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Research and Laboratories

Student Research Opportunities                     Open Prairie Collection

The mission of the School of Health and Consumer Sciences is to focus on improving the quality of life regionally, nationally and globally by fostering life-long learners, conducting innovative research and teaching and delivering effective education and outreach. Our faculty work collaboratively to improve individuals’ health and translate scientific discoveries into practice through translational research, discovering through basic research, and progress to the clinical level and application. 

Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity Laboratory

Dr. Kendra Kattelmann (nutrition education) and Dr. Jessica Meendering (physical activity) collaborate to direct the Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Laboratory at SDSU. Together, these researchers contribute to our understanding of how environments and education impact diet and physical activity behaviors of individuals throughout the lifespan, especially among rural populations. Graduate Research Assistants that work in the Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Laboratory gain valuable experience in all aspects of the research process and work toward publication of their thesis work. Past projects have included examining associations between school wellness policies and school environments in elementary schools and exploring the associations between the home food environment and preschool child diet, physical activity and weight status. For more information and to see current research projects, visit the Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity Laboratory website.

Biomechanics & Human Movement Science Laboratory

The Biomechanics and Human Movement Science Laboratory is equipped with 3D motion capture (Qualisys; 6 Oqus 300 series cameras), ground reaction force plates (AMTI; BP400600HF, BP600900 and AccuPower) and Visual 3D software for post processing. The lab equipment is used for the study of the application of mechanical principles to human movement. Although the equipment is suited for the analysis of a variety of movements, the focus of the lab is lower extremity biomechanics. Current and future projects include; Biomechanics of functional activities for people with multiple sclerosis, Mechanical asymmetries in people with multiple sclerosis, Running mechanics of obese children and the relationship between running mechanics, diet and bone mineral density. 

Health and Human Performance Laboratory

The Health and Human Performance Laboratory is equipped for exercise and performance testing, personal fitness evaluation assessment, physical activity assessment and vascular function testing. The HHP Laboratory has an extensive list of equipment including, but not limited to: 150 Actigraph Accelerometers, 150 New Lifestyles Pedometers, Siemens Sequoia Ultrasound and Vascular Imaging Transducer, Medical Imaging Applications Vascular Tools 5 Software, Hokanson Rapid Cuff Inflation System, BIOPAC Data Acquisition System, BIOPAC Non-Invasive Blood Pressure Monitor, Woodway Treadmill, Trackmaster Treadmill, Cybex Isokinetic Dynamometer, Quinton Cardiac Science EKG Cart, 8 Monark Cycle Ergometers, Lode Cycle Ergometer, Vertec Vertical Jump System, COSMED Bod Pod, Parvo Medics Metabolic Cart, Two Velotron Cycle Ergometers, Cholestech LDX System, Fisher Scientific Marathon Centrifuge, Bio-Rad Microplate Reader and washer and Genesys Spectrophotometer. An additional space is dedicated to a training facility, which includes strength training equipment and a Multi-rider CompuTrainer system. 

For more information, you can e-mail Dr. Jessica Meendering.

Molecular Nutrition Laboratory

The Molecular Nutrition Laboratory is located on the fourth floor of Wagner Hall in Brookings's main campus of SDSU. The laboratory houses modern equipment used to achieve a comprehensive understanding of how differential responses to dietary factors link across levels of human systems biology i.e. physical, biochemical, physiological and novel omics-based (metagenomics, gene expression, metabolomics) endpoints during adult life. As a modern fast-paced society, we prioritize short-term quick fixes through symptom management (e.g. using pharmaceuticals) over promoting natural holistic well-being. However, population health data (source: CDC, WHO) suggest that this approach to health solutions did not alleviate the chronic disease burden. The next-generation of robust lifestyle-oriented research can help validate or discard many existing weakly-held nutritional-health concepts to potentially inform long-term public health improvement.  

If you would like more information regarding the Nutrigenomics Laboratory or you'd like to learn more about Dr. Dey’s research, you can email Dr. Moul Dey.

Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Laboratory

Dr. Lee Weidauer is the director of the Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Laboratory at SDSU.  The primary focus areas of this lab are the prevention and treatment of orthopedic injuries and conditions through dietary and physical activity interventions. Research Focus includes:

  • Identifying risk factors for post-traumatic osteoarthritis following anterior cruciate ligament injuries.
  • Dietary interventions aimed at improving recovery following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. 
  • Dietary interventions to improve outcomes following joint replacement surgery
  • A remote intervention aimed at the treatment of sarcopenia in older adults
  • Bone health throughout the lifespan
  • Repetitive use injuries

If you would like more information regarding the Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Laboratory or you'd like to learn more about Dr. Weidauer's research, you can email Dr. Lee Weidauer

Individual Faculty Research Focus Areas

  • Moul Dey’s molecular nutrition research aims at understanding how dietary factors influence human health and diseases to ultimately help inform effective policies and consumer education for disease prevention initiatives. Food provides our body with the instructions that it needs to function optimally. With every second, an American adult is afflicted with at least one debilitating chronic disease. The formidable public health challenges we face today require dramatic shifts in research priorities to include mechanistic discoveries at lower levels of biological organization (cells, animal models) to meet the burning questions faced at the whole organism levels (human subject research). Key contributions to science from my team are: 
    • Human subject studies involving residents from South Dakota: observational as well as feeding interventions describing metabolic phenotypes resulting from diet and gut microbiota interactions.  
    • Amongst a handful of research teams to have tested the Dietary Guidelines for Americans from USDA in a U.S.-registered randomized controlled feeding trial. 
    • A role of maternal diet in shaping offspring cardiometabolic health in-utero through epigenetically regulated cardiac gene expression. 
    • Elucidation of biological activities and underlying molecular mechanisms of anti-inflammatory and chemopreventive dietary compounds.  
    • Establishment of a cell-based high content platform for screening biologically active phytonutrients as well as optimized tools for genotype to phenotype discovery. 
  • Elizabeth Droke’s research focuses on the influence of bioactive food components on obesity and chronic inflammation. This includes the development of translational animal models and impacts on the immune system.
  • Becky Jensen focuses research efforts on school-based nutrition and physical activity programs for pre-adolescent youth and cross-age/peer led health promotion efforts.
  • Kendra Kattelmann has an active research program in the development of behavior and environmental based programs for prevention of obesity in the 18-24 year old population. She has additional research foci in the use of traditional diet and control of type 2 diabetes in the Northern Plains Indian and effects of lean beef on iron and lipid status.   
  • September Kirby collaborates on research that focuses on promoting healthy lifestyle behavior in both individuals and worksite wellness environments. In addition, she is interested in effective health education strategies.
  • Xu Li's research focuses on hospitality marketing, destination marketing and management and consumer behavior in the hospitality and tourism industry.
  • Hung-Ling (Stella) Liu’s research focuses on individuals’ social and psychological development through recreation and managing natural resources for sustaining community social, economic and environmental assets. Such research topics includes community recreation participants’ leisure pursuit and identity, recreation need assessment, health benefits and social values of parks, nature resource management for recreational use and tourism development, feasibility study and economic impact, and visit pattern and visitor experience.
  • Jessica Meendering’s research focuses on physical activity promotion and sedentary time reductions in women and children to reduce the risk of chronic disease. She also has an excellent research history investigating macro and microvascular function and is currently bridging the gap between her research focus areas by investigating the impact of physical activity and sedentary time on vascular function. In addition, Dr. Meendering leads the Transdisciplinary Obesity Prevention Certificate Program at South Dakota State University. 
  • Tracy Nelson's research focuses on Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) standards as they relate to teacher candidates and teacher training. The overall purpose of her research is to enhance the PETE teaching practices to ensure quality-teaching practices in the field of physical education and health.  
  • Trevor Roiger's research interests include the psychological influence of sport-related injury and the effect of head injuries on pediatric quality of life. He also focuses on the dynamics of higher education and their impact on athletic training education programs.
  • Bryan Romsa’s research interests include leadership behaviors and development in sport management students through service learning. He also focuses on collegiate student athlete leadership development through community service and volunteerism.
  • Matthew Vukovich’s research focuses on the interaction of nutrition and exercise on body composition, hormones and Muscle-Bone Relationships. He also investigates the impact of exercise training on iron status.
  • Lee Weidauer's research focuses on the utilization of nutritional interventions and exercise in the prevention and treatment of orthopedic injuries and conditions. Through this work, Dr. Weidauer aims to reduce the long-term burden of orthopedic injuries and conditions in an effort to maintain or improve quality of life. Some particular injuries and conditions that Dr. Weidauer focuses on include ACL prevention and treatment along with the treatment and prevention of osteoarthritis.
  • Mary Beth Zwart’s research focuses on the use of therapeutic modalities and exercise in clinical practice. As well, Mary Beth has investigated evidence based practice teaching pedagogies related to Athletic Training Education Programs.