Collaborations & Services
- The Applied Physiology (PI: Dr. Philip Gallagher) and Jayhawk Athletic Performance (Dr. Andrew Fry) Labs are a part of the Osness Human Performance Laboratories housed in the Department of Health, Sport, and Exercise Sciences.
- Energy Balance Research Project (PI: Dr. Robin Shook) is a part of the Center of Children’s Healthy Lifestyles and Nutrition at Children’s at Mercy Kansas City.
- Dr. John Thyfault’s Lab in the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
Trent J Herda
Opportunities for Students & Fellow Researchers
- The influence of resistance exercise training on motor unit activity and skeletal muscle function in young children and adults;
- The contributions of muscle lipids on metabolic and physical performance impairments in physically inactive children;
- Research that explores determinants of motor unit activity during a variety of tasks across the life span;
Testing Capabilities & Equipment
In the Neuromechanics Laboratory, researchers have a particular interest in understanding underlying mechanisms that alter skeletal muscle function between populations or following short- or long-term resistance exercise training interventions. Importantly, we aim to translate improvements to skeletal muscle function on metabolic and physical performance in children.
We utilize a variety of measurements in the laboratory to explore skeletal muscle function:
- decomposition methods to examine motor unit activity;
- nerve stimulation for voluntary activation and resting twitch forces;
- ultrasound to measure muscle cross-sectional area and quality (echo intensity);
- MR spectroscopy to directly measure lipid concentrations and saturation levels in skeletal muscle;
- muscle biopsies to examine muscle fiber type characteristics; and
- isokinetic testing to measure muscular strength and power.
In addition, we include physical activity assessments via accelerometers, insulin resistance, and cardiorespiratory fitness tests to better understand the ramifications of poor skeletal muscle function on metabolic and physical performance in physically inactive children.
The current direction of the Neuromechanics Laboratory is to examine the influence of excessive muscle lipids via MR spectroscopy in children on skeletal muscle development, including indices related to metabolic function and physical performance. We include resistance exercise training interventions in this research to provide direct evidence of the contributions of muscle lipids on poor skeletal muscle and metabolic function.