow Restriction Exercise That Accounts of Cuff Width”

Graduate students from the Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology recently participated in the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Annual Meeting and World Congresses, held in San Diego, California from May 31- June 4, 2022.

The meeting featured over 200 hours of oral presentations and over 1,400 abstracts showcasing the latest research in exercise science and sports medicine. Two graduate students, Isaac Wedig and Isaac Lennox, attended the meeting where they each presented their respective research and outreach projects.

Isaac Wedig, a third year PhD student, presented a poster highlighting his research in the Exercise Physiology Lab titled “A Prediction Equation for Blood Flow Restriction Exercise That Accounts for Cuff Width.”

“Attending and presenting at the conference was a fantastic opportunity to receive feedback and meet other researchers doing similar work,” said Wedig.

After being selected as the top presenter at the regional Midwest ACSM meeting held in November of 2021, masters student Isaac Lennox was given the opportunity to present his work at the national meeting and compete in the prestigious President’s Cup competition. Competing against ten of the top presenters selected from around the country, Lennox delivered a 5-minute oral presentation to a panel of judges titled “Exercise is Medicine On-Campus: A National Analysis”.

“The opportunity to present my work at the ACSM national meeting was an experience like none other for me. Representing the regional Midwest ACSM was an honor, and I am extremely grateful to receive feedback from a panel of judges to move this project forward,” said Lennox. 

Both students attended a special ceremony hosted by the Exercise is Medicine World Congress which recognized each of the Exercise is Medicine On-Campus (EIM-OC) programs around the world. In March of 2021, Michigan Tech earned a silver level designation from the EIM-OC for their efforts to educate students, faculty, and staff about the benefits of increased physical activity and to create a culture of wellness on campus. During the ceremony, Wedig and Lennox accepted a certificate of recognition on behalf of Michigan Tech from former ACSM President Robert Sallis and EIM-OC Committee Chair Neil Peterson. “It was an honor to represent Michigan Tech as one of only 153 universities and colleges that were recognized around the world,” said Isaac Wedig. “Being acknowledged for our work was very motivating. It inspired us to push our efforts to promote physical activity at Michigan Tech even further.”

A special thank you to the students’ advisor, Dr. Steven Elmer, as well as the Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology, the Graduate Student Government, the Health Research Institute at Michigan Tech, and the ACSM for supporting conference attendance for these students.

Dr. Zhiying Shan Receives $1.6 Million in New Funding

Dr. Zhiying Shan
Dr. Qinghui Chen

Dr. Zhiying Shan (KIP) is the principal investigator (PI), and Dr. Qinghui Chen (KIP) is the Co-PI on a R01 project that has received $1.665,903 from the National Institutes of Health.

This four-year project is titled “Contribution of Orexin System to Hypertension.”

Orexins are neuropeptides secreted from the hypothalamus. They bind their receptors and participate in regulating multiple physiological functions in healthy and pathological conditions. Orexin receptors’ expression is observed to be increased in the brain cardiovascular relevant regions of hypertensive animal models. The objective of this project is to investigate whether increased brain orexin system results in hypertension, and whether blockage of orexin signaling prevents the development of hypertension. This study has potential to identify new therapeutic targets for hypertension treatment.

MS Student Greg Miodonski Recalls Experimental Biology 2022 Experience

After two years of virtual conferences, we finally made it to an in-person conference: Experimental Biology 2022 in Philadelphia. Each seminar-filled day was a cornucopia of knowledge, especially the Central Nervous System session chaired by Dr. Chen (MTU) and co-chaired by Dr. Patel (UNMC). Here, some of the foremost experts on exercise and autonomic control of the cardiovascular system discussed their latest research and methods. Beyond attending seminars and drinking inordinate amounts of coffee, I had the privilege of presenting our lab’s exercise and SK channel research to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as researchers, inside and outside our field. This was a nice opportunity to get feedback and suggestions on how to improve our research going forward. Additionally, after being worn down from months of experiments and troubleshooting, seeing how your research fits into the larger scientific field was a gratifying breath of fresh air.

Experimental Biology 2022, as told by PhD Student Jessica Bruning

As a fourth year Ph.D. student, networking is pertinent to the expansion of my professional prospects after graduation. Experimental Biology (EB) is an annual international conference put on by five societies featuring lectures, symposia, poster presentations, and various professional workshops.  As an interdisciplinary scientist, my research spans from the impacts of the gut microbiome on neurophysiology to the effects of high salt diet on neurogenic cardiovascular diseases. EB welcomes scientists and biological educators in multiple areas of expertise, largely from the United States. The energy in the building was charged with enthusiasm and merriment as friends reconnected to discuss revolutionary science at one of the first in-person natural and life sciences conference this year. The symposium “Exercise and Autonomic Regulation of Cardiovascular Function” chaired by the KIP departments’ very own Dr. Qinghui Chen sticks out in my mind in particular. Another KIP graduate student, Isaac Wedig, and I walked up to the conference room slightly confused by the amount of people pouring into the hallway. After moving through the crowd, we discovered all seats were filled and walls were lined with spectators eager to listen to this invigorating symposium. The speakers presented novel findings followed by an eruption of applause, all of which was observed by me in the only available space, the floor.  

This year EB took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, “The City of Brotherly Love”. Being my first time in this city, me and several other graduate students found time away from professional networking and groundbreaking science to explore the richness of the city. Philadelphia is home to several historical and cultural must-sees including the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, The Reading Terminal Market, and the Rocky statue. The city is scattered with sculptures, beautiful pieces of art, hip breweries, and tasteful restaurants. Isaac and I were delightfully reunited with Ian Greenland, Jeremy Bigalke, and Joshua Gonzalez, fellow Huskies that are dispersed throughout the country. Reconnecting with friends, colleagues, and fellow scientists from all over the country was extremely informative and electrifying. I greatly appreciated the opportunity to represent the Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology Department during my time in Philadelphia.  

KIP Department Recognizes Student Achievements

The KIP department congratulates our graduate students, undergraduate students, and alum for their recent accomplishments. Our compliments go out to them and the faculty who support their efforts.

Undergraduate Students
Megan Keranen and Leah Preston earned 2nd and 3rd place awards for the top World Water Day Presentations.  PFAS Groundwater Contamination in Michigan
The Physical Impacts of Water Carrying in Relation to Groundwater

MS Students
Isaac Lennox and Carmen Scarfone were awarded the Midwest American College of Sports Medicine President’s Cup Award for their Exercise is Medicine on campus research. They will now travel to the National ACSM Meeting to compete against the other regional winners for the National-Level President’s Cup Award. This is one of the most prestigious student awards through the ACSM. 
Exercise is Medicine on Campus: A National Analysis and Implications for Rural Health

PhD Students
Isaac Wedig was awarded 1st place for one of the top oral presentations at the MTU Graduate Student Research Colloquium.  A Practical Application of Blood Flow Restriction Exercise

Alumni  Josh Gonzalez had part of his dissertation research accepted for publication in American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, a very reputable APS physiology journal. Gonzalez JE and Cooke WH. The influence of an acute fast on ambulatory blood pressure and autonomic cardiovascular control. American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. In Press, 2022.

KIP March Seminar: Creating Systems that Promote Equity, A Journey Across Disciplines

Please join us in-person or through Zoom this Friday, March 25, from 3:30 to 4:30 pm for this month’s KIP Seminar.

This event is co-sponsored by CLS, KIP, and CSA, and is sponsored in part by the Michigan Tech Visiting Professor Program, which is funded by a grant to the Office of the Provost from the State of Michigan’s King-Chavez-Parks Initiative.

Please see the flyer for more details about Dr. Rupa Valdez and for the Zoom link.