Ji spends productive sabbatical month at University of Valencia, Spain

Dr. Ji and Dr. Viña

Li Li Ji, Ph.D., professor and director of the LPHES in the School of Kinesiology, has finished a one-month visit to the University of Valencia, Spain, as part of his planned sabbatical activity. During his stay, he met with the University’s Faculty of Medicine led by Dr. Josè Viña, and with Dr. Carmen Gomez, a visiting scholar in LPHES last summer, to discuss continuing collaborations on research in the field of muscle biology and aging.

Ji gave two presentations to UV faculty, titled “Mechanism and prevention of muscle disuse atrophy via DNA transfection” and “Oat phytochemicals: Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.” The University of Valencia Medical College is a highly respected institution in Europe, and its former dean, Santiago Ramón y Cajal, shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1906. Ji’s visiting professorship was sponsored by a grant from the European Union.

Three Kinesiology faculty give lectures on exercise and healthy aging in Chinese cities in June

School of Kinesiology professors Juergen Konczak, Ph.D., Li Li Ji, Ph.D., and Michael Wade, Ph.D.,  gave invited lectures at one international conference and three Chinese universities  from June 9 through June 15. Their talks centered broadly around a theme of exercise and healthy aging, and how age-related changes in older adults affect balance and posture.

Dr. Wade and Dr. Konczak first gave two keynote addresses at the China Preschool Children Health Conference held in Suzhou, a fast-growing modern city outside Shanghai. They then visited Shanxi University in Taiyuan, the capital city in Shanxi province in northwestern China with 4.2 million people. Next they traveled by high-speed rail to Tianjin, where they presented at Tianjin Sport University, a long-time partner of the School of Kinesiology. Their final lecture was at Hebei University in Shijiazhuan, where the first modern higher education institution in China was founded in 1895.





Tianou Zhang, Kinesiology PhD candidate, to present at U’s Doctoral Research Showcase April 11

The University’s tenth annual Doctoral Research Showcase will include a presentation by Tianou Zhang, Kinesiology Ph.D. candidate and advisee of Li Li Ji, Ph.D., director of the School of Kinesiology.

The Showcase will be held Tuesday, April 11 from 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. in the Great Hall, Coffman Memorial Union.

The goal of the Doctoral Research Showcase is to help doctoral fellows develop their abilities to talk about their research to audiences outside of their disciplines and to gain exposure for their work with key stakeholders.

Mr. Zhang’s research presentation is “Dietary Antioxidant Protection Against Inflammation in Exercise and Obesity.” All Kinesiology colleagues are invited to attend and support Mr. Zhang.

For more information about the event or to view a list of all of this year’s participants, visit: z.umn.edu/drs2017.

Ji receives Grant-in-Aid for research

Dr. LiLi JiLi Li Ji, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene and Exercise Science has received a Grant-in-Aid. The title of the study is “In vivo DNA Transfection and Sarcopenia: A Mouse Model.” This research will be supported from January 2017 until June 2018.

Administered through the Office of the Vice President for Research, the Grant-in-Aid program funds are awarded in the belief that the quality of faculty research or artistic endeavors are a major determinant of the overall vitality of the University of Minnesota.

Ji, Hoffman to present at AORE Summit Series

Dr. LiLi Ji
Dr. LiLi Ji
Mitch Hoffman
Mitch Hoffman

Li Li Ji, Ph.D., director of the School of Kinesiology and director of the Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene and Exercise Science (LPHES), and Mitch Hoffman, RecWell director of the Center for Outdoor Adventure, will be co-presenting at the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE) 2016 Summit Series with Jeannette Stawski, Executive Director of AORE. Their presentation topic is “AORE’s Advocacy Abroad: Meeting the Needs of the Asian Culture” and it will take place Wednesday, Nov. 9 in Minneapolis, MN.

AORE is an organization dedicated to providing opportunities for professionals and students in the field of outdoor recreation and education to exchange information, promote the preservation and conservation of the natural environment, and address issues common to college, university, community, military, and other not-for- profit outdoor recreation and education programs. Supporting the 2016 conference theme, “Innovate. Collaborate. Recreate.”, the two day series is designed to first take an “inward-facing” look at program growth and innovation touching upon opportunities to build and solidify partnerships on campus that result in broadening the student experience. Day two will feature “outward-facing” issues that impact our programs where they intersect with external stakeholders.

View the full Summit Series schedule here.

Leon named Top Doctor of the Year in Higher Education by IAOTP

Arthur Leon, M.D., School of Kinesiology professor, has been named 2016-17 “Top Doctor of the Year in Higher Education” by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP).

IAOTP is an international boutique networking organization that identifies the most prestigious top professionals from different industries. These professionals are given an opportunity to collaborate, share ideas, be keynote speakers, and help influence others in their field.

Read the full press release here.

Ji, LPHES lab members presenting at ACSM

ACSM_logoThis week at the American College of Sport Medicine (ACSM) Annual Meeting in Boston, Li Li Ji, PhD, Kinesiology professor  and director, and director of  the Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene and Exercise Science (LPHES), will be making the following presentations with lab members:

  • Protection of Avenanthramides On TNFα-induced Muscle Cell Atrophy Via NFκB Inhibition (Dongwook Yeo, Kinesiology doctoral student, Chounghun Kang, postdoctoral associate, and Li Li Ji)
  • Anti-inflammatory Effect of Avenanthramides Via Nf-κB Pathways in C2c12 Skeletal Muscle Cells (Kang, Woo Shik Shin,  graduate student, Yeo, and Ji)

Leon receives 2016 Honor Award from American College of Sports Medicine

Arthur Leon, M.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology, has been selected by the American College of Sports Medicine as a 2016 Honors Award recipient. This award is granted to an individual with a distinguished career of outstanding scientific and scholarly contributions to sports medicine and/or the exercise sciences.

Dr. Leon received his B.S. from the University of Florida (1952) and an M.S. (1954) and an M.D. (1957) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 1973, Leon joined the Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene and Exercise Science (LPHES) at the University of Minnesota, where his research resulted in over 100 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters. Today Dr. Leon is internationally recognized for his research on the role of physical activity in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and for advancing the understanding of the role of genetic and non-genetic factors in the variability of responsiveness to exercise training.

“Arthur S. Leon, M.D., M.S., one of the ‘World’s Top Cardiologists’ and a ‘giant’ in the fields  of exercise science and cardiovascular medicine, is most deserving of the 2016 ACSM Honor Award,” said Wayne State University professor and ACSM past president Barry Franklin. “His primary research focus, the role of exercise, diet and lipids in the primary and secondary prevention of coronary disease, has culminated in ~300 peer-reviewed scientific publications, including several seminal papers. He has served as the PI on 5 major, multi-year NIH grants and PI or Co-PI on dozens of additional grants.”

Currently Leon is the Henry L. Taylor Professor of Exercise Science in the School of Kinesiology, where his continued commitment to research and teaching serves as a model and motivation for both students and colleagues.

Dr. Leon will be honored at the ACSM’s Annual Meeting Awards Banquet on June 3 in Boston, MA.

Zhang awarded Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship

Tino Zhang

Doctoral candidate Tianou “Tino” Zhang has been awarded a prestigious Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship for the 2016-2017 academic year from the University of Minnesota’s Graduate School.

Zhang’s research, “Dietary Antioxidant Protection against Inflammation in Exercise and Obesity,” is conducted in the Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene and Exercise Science. Zhang intends to research whether oats and olive oil supplementation can increase antioxidant capacity and reduce inflammation in heavy exercise and obesity. He is advised by LPHES lab director, Dr. Li Li Ji

The Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (DDF) gives the University’s most accomplished doctoral candidates an opportunity to devote full-time effort to an outstanding research project by providing time to finalize and write a dissertation during the fellowship year. The award includes a stipend of $23,000 for the academic year (September-May), tuition for up to 14 thesis credits each semester (fall & spring), and subsidized health insurance through the Graduate Assistant Health Plan.

Ji gives keynote address on Globalization of Kinesiology at ICHPER-SD conference

Li LiLi Li Ji, Ph.D., director and professor in the School of Kinesiology, gave an opening  keynote address on “Globalization of Kinesiology” at the SHAPE America National Convention and Exposition held in Minneapolis earlier this month. Ji’s keynote was presented to the International Council on Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport, and Dance (ICHPER-SD), which met in conjunction with SHAPE America. His keynote is available at this link.


Kinesiology doctoral student Greg Rhodes named to ski instructor’s national team

formal portrait image of Greg Rhodes in a dress shirt and tie, smilingSchool of Kinesiology exercise physiology doctoral student Greg Rhodes, M.Ed., has been named to the Professional Ski Instructors of America and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI) National Team for 2016-20 in Nordic Cross Country. The PSIA-AASI Team is formed every four years following a rigorous selection process that enables PSIA-AASI to select the nation’s best instructors to represent the association at the highest level and working with ski and ride schools throughout the country, conducting clinics, and representing PSIA-AASI as the public face of the organization. Rhodes is currently a faculty lecturer with Fort Lewis College, Colorado, ski instructor at Aspen Skiing Company, and Head Coach and Owner at Endurance Athlete.

Zhang presents poster at American Society for Nutrition annual meeting in San Diego

Tianou at San Diego conferenceTianou Zhang, Kinesiology Ph.D. candidate advised by Li Li Ji, Ph.D., professor and director in the School of Kinesiology, presented his research study on “Oat Avenanthramides (AVA) Are Bioavailable in Humans after Acute Consumption of Oat Cookies”at a poster session at the 80th American Society for Nutrition Scientific Sessions and Annual Meeting in conjunction with Experimental Biology 2016 held April 2-6 in San Diego.

Avenanthramide (AVA), a bioactive compound found only in oats, has been shown to exert antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Mr. Zhang examined the metabolic fate of orally ingested oat AVA by measuring plasma AVA concentrations and their pharmacological  characteristics. His research findings showed that AVA found naturally in oats can be absorbed in humans after consuming natural oat cookies. The abstract is available here.

Mr. Zhang is a research assistant for Dr. Ji in the School’s Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene and Exercise Science.

Holst-Wolf, Zhang finalists in CEHD Three Minute Thesis competition

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 9.43.50 AMOn March 22, 2016, School of Kinesiology doctoral candidates, Jessica Holst-Wolf (biomechanics emphasis) and Tianou Zhang (exercise physiology emphasis), along with six other CEHD PhD students had three minutes to concisely and effectively explain their research project in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience in CEHD’s new Research Day competition, Three Minute Thesis (3MT). Presentations were evaluated by a panel of judges on criteria related to comprehension, engagement, and communication style.

Judges for the event were: Dr. Keith Mayes, CLA Professor; R.T. Rybak, former Minneapolis mayor and current Executive Director of Generation Next; and Margie Soran, Executive Director of the Soran Foundation. Michelle Brown (ICD) was the first-place winner.

You can watch Holst-Wolf and Zhang’s three minute presentations, along with the other six presentations on CEHD’s Youtube Channel.

Holst-Wolf and Zhang are finalists in CEHD Three Minute Thesis competition

Holst-WolfJ-2015ZhangT-2015Two Kinesiology doctoral candidates are finalists in CEHD’s new Research Day competition, Three Minute Thesis (3MT), which will be held March 22  from 10-11 a.m. in the McNamara Alumni Center Heritage Gallery.

Jessica Holst-Wolf (biomechanics emphasis) and Tianou Zhang (exercise physiology emphasis) will be competing with six doctoral students from across the college for a first prize of $300. Prizes of $250 will go to the runner-up and people’s choice. The finalists were chosen from a preliminary round competition held last week.

3MT is an annual competition held in over 200 universities worldwide. It’s designed to challenge PhD students to present their research in just three minutes in an engaging form that can be understood by an audience with no background in their discipline. The competition is intended to develop presentation, research and academic communication skills and to help students explain their work effectively to a general audience.

Judges in the CEHD competition are Dr. Keith Mayes, CLA Professor; R.T. Rybak, former Minneapolis mayor and current Executive Director of Generation Next; and Margie Soran, Executive Director of the Soran Foundation.

Ji’s research on oats featured in Improving Lives blog

ji-li-liLi Li Ji, Ph.D., director and professor in the School of Kinesiology, is featured on CEHD’s ImprovingLives.org. Ji’s research on the antioxidant properties of oats shows their positive effects in reducing inflammation and improving health, and may have important implications for the food industry.

Tianou Zhang presents at Journey Through Science Day in New York

Tianou ZhangTianou Zhang, Kinesiology PhD student advised by Li Li Ji, PhD, presented his research on “Absorption and Elimination of Oat Avenanthramides (AVA) in Humans after Acute Consumption of Oat Cookies” at the Journey Through Science Day December 14 in New York. The event was sponsored by the New York Academy of Sciences and PepsiCo.  Fifty exceptional students and early career scientists were selected for this unique opportunity to interact with PepsiCo’s R&D leadership, learn about their efforts to develop products rooted in science-based nutrition, get an exclusive glimpse of how science has shaped their careers, and gain an understanding of what it is like to work in a global team environment.

Mr. Zhang’s project, sponsored by PepsiCo Nutrition, studies the metabolism of a beneficial bioactive compound in oats called Avenanthramide and explores its protection against eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage and inflammation.

Mr. Zhang is a graduate assistant in Kinesiology and works with Dr. Ji in the School’s Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene and Exercise Science (LPHES).


Ji publishes three research articles, has a fourth in-press

ji-li-liDr. Li Li Ji, professor and director in the School of Kinesiology, has a number of recent publications.

His co-authored article in the European Journal of Applied Physiology entitled  Avenanthramide supplementation attenuates eccentric exercise-inflicted blood inflammatory markers in women reports the finding that human subjects consuming oats containing a high level of the antioxidant avenanthramides were protected from blood inflammatory response after a rigorous bout of downhill running exercise.

He is the senior author of two published articles:
1) In the journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, the article entitled Exercise-induced neuroprotection of hippocampus in APP/PS1 transgenic mice via upregulation of mitochondrial 8-oxoguanine DNA glycosylase  shows that exercise training can mitigate brain oxidative damage in a transgenic mouse model that resembles human Alzheimer’s disease.
2) In the FASEB Journal, the article entitled PGC-1α overexpression by in vivo transfection attenuates mitochondrial deterioration of skeletal muscle caused by immobilization reports that over-expression of a natural gene product called PGC-1 can reverse muscle loss and cell deterioration caused by a period of immobilization.

Dr. Ji also has a review article in press in the American Journal of Physiology: Advances in Physiological Education entitled “Redox signaling in skeletal muscle: role of aging and exercise.”

School of Kinesiology director Li Li Ji presents at International Congress of Stress Biology and Medicine

Dr. Liji-li-li Li Ji, professor of kinesiology and director of the School of Kinesiology, was an invited speaker at the 7th International Congress of Stress Biology and Medicine  (ICSBM), held September 16-19 in Huangshan City, China. Dr. Ji organized a symposium entitled “Stress and Exercise” and gave a lecture, “Skeletal muscle disuse atrophy is caused by discord of redox signaling.” This was the first time the ICSBM has included a symposium on exercise since it was founded in 1998.

Leon publishes on sarcopenia

Dr. Arthur S. Leon, MDDr. Arthur Leon, MD,  professor in the School of Kinesiology, and director emeritus of the Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene and Exercise Science (LPHES), has published an article, “Attenuation of Adverse Effects of Aging on Skeletal Muscle by Regular Exercise and Nutritional Support,” in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. According to the abstract, Leon’s article “reviews the underlying biological process contributing to the development of sarcopenia and the roles of regular exercise and nutritional support for attenuating aging-associated muscle loss.”

Ji, Hoffman travel to Chinese universities to help promote physical activity programs

A delegation of physical activity directors led by Dr. Li Li Ji, director of the School of Group panelKinesiology,  visited four universities in China this month to share strategies for promoting physical fitness among university students.  The American Culture Center (ACC) in Sports delegation included Ms. Brandi Hoffman from Kinesiology, director of the Physical Activity Program at the U of M; Ms. Carrie Sampson of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Dr. Bridget Melton of Georgia Brandi presentingSouthern University. The delegation visited campus sport facilities and physical education classes at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU), Zhejiang University, Shanxi Normal University, and Tianjin University of Sport. The group  presented lectures on their programs, sharing successful strategies as well as challenges, and learned how their Chinese colleagues conducted their programs.

“Declines in student health and fitness is a major concern among Chinese universities due to increased academic pressure,” said Vice-president Xu Xueming of SJTU at the USA-China Physical Education Forum. “We should learn from the U.S. and others to strengthen physical education classes to reverse the trend.”

The visits generated renewed interest and publicity at the Chinese universities, said Dr. Ji. ACC is a program supported by a U.S. State Department grant to promote public diplomacy in China. During the trip, Dr. Ji also attended the annual ACC Exchange Conference held in Xian, where all ACC representatives in China met with the new Ambassador to China to share information about their activities during the past year.