Research

Part of the School of Kinesiology’s mission is to conduct innovative, interdisciplinary research in physical activity, human movement, and sport. The majority of research done in the School is conducted within School labs or centers. Additional research takes place with individual School faculty. Research within the School of Kinesiology is collaborative and cross-disciplinary in nature.

Learn more about research opportunities

If you’re interested in research while studying at the School of Kinesiology, review the labs and centers listed below, as well as the faculty bios.

Research labs and centers (A-Z)

Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory (APAL)

Thomas Stoffregen, PhD, lab director
Emphasis Area: Perceptual Motor Control and Learning

The principal focus of the Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory (APAL) is on perception and action in virtual environments. Research programs are motivated primarily by the ecological approach to human-machine systems. Areas of research include driving, postural control, performance in head-mounted displays, and motion sickness. Collaborative links exist with researchers in the US, Canada, France, and Japan.

Behavioral Physical Activity Laboratory (BPAL)

Daheia Barr-Anderson, PhD, lab director

Research conducted in the Behavioral Physical Activity Laboratory (BPAL) focuses primarily on physical activity, sedentary behaviors, and obesity prevention in youth and adults. Recent and current studies include the examination of the physical and social environments of physical activity and healthy eating among African-American girls; an obesity prevention, randomized controlled trial in rural children; and a feasibility trial using yoga to decrease sedentary behavior in African-American women.

Center for Clinical Movement Science (CCMS)

Jürgen Konczak, PhD, center director

The Clinical Movement Science Center (CCMS) is an interdisciplinary organization at the University of Minnesota focusing on problems affecting the human motor system. Its faculty offer perspectives from the fields of engineering, kinesiology, the neurological, rehabilitation, and clinical sciences.

Exercise & Mental Health Laboratory (EMHL)

Beth Lewis, PhD, lab director

Research conducted in the Exercise and Mental Health Lab (EMHL) examines the effect of physical activity on mental health. Studies have included randomized trials examining theory-based behavioral strategies to increase exercise among individuals at risk for mental health issues and the effect of high intensity interval training on affective responses to exercise. Most recent studies have examined the effect of telephone-based physical activity interventions on preventing perinatal depression among women who are at high risk for depression.

Global Institute for Responsible Sport Organizations (GIRSO)

Lisa A. Kihl, PhD, lab director

The Global Institute for Responsible Sport Organizations (GIRSO) serves as a global hub for advancing sport organizations’ role in positively contributing to communities. It aims to become a global leader in generating and disseminating new knowledge that transforms how sport organizations use their resources, core competencies, and networks to address social priorities of communities.

Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory (HSCL)

Jürgen Konczak, PhD, lab director

Researchers in this lab attempt to enhance understanding of how the human brain controls movement. Studies focus on recording neuropsychological, psychophysical, electrophysiological, and biomechanical measurements in humans. Researchers examine how infants and children learn to reach for objects and how people with certain diseases lose their coordination. Through these studies, we hope to learn how the nervous system coordinates multiple limb movement.

Human Sport Performance Laboratory (HSPL)

Christopher Lundstrom, PhD, lab director

The Human Sport Performance Laboratory (HSPL) provides teaching and research facilities that include exercise testing using treadmill, cycle ergometer, underwater weighing for body composition, resting metabolic testing, heart rate variability assessment, and isokinetic dynamometry. Research in this lab focuses on endurance exercise performance, cardiovascular fitness, muscular and anaerobic function, and performance.

Laboratory of Integrative Human Physiology (LIHP)

Donald Dengel, PhD, lab director

The principal focus of the Laboratory of Integrative Human Physiology (LIHP) is to examine the effects of various disease states and treatments on vascular and cardiac systems in an integrative approach. LIHP researchers often collaborate with a number of researchers at the University of Minnesota in various departments such as Pediatrics, Epidemiology, Preventive Cardiology, Oncology, as well as researchers in the University of Minnesota Clinic Research Center, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene and Exercise Science (LPHES)

Li Li Ji, PhD, lab director

The Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene and Exercise Science (LPHES) has recently completed the large multi-center HERITAGE Family Exercise Study. This study examined the interaction of exercise and genetics on risk factors for coronary artery disease and diabetes. Other research focuses at LPHES include studies funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs evaluating the relationships between insulin resistance, sodium sensitivity, blood flow, vascular structure and function, and blood pressure.

NeuroRehabilitation Across the Lifespan (NeuRAL Lab)

Rachel Hawe, PhD, lab director

The goal of the NeuroRehabilitation Across the Lifespan (NeuRAL Lab) is to improve arm function in children and adults with neurologic impairments. We are primarily focused on motor and sensory impairments due to a stroke, which can happen at any point across the lifespan, including before birth (often causing cerebral palsy).

Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory (PAEL)

Zan Gao, PhD, lab director

The mission of the Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory (PAEL) is to improve the health of Americans through empirical research, increasing public awareness, and policy advocacy on issues in relation to physical activity intervention, physical activity correlates, physical health, and obesity.

Skeletal Muscle Plasticity and Regeneration Laboratory (SMPRL)

Sarah Greising, PhD, lab director

The goals of the laboratory revolve around the plasticity and regeneration of skeletal muscle, in efforts to mitigate the devastating functional limitations of limb salvage and traumatic muscle injuries. SMPRL research examines the musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems in efforts to understand and develop effective strategies to address the deleterious effects of complex traumatic muscle injuries, namely volumetric muscle loss. Ongoing work broadly encompasses investigating muscle and nerve interactions, metabolic and fibrotic comorbidities, regenerative rehabilitation treatment strategies, and the combination of these in more complex orthopedic injuries.

Sports Medicine Psychology Laboratory (SMPL)

Diane Wiese-Bjornstal, PhD, lab director

The Sports Medicine Psychology Laboratory (SMPL) focuses on theory, research, and professional practice in the psychological, behavioral, and sociocultural aspects of sport injury prevention and care. SMPL researchers embrace interdisciplinary perspectives through collaborations with diverse professionals (such as sport coaches, athletic trainers, and sport psychology consultants) and researchers (such as orthopedic surgeons, exercise physiologists, horticulturists, and geospatial scientists). Recent investigations include religiosity in coping with sport injuries, intersections between sports turf conditions and risk of sport injuries, and psychological responses of athletes to sport injuries.

Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport

Nicole M. LaVoi, PhD, center director

This interdisciplinary center is the first of its kind in the world solely dedicated to examining the impact of sport, recreation, and physical activity on the lives of girls and women, their families and communities. The Tucker Center’s mission is to conduct research, education, and community outreach, to make a difference in the lives of girls and women in sport.