Department of Kinesiology

Current Research

Applied Neuromechanics/Sports Medicine | Athletic Training | Community Youth Sport Development | Exercise Physiology | Motor Behavior | Sport and Exercise Psychology

Here is a sampling of research, being conducted by Kinesiology faculty and their research teams.
Information is listed according to area of study. For more information, contact the investigator(s).

Applied Neuromechanics/Sports Medicine

ACL Injury Risk Factors in a Collegiate Population

ACL injury can profoundly impact on health and physical activity, both immediately following injury and reconstructive surgery, and later in life as a consequence of the early onset of osteoarthritis. These complications are of greatest concern in young active females, who are at a 2 to 9 times greater risk of suffering ACL injury compared to equivalently trained males. Advancing our knowledge of the underlying risk factors of ACL injuries will further the development of optimal prevention, rehabilitation and training strategies to reduce the risk of sport-related injury, thereby enhancing the beneficial effects of physical activity on women’s health for all ages. This project aims to pre-screen university athletes on suspected anatomical, hormonal, neuromuscular and biomechanical risk factors and to then prospectively follow them over the course of their collegiate career for lower extremity injury incidence. Investigators: Randy Schmitz, Sandra Shultz and Anh-Dung Nguyen.

Changes in Serum Collagen Marker Levels Across the Menstrual Cycle

Sex hormones appear to have a profound effect on joint laxity, as cyclic changes in joint laxity have been observed across the menstrual cycle. This study aims to understand the potential mechanisms by which hormones mediate these changes in joint laxity. Specifically, we are examining the association between changes in sex hormones with changes in markers of collagen metabolism across the menstrual cycle.
Investigators: Sandra Shultz and Laurie Wideman (Co-PIs).
Partial funding provided by NIH-NIAMS # R01 AR053172, UNCG Regular Faculty Grant, UNCG Safrit Award

Gender Differences in Lower Extremity Anatomy and Posture, and their Influence on Functional Knee Stability and ACL Injury Risk

Females and males are known to vary widely in their lower extremity anatomy, including aspects of lower extremity alignment (hip, knee and ankle), body composition and joint geometry. These investigations seek to quantify these sex differences empirically, and determine the extent to which these anatomical factors may contribute to the sex differences in lower extremity neuromuscular and biomechanical function that have often been observed. We also seek to understand how these sex differences emerge during the maturation process. Understanding the development of these sex differences, and their role in modifying lower extremity function may help us to better clarify their role as potential lower extremity injury risk factors.
Investigators: Sandra Shultz, Randy Schmitz

Hormone Mediated Changes in Knee Laxity, and Their Impact on Functional Knee Stability

Greater knee laxity has been identified as a predictor of ACL injury risk in females, and there is now sufficient evidence that sex hormones mediate cyclic changes in knee laxity across the menstrual cycle and in large part account for greater knee laxity in females compared to males. The aim of this project is to determine the consequence of both greater absolute baseline anterior knee laxity (ABSAKL) and cyclic increases in anterior knee laxity (CYCAKL) on knee joint neuromechanics during functional activities. Our rationale for examining the effects of both greater absolute baseline and cyclic increases in knee laxity on weight bearing knee joint neuromechanics is that the successful completion of this work will advance our understanding of the factors contributing to “at risk” joint positions that are known to strain and injure the ACL. Because we expect that cyclic increases in knee laxity will be a significant predictor of at risk knee joint neuromechanics, we also plan to develop a predictive algorithm that will better enable clinicians and researchers in future prospective studies to reliably identify female hormone responders (those who experience cyclic increases in knee laxity > 3mm) based on several key hormone measures.
Investigators: Sandra Shultz (PI), Randy Schmitz, Laurie Wideman, Beverly Levine, BD Beynnon, and David Perrin
Project funded by NIH-NIAMS # R01 AR053172, 3R01AR053172 - 01A1W1 and through a cooperative agreement with the University of Virginia Center for Research in Reproduction Ligand Assay and Analysis Core, NICHD (SCCPRR) Grant U54-HD28934.

Athletic Training

Best Practices in Athletic Training Education

Athletic training didactic and clinical education allows for the application of a variety of instructional techniques. We are examining questions related to the types of active learning strategies that are most effective in the laboratory and clinical settings. Specifically we are examining issues that revolve around peer assisted learning and critical thinking in entry-level athletic training students. Investigator: Jolene M. Henning

Community Youth Sport Development

Qualities that impact on commitment, leadership, and career aspirations in children and youth

Tom Martinek is a professor in the Department of Kinesiology. During his 32-year tenure at University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) Tom’s research has focused identifying programs qualities that impact on commitment, leadership, and career aspirations in children and youth. He has spent the past fifteen years directing and teaching in youth development programs which have served over 500 under served youth. He also provides pre- and in-service staff development programs for practitioners who work with at-risk, under served children and youth both in the US and abroad.

Exercise Physiology

Cardiac Metabolism

Work in my cardiac metabolism laboratory centers on understanding function, metabolism, and intrinsic adaptations of the heart. The primary experimental models used in my lab are the isolated perfused rat heart and mitochondria. We are very interested in sorting out how molecular changes within the heart affect its function under normal and stressful conditions. A current focus is to study the interactions among exercise, statins, and aging. Statins (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) were originally developed to lower cholesterol, but are now known to have far reaching effects independent of cholesterol. Both exercise and statin treatment can result in intrinsic adaptations that protect the heart against injury following a bout of ischemia. Studies are underway to investigate whether exercise and statins protect the heart by similar mechanisms and whether their combined effects are additive.
Investigator: Joe Starnes

Changes in Serum Collagen Marker Levels Across the Menstrual Cycle

Exercise Physiology

General focus is sports nutrition and exercise metabolism in relation to skeletal muscle and cardiovascular function. The current research focus is on the understanding of the interaction effects of exercise and nutrition on the formation and processing of reactive species as they relate to skeletal muscle function and cardiovascular function. We are also investigating the role of several hormonal and humeral factors that may regulate metabolism and blood flow regulation.
Investigator: Allan Goldfarb

Hormone Mediated Changes in Knee Laxity, and Their Impact on Functional Knee Stability

Hormonal Responses to Exercise

The endocrine system has numerous functions and influences almost every cell and organ. One of the primary functions is the maintenance of homeostasis, but it is also instrumental in controlling growth and development, regulating mood, coordinating metabolism, optimizing tissue function and controlling sexual function. Exercise and physical activity stress the body's ability to maintain homeostasis and provide a unique opportunity to study the endocrine system. The focus of our current work is understanding the complex role of exercise-induced growth hormone in regulating changes in body composition and how it influences collagen production and turnover. In addition, we are interested in understanding how modifying physical activity and exercise can influence chronic disease risk by altering the endocrine system.

Investigator: Laurie Wideman

Motor Behavior

Movement Accuracy

Movement accuracy is important for most tasks performed in daily living and sporting activities. We study the neuromuscular control of movement accuracy, and how it is influenced by aging, fatigue, and training.
Investigator: Kurt Kornatz

Pedagogical Kinesiology

Expanding Students’ Understanding of Cognitive Concepts in Physical Education

The Pedagogical Kinesiology Lab has just begun a large scale, NIH funded 5-year research project, The Science of Healthful Living, to design and implement an innovative physical education curriculum for middle schools. The randomized field-based clinical trial study involves 20 middle schools, dozens of physical education teachers, and thousands of children in the Piedmont area of North Carolina.
Investigators: Ang Chen and Catherine D. Ennis

Sport and Exercise Psychology

ACL Injury Risk Factors in a Collegiate Population

Physical Activity (PA) and Cognition

Physical activity is known to be beneficial for the cognitive performance of older adults and children. We are pursuing questions related to the mechanisms underlying these effects, the dose response nature of the effects, and the specific populations for whom this is most beneficial.
Investigator: Jennifer L. Etnier

Social Psychology and Physical Activity

Physical activity is a key to health and well-being, yet many people do not achieve the benefits. We use social cognitive models with emphasis on social context and gender/cultural diversity issues to explore physical activity and psychological well-being. Current research emphasizes quality of life within community-based programs that promote physical activity and healthy lifestyles for all.
Investigator: Diane L. Gill