Category Archives: Faculty & Staff

HSC lab publishes on exercise and brain dysfunction

Y-Ting Tseng, Sanaz Khosravani, and Arash Mahnan, all graduate students in the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory (HSCL), together with their adviser Juergen Konczak, Ph.D., professor and lab director, published in the journal Kinesiology Review. Their review titled “Exercise as Medicine for the Treatment of Brain Dysfunction: Evidence for Cortical Stroke, Cerebellar Ataxia, and Parkinson’s Disease” addresses the role of exercise as an intervention for treating neurological disease. It focuses on three major neurological diseases that either present in acute or neurodegenerative forms—Parkinson’s disease, cerebellar ataxia, and cortical stroke.

The paper is part of a series of invited papers from the National Academy of Kinesiology that appear in Kinesiology Review. Maureen Weiss, Ph.D. serves as the current editor of the journal.

Stebleton and Jehangir make first-year experience presentation at UMN’s Focusing on Student Success Conference

Michael Stebleton and Rashne Jehangir, associate professors in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), presented recently at the University of Minnesota’s Focusing on Student Success Conference.  Their presentation, Empowering Students through High Impact Practices, focused on the highlights of the College of Education and Human Development’s first-year experience program.  Specifically, they showcased examples of students’ work including documentary short films.

Johnstone awarded Global Programs and Strategy Alliance international travel grant

Christopher Johnstone, assistant professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), was awarded a Global Programs and Strategy Alliance international travel grant and will be engaging in a series of meetings related to inclusive education with scholars from University of Western Cape, University of South Africa, University of Free State, and the Western Cape Provincial Government.

Seashore presents keynote at ICSEI Conference

Karen Seashore,  Regents professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), presented a keynote address entitled Collaborative Partnerships for System-Wide Improvement: Framing the Narrative at the International Congress of School Effectiveness and Improvement (ICSEI) in Ottawa, Canada, in January.

Romina Madrid, post-doctoral associate at CAREI, presented as part of a symposium on Place, identity and belonging in a changing world: Exploring contemporary issues for policy, practice and leadership.

Arizona Sonora News cites LaVoi, coaches research series

Nicole M. LaVoi, Tucker Center Associate Director, 2013 imageThe Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport research report series, Women Coaches Research Series & Report Card, and the author, Nicole M. LaVoi, Ph.D., faculty in the School of Kinesiology and co-director of the Tucker Center, are cited in an Arizona Sonora News article, “Women continue to be neglected in NCAA Division I athletics,” featuring Erika Barnes, University of Arizona Interim Athletic Director.

MN Spokesman-Recorder cites LaVoi’s longitudinal research

Nicole M. LaVoi, Tucker Center Associate Director, 2013 imageNicole M. LaVoi, Ph.D., faculty in the School of Kinesiology and co-director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport, is quoted in “Men still coach majority of women’s collegiate teams,” a Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder article by Charles Hallman. The article interviews LaVoi, citing data in her extensive, longitudinal research on coaching trends, most recently the fifth in the Women Coaches Research Series & Report Card.

UMN researchers assist in identifying autism biomarkers in infancy

Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in infants with older siblings with autism, researchers from around the country, including the University of Minnesota (UMN), were able to predict which infants would later meet criteria for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at two years of age, with 80 percent accuracy.

Jed Elison, Ph.D. and Jason Wolff, Ph.D.

“The findings lay the foundation for the field to move toward attempting to implement interventions before the symptoms that define autism consolidate into a diagnosis,” said study co-author Jed Elison, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the UMN Institute of Child Development.

“Typically, the earliest an autism diagnosis can be made is between ages two and three. But for babies with older autistic siblings, our imaging approach may help predict during the first year of life which babies are most likely to receive an autism diagnosis at 24 months,” said senior author Joseph Piven, M.D., the Thomas E. Castelloe Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

This research project included hundreds of children from across the country and was led by researchers at the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD) at the University of North Carolina (UNC). The project’s other clinical sites included the University of Washington, Washington University in St. Louis, and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In addition to the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development, other key collaborators are McGill University, the University of Alberta, the College of Charleston, and New York University (see ibisnetwork.org for more information.)

For this study, published today in Nature, the team of researchers conducted MRI scans of infants at six, 12 and 24 months of age. They found that the babies who developed autism experienced a hyper-expansion of brain surface area from six to 12 months, as compared to babies who had an older sibling with autism but did not themselves show evidence of the condition at 24 months of age. Increased growth rate of surface area in the first year of life was linked to increased growth rate of overall brain volume in the second year of life. Brain overgrowth was tied to the emergence of autistic social deficits in the second year.

The researchers then took these data – MRIs of brain volume, surface area, cortical thickness at 6 and 12 months of age, and sex of the infants – and used a computer program to identify a way to classify babies most likely to meet criteria for autism at 24 months of age. The computer program developed the best algorithm to accomplish this, and the researchers applied the algorithm to a separate set of study participants.

The researchers found that brain differences at 6 and 12 months of age in infants with older siblings with autism correctly predicted eight out of 10 infants who would later meet criteria for autism at 24 months of age in comparison to those infants with older ASD siblings who did not meet criteria for autism at 24 months.

According to the researchers, the findings may have implications for early detection and intervention in children who have older siblings with autism before a diagnosis is typically established. Diagnosis of ASD typically occurs after 24 months of age, the earliest time when behavioral characteristics of ASD can be observed. Intervening early could lead to improved outcomes, as the brain is more malleable in the first years of life compared with later in childhood.

“This area of research is incredibly exciting because it provides an opportunity to understand how autism unfolds early in life,” said Jason Wolff, Ph.D., an assistant professor in educational psychology at UMN and a study co-author. “It provides new clues about the timing and specific mechanisms of brain development that precede a diagnosis. It also offers the unprecedented possibility of predicting whether or not a child will develop autism based on neurobiological data.”

“These findings not only are significant for the field of autism, but they also could inform the broader field of psychiatry and prevention science as it relates to various psychiatric conditions,” Elison said. “This research highlights the best of contemporary science. It’s collaborative, and informed by technology and multiple areas of expertise, with the common goal of helping families.”

The National Institutes of Health funded this study.

See media coverage of this story in the Star Tribune, Minnesota Public Radio, KARE TV, WCCO TV, and KMSP TV.

Roisman mentioned in New York Times opinion piece on opportunity gap

Headshot of Glenn Roisman, Ph.D.
Glenn Roisman, Ph.D.

A recent New York Times opinion piece highlighted research by Institute of Child Development Professor Glenn Roisman, Ph.D.

The piece discussed empirical evidence around the issues of race, poverty, intergenerational mobility, and the opportunity and achievement gaps. For a 2015 study, Roisman and colleagues examined “racially disparate conditions,” such as family income, maternal education, and learning materials in the home, as well as child birth order and child birth weight. They found that such conditions “can account for the relation between race and cognitive test scores.”

Click here to read the full New York Times opinion piece.

Wade to give talk at University of Georgia

On February 17, 2017, Michael G. Wade, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology, will speak at the College of Education, University of Georgia, as part of their Research Colloquium Series.

In his talk, “Does theorizing about Developmental Coordination Disorder inform diagnosis and intervention?”, Dr. Wade will comment on the empirical data and conclusions as to the possible cause of developmental coordination disorder. He argues that the data for an information theory explanation is not compelling, and a reconsideration of developmental coordination disorder from a dynamical systems perspective is perhaps more promising.

Berry discusses self-regulation in CEHD Vision 2020 blog

Daniel Berry, Ed.D.

Daniel Berry, Ed.D., assistant professor in the Institute of Child Development, has a featured post in the CEHD Vision 2020 blog. Berry’s post, “Supporting Self-Regulation in Children: Tips for Parents,” explores how parents, teachers and peers can support children as they learn to regulate their thoughts and emotions.

Stoffregen appointed to Gait & Posture board

StoffregenT_2015Thomas Stoffregen, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory (APAL), has accepted an appointment to the editorial board for Gait & Posture, one of the pre-eminent journals in the field of Movement Science. The journal is a vehicle for the publication of up-to-date basic and clinical research on all aspects of locomotion and balance.

Gait & Posture has a 1-year Impact Factor of 2.286, and a 5-Year Impact Factor of 2.864.

MomEnough podcast interviews LaVoi on sport parent behavior

Nicole M. LaVoi, Tucker Center Associate Director, 2013 imageNicole M. LaVoi, Ph.D., faculty in the School of Kinesiology and co-director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport, was interviewed in podcast for a Mom Enough website article, “Being a Good Sport Parent: Practical Guidance on Bringing Out the Best in Your Young Athlete.” LaVoi is cited for doing work to improve “positive attitudes and behavior to support children’s development as athletes and people of character.”

Moore and Inoue presenting research results to Minnetonka Senior Services

image of Yuhei Inoue
Yuhei Inoue, Ph.D.
Chris Moore, Ph.D. candidate

Graduate assistant Chris Moore, advised by Yuhei Inoue, Ph.D., assistant professor of Sport Management in the School of Kinesiology presented research results to study participants at the Minnetonka Senior Services.

This research study titled “The Influence of Sport Team Identification on Mental Health for Older Adults” was funded by Janet B. Parks NASSM Research Grant. For this study, Moore and Inoue worked with Minnetonka Senior Services to recruit older adults and coordinated trips to three home games of University of Minnesota Women’s volleyball team. The purpose of the project was to examine if attending sporting events and establishing a sense of connections with the sport team and its fans may help enhance older adults’ social relationships and well-being.

Stoffregen to publish in Ecological Psychology

StoffregenT_2015A study by Thomas Stoffregen, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory (APAL), along with Bruno Mantel and Benoit G. Bardy, has been accepted for publication in Ecological Psychology. The article is titled “The senses considered as one perceptual system.”

While peer-reviewed, the article was invited as part of a special issue commemorating the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems, by James J. Gibson, one of the foundational statements of the Ecological Approach to Perception and Action.

Dr. Mantel is on the faculty at the University of Caen, while Dr. Bardy is on the faculty at the University of Montpellier, both in France.

Cuevas wins EMERGE Villages Catalyst Award

Cuevas photoFaustina Cuevas, senior academic adviser in CEHD Student Services, was awarded the EMERGE Villages Catalyst Award.  EMERGE is a Twin Cities community development agency that works to help people access jobs, financial coaching, supportive housing, and other key services. This award recognizes Cuevas for her time investment and contributions as a mentor to formerly homeless families, an ability to work with families to support stabilization and overcoming barriers, and whose positive effort supports the infrastructure in Emerge Villages.

InsideHigherEd cites just-released Tucker Center Women Coaches Report

Nicole M. LaVoi, Tucker Center Associate Director, 2013 imageAn article appearing on the InsideHigherEd online site, “Report: Hiring of Women’s Coaches Stagnates,” features a Tucker Center newly released report, “Head Coaches of Women’s Collegiate Teams: A Report on Select NCAA Division-I Institutions, 2016-17.” The report, one of several in the fifth year of the series, is authored by Tucker Center co-director and School of Kinesiology faculty Nicole M. LaVoi, Ph.D. The InsideHigherEd piece focuses on both the lack of decline but also the continued underrepresentation of women coaches of women’s sports in the collegiate arena.

Inoue and partners featured in The Japan Times

image of Yuhei InoueYuhei Inoue, Ph.D., assistant professor of Sport Management in the School of Kinesiology together with his partners from Temple University and the University of Tsukuba in Japan are featured in The Japan Times, Japan’s largest English-language newspaper.

The article discusses the project to reform Japanese college sports by establishing an athletic department that is modeled after US intercollegiate athletic departments. In the next two years, Dr. Inoue and his partners will study the first implementation of this structure at the University of Tsukuba.

Read the entire article titled “Researchers urge Japan to reform college sports system”.

LaVoi, Tucker Center’s Women Coaches Report Card featured on espnW

Nicole M. LaVoi, Tucker Center Associate Director, 2013 imageThe Tucker Center‘s “Women Coaches Research Series & Report Card,” authored by co-director and School of Kinesiology faculty Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi, is featured in an online espnW article, “Tucker Center report: Number of women college coaches still not making the grade.” The report is quoted multiple times within the article, discussing the impact women coaches have on the diversity and culture of sports.

Gao and Lee publish paper in Computers in Human Behavior


Zan Gao, Ph.D
.
, associate professor in the School of Kinesiology and Director of the Physical Activity Epidemiology Lab, recently published a paper in Computers in Human Behavior. The first author, Jung Eun Lee, is Dr. Gao’s Ph.D. student and currently an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

The paper examined the acute effect of playing a single bout of active video games on children’s mood change and whether mood change differed by gender and age group. The researchers found that a short bout of active video games significantly reduced anger, depression and vigor, and fourth grade children had greater vigor than the third graders.

Lee, J., Xiang, P., & Gao, Z. (2017). Acute effect of active video games on older children’s mood change. Computers in Human Behavior, 70, 97-103. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2016.12.060 (impact factor: 2.69)

WATCH: Gunnar delivers EDTalk on healthy child development

Dr. Megan Gunnar

Megan Gunnar, Ph.D., director of the Institute of Child Development, is featured on the AchieveMPLS website after delivering an EDTalk on early childhood and brain development.

AchieveMPLS is a non-profit partner of Minneapolis Public Schools that focuses on career and college readiness for students in Minneapolis. Their EDTalks aim to call attention to a wide range of issues impacting public education.

During her EDTalk, Gunnar emphasized the importance of fostering healthy child development and discussed ways to ensure that children grow and live in healthy environments.

“If we work together, we can think of a comprehensive set of plans across the community to work on over the years to create the kind of context we want for our communities, for the families and children there, so that we will all have a bright future,” Gunnar said.

Watch the Early Childhood and Brain Development EDTalk.