CEHD News Graduate Students

CEHD News Graduate Students

Tianou Zhang accepts tenure-track position at UTSA

Tianou Zhang, doctoral candidate in School of Kinesiology, has accepted a tenure-track position at the University of Texas-San Antonio (UTSA). Zhang will be an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology, Health, and Nutrition beginning this August. He will teach courses in Exercise and Nutrition, and continue his research on beneficial effects of phytochemicals supplementation in exercise and health. 

Zhang is advised by Li Li Ji, Ph.D., professor in the School and director of the Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene & Exercise Science (LPHES).

Zeng, Gao and Lee publish in Journal of Clinical Medicine

School of Kinesiology Ph.D. student Nan Zengassociate professor Zan Gao, Ph.D., and assistant professor Jung Eun Lee, Ph.D., from the University of Minnesota Duluth, recently published an article titled “Reliability of Using Motion Sensors to Measure Children’s Physical Activity Levels in Exergaming” in Journal of Clinical Medicine. Mr. Zeng is a current advisee and Dr. Lee is a former advisee of Prof. Gao.

The study examined the reliability of two objective measurement tools in assessing children’s physical activity levels in an exergaming setting. The findings suggested that the NL-1000 pedometers and ActiGraph GT3X accelerometers have low reliability in assessing elementary school children’s physical activity levels during exergaming. More research is warranted in determining the reliable and accurate measurement information regarding the use of modern devices in exergaming setting.

Nan Zeng
Dr. Zan Gao


Kristin Wood named recipient of Kinesiology’s 2018-19 Doctoral Dissertation Award

Congratulations to Kinesiology Ph.D. candidate Kristin Wood, who has been chosen by the School’s Graduate Education Committee as recipient of the School of Kinesiology’s 2018-19 Doctoral Dissertation AwardThe award provides a 50% graduate assistantship for the coming academic year.

Wood is advised by Diane Wiese-Bjornstal, Ph.D., professor in the sport and exercise psychology emphasis. Her research interests are in psychology of injury, psychological interventions to increase rehabilitation adherence, and curriculum development in athletic training education programs. She has the following publication due out in June, 2018: Wiese-Bjornstal, D. M., White, A. C., Wood, K. N., & Russell, H. C., Sports medicine psychology. In T. S. Horn & A. L. Smith (Eds.), Advances in sport and exercise psychology (4th ed.) Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics

The Kinesiology Doctoral Dissertation Award provides the School’s most accomplished Ph.D candidates with an opportunity to devote efforts to an outstanding research project under the mentorship of the student’s primary faculty advisor. 

Kinesiology PhD Madeleine Orr receives graduate award from WPLC

Kinesiology Ph.D. candidate Madeleine Orr has been selected to receive a $2,100 graduate student award from the Women’s Philanthropic Leadership Circle (WPLC). Orr is in the Sport Management emphasis and is advised by Yuhei Inoue, Ph.D.

The award will be presented at the WPLC’s annual awards celebration on Tuesday, June 12, at the Town and Country Club. Orr was chosen to receive the award based on her “academic achievements, community involvement, leadership, and passion for your academic and professional career.”

The Women’s Philanthropic Leadership Circle was designed to increase the overall visibility of women leaders in education and human development and provide financial support to women in and aspiring to leadership positions. Each year, WPLC grants financial awards to women graduate students and “Rising Star” pre-tenure faculty members who are demonstrating leadership and creativity through their academics, research, service, and/or teaching.


Grad student Michelle Harbin lead author of research publication

Michelle Harbin, M.S. and doctoral student in the School of Kinesiology and member of the Laboratory of Integrative Human Physiology (LIHP), is the lead author of a peer-reviewed article, entitled “Associations of sex, age and adiposity in endothelium-independent dilation in children“. The article is published in the journal Physiological Measurement and examines the association of age, sex and obesity on vascular smooth muscle function. It was observed that vascular smooth muscle function was significantly lower in male children and adolescents suggesting that impaired vascular smooth muscle function and increased cardiovascular disease risk among males may begin in childhood.

Co-authors of this publication in the School of Kinesiology are Hanan Zavala, a current graduate student and Donald R. Dengel, Ph.D., professor and LIHP director.

Michelle Harbin
Hanan Zavala
Donald R. Dengel, Ph.D.

Ph.D. candidate Katlyn Koepp receives research award from Mayo Clinic

Katlyn Koepp, Kinesiology doctoral candidate and member of the Laboratory of Integrative Human Physiology (LIHP), recently received the Department of Cardiovascular Disease Circulatory Failure Research Award from the Mayo Clinic. The grant project, titled “Exercise Capacity and Abdominal Visceral Adipose Tissue in non-HFpEF controls,” will examine the roles of aerobic capacity and abdominal visceral adipose tissue in heart failure patients.

Koepp is advised by Donald R. Dengel, Ph.D., professor of kinesiology and director of the LIHP.


HSC lab publishes in Neuroscience Letters

The Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory (HSCL) directed by Juergen Konczak, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology, recently published in the journal Neuroscience Letters. Yu-Ting Tseng, Ph.D. a former lab member of HSCL, is the primary author of the article. Their study, titled “Wrist position sense acuity and its relation to motor dysfunction in children with developmental coordination disorder” is about developmental coordination disorder and examined the relationship of wrist proprioceptive impairment with fine motor and balance function.

Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects about 6% of school-age children. It is characterized by uncoordinated movements and poor motor skill learning. DCD significantly interferes with a child’s activities of daily living and academic performance. It has long been assumed that impaired body awareness (proprioception) is compromised in children with DCD and that proprioceptive deficits underlie the motor problems in children. This is the second study in a series that objectively assessed proprioceptive status in children with DCD and documents that DCD is indeed associated with a proprioceptive dysfunction, which likely contributes to the motor problems in children with DCD.

Curry awarded NSF-funded graduate fellowship

Christopher Curry, Ph.D. student in the School of Kinesiology, has been awarded an NSF-funded fellowship for 2018-19 through the Center for Cognitive Sciences and the Center for Applied and Translational Sensory Science, based on his strong interest in interdisciplinary research. The 12-month stipend of $34,000 provides comprehensive funding through the center’s training grant titled “NRT-UtB: Graduate training program in sensory science: Optimizing the information available for mind and brain“. Curry’s research focus is looking at ways that Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality devices could be used in rehabilitation settings for patients who may have sensory and motor deficits.

Thomas Stoffregen, Ph.D., professor of movement science in the School and Victoria Interrante, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering are serving as Curry’s fellowship mentors.




2018 Kinesiology Research Day showcases work of students, faculty

2018 Kinesiology Research Day held Friday, April 13, was a resounding success, showcasing the projects or involvement of 58 members of the School of Kinesiology. Held in Walter Library, the collection of research included seven research briefs, four paper presentations, and 21 poster presentations, as well as seven lab talks.

The School of Kinesiology Research Day is held annually and sponsored and organized by the Kinesiology Student Council. It is designed to present an opportunity for faculty members, staff, graduate students and undergraduate students to interact in an interdisciplinary forum, exchange ideas, and present their achievements.

Awards were presented in a number of categories (serious and not-so serious):

For more photos of the event see our Flickr album.

Research Awards:

People’s Choice for Best Poster (Undergraduate) – Madeline Czeck, B.S. student
People’s Choice for Best Poster (Graduate) – Katie Bisch, M.S. student
Faculty Choice for Best Research Brief – Morgan Betker, Ph.D. candidate

Miscellaneous Awards
‘Die Hard Award’ – Assistant professor Sarah Greising, for attending the whole day and showing so much support to all student participants!
‘Harshest Questions Award’ – Professor Jürgen Konczak, for making everybody second-guess their work
‘Best Dressed’ Award – Joey Kronzer, M.S. student
‘Herding Cats Award’ – Eydie Kramer, Ph.D. student, for all her work with the high school tours!
‘Drill Sergeant Award’ – Arash Mahnan, Ph.D. student, for making sure the event ran on schedule all day!

“Kin Research Day is a fabulous celebration of all the work happening in Kinesiology, and a great opportunity to celebrate the diversity of research in our School,” says Madeleine Orr, co-chair of the Kinesiology Student Council. “We had a lot of fun putting it together and were very pleased with the turnout and energy at the event!”

Orr Is Top 6 Finalist in 3MT® Regional Championships

Madeleine Orr, Kinesiology Ph.D. candidate and 2017 winner of the University-wide Three-Minute Thesis Competition (3MT®), traveled to Grand Rapids, MI, for the 3MT® Regional Championships hosted by the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools. She was accompanied by Scott Lanyon, Ph.D., U of M Vice-Provost and Dean of Graduate Education.

Contestants came from 39 different universities across the Midwest. Each had won their university’s competition. Orr advanced as a Regional Finalist (Top 6) and presented with the other finalists at the closing plenary of the event.

Orr will present at the U of M Board of Regents meeting in May, and will judge at the Natural Resource Science & Management 3MT® competition later this month. The U of M Graduate School will be using 3MT® training materials that Orr and Kinesiology Ph.D. candidate Morgan Betker developed to use in workshops for graduate students interested in public speaking and public scholarship.

Kinesiology’s Kramer presents, receives research award at NACSM Regional Meeting

Kinesiology Ph.D. candidate Eydie Kramer, who is advised by Daheia Barr-Anderson, Ph.D., Kinesiology assistant professor and director of the Behavioral Physical Activity Laboratory, presented a poster on Friday, April 6, at the Northland American College of Sports Medicine (NACSM) Regional Meeting at St. Catherine’s University in St. Paul. Her poster, “Brief Interventions Mitigate Weight-Dependent Exercise and Healthy Eater Disparities in Adolescent Girls,” was co-authored with Barr-Anderson and  describes a pilot study conducted in summer 2017 in youth health camps located in Colorado and Wisconsin. Their poster was selected for the Annual ACSM President’s Cup Award, and will be showcased at the ACSM Annual Meeting in Minneapolis on May 31st, 2018.

Kramer also was selected to receive a $1,000 NACSM Student Research Award to fund her study this summer, “S.P.L.A.S.H. (Swimming. Positive Perceptions. Lifestyle-Change. Activity. Strength. Healthy Habits.) Into Fitness! A Behavioral Swim Camp and eHealth Intervention for Overweight and Obese Adolescent Girls.”

Click poster for enlargement.



Kinesiology Ph.D. students McDonough and Peterson receive Professional Development Awards

Two School of Kinesiology graduate students have received Professional Development Awards for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Daniel McDonough, Ph.D. student in the Physical Activity and Health emphasis, and Nicolette Peterson, Ph.D. student in the Movement Science emphasis, will each receive $4,000 to help cover costs related to conference registration, travel, special research equipment and supplies, and technology items related to their studies.

McDonough is advised by Zan Gao, Ph.D., and is a member of the Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory (PAEL). Peterson is advised by Thomas Stoffregen, Ph.D., and is a member of the Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory (APAL).


Baeth places second in CEHD 3MT® competition

Anna Baeth, School of Kinesiology Ph.D. student with a focus on sport sociology, finished second in this year’s 3-Minute Thesis competition, which is part of the CEHD research day. Her presentation titled “An Analysis of Women Coaches with Career Longevity in NCAA Division I Sport” described her research around the questions of “who are the women who stay in these positions?” and “what are the factors for this?” Watch the video below for the entire presentation.

Baeth is co-advised by Mary Jo Kane, Ph.D., and Nicole LaVoi, Ph.D. She currently is a research assistant in the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women n Sport.

The 3-Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland, Australia, in 2008 and is held in over 200 universities worldwide. It is open to Ph.D. students and challenges participants to present their research in just 180 seconds in an engaging form that can be understood by an audience with no background in the research area.

PAEL director, lab members present at SHAPE America 2018 and International Chinese Society for Physical Activities and Health (ICSPAH)

The School of Kinesiology’s Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory (PAEL) team had a strong presence at two conferences held in Nashville, TN, last month.

Lab members successfully presented five separate research studies at the SHAPE America 2018 Conference and Expo, March 20-24. Kinesiology associate professor and PAEL lab director Zan Gao, Ph.D., and current and former advisees June Lee, Ph.D., and Zachary Pope, Ph.D. candidate, each presented one first-author abstract.  Nan Zeng, Ph.D. candidate, presented two first-author abstracts.

The research covered an array of topics within the field of Physical Activity and Health, ranging from a longitudinal study investigating the 3-year trajectory of physical activity and weight status in school-aged children, to comparing the physiological effects between virtual reality and traditional exercise biking.

Full citations of the presentations at SHAPE America are below.

1. Gao, Z., Lee, J., Stodden, D., Xiang, P., & Zhang, P. (2018, March). Trajectory Changes of
Physical Activity and Weight Status in Children. Paper presented at the annual meeting of
SHAPE, Nashville, Tennessee.

2. Pope, Z., Zeng, N., & Gao, Z. (2018, March). Comparing physiological effects between
virtual reality and traditional exercise biking. Paper presented at the annual meeting of SHAPE,
Nashville, Tennessee

3. Lee, J., Zeng, N., Zhang, Y., & Gao, Z. (2018, March). Children’s psychosocial beliefs and
physical activity levels in physical education. Paper presented at the annual meeting of SHAPE,
Nashville, Tennessee.

4. Zeng, N., Pope, Z., &  Gao, Z. (2018, March). Acute effect of virtual reality on college
students’ psychological outcomes. Paper presented at the annual meeting of SHAPE, Nashville,

5. Zeng, N., Stodden, D., & Gao, Z. (2018, March). Dynamic relationship between perceived
competence and motor skills in children. Paper presented at the annual meeting of SHAPE,
Nashville, Tennessee.

At the International Chinese Society for Physical Activities and Health, Gao and lab members/advisees Nan Zeng,  Daniel (DJ) McDonough and Wenxi Liu, both first-year Ph.D. students, each presented one first-author abstract.  The presentations covered topics such as the examination of physiological and psychosocial health outcomes during various modes of exergaming and investigating physical activity correlates and behaviors from the perspective of the Social Ecological Model. Notably, Zeng and McDonough won first-place awards for best oral and poster presentations, respectively. Full citations are below.

1. Li, X., Liu, W., Xiong, S., Tao, K., Yang, Z., Zeng, N., & Gao, Z. (2018). Examining associations
among motivation, physical activity and health in Chinese college students. Paper presented at
2018 International Chinese Society for Physical Activities and Health (ICSPAH) annual meeting in
Nashville, TN.

2. Liu, W., Li, X., Xiong, S., Tao, K., Peng, Q., Zeng, N., & Gao, Z. (2018) Associations among
Chinese college students’ physical activity correlates and behaviors: A social ecological model.
Paper presented at 2018 International Chinese Society for Physical Activities and Health
(ICSPAH) annual meeting in Nashville, TN.

3. McDonough, D., Pope, Z., Zeng, N., Lee, J., &  Gao, Z. (2018). College students’
psychosocial outcomes and step counts during single- and double-player exergaming
conditions. Paper presented at 2018 International Chinese Society for Physical Activities and
Health (ICSPAH) annual meeting in Nashville, TN.

4. Xiong, S., Zeng, N., Liu, W., Tao, K., Li, X., & Gao, Z. (2018). College Students’ physical
activity, cardiovascular fitness, body composition and health status in China: A cross-sectional
study. Paper presented at 2018 International Chinese Society for Physical Activities and Health
(ICSPAH) annual meeting in Nashville, TN.

5. Zeng, N., Pope, Z., Lee, J., & Gao, Z. (2018, March). College students’ enjoyment, self-
efficacy, and energy expenditure in exergaming and treadmill walking. Paper presented at 2018
International Chinese Society for Physical Activities and Health (ICSPAH) annual meeting in
Nashville, TN.


APAL graduate students, adviser publish in Experimental Brain Research

Kinesiology graduate students from the Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory (APAL) and their adviser, Tom Stoffregen, Ph.D., have published an online article in the journal, Experimental Brain Research. The citation is: Li, R., Walter, H., Curry, C., Rath, R., Peterson, N., & Stoffregen, T. A. (2018). Postural time-to-contact as a precursor of visually induced motion sickness. The results of the study they conducted provide a qualitatively new type of support for the postural instability theory of motion sickness.

Ruixuan Li is a Ph.D. candidate in the U of M doctoral program in Human Factors and Ergonomics and is a member of APAL, along with Kinesiology graduate students Hannah Walter, Chris Curry, Ruth Rath, and Nicolette Peterson.


Christopher Curry, Kinesiology PhD student, has two posters at 2018 International Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Health Care

Christopher Curry, Ph.D. student in the School of Kinesiology, has two posters being presented at the 2018 International Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Health Care in Boston, MA, March 26-28. Curry is advised by Thomas Stoffregen, Ph.D., professor of movement science in the School and director of the Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory (APAL). Citations for the posters are below:

Curry, C., Abdelrahman, A., Lowndes, B., Morrow, M.,  & Hallbeck, S. (2018, March). Identifying Higher Ergonomic Risk during a Simulation Task.

Koenig, J., Abdelrahman, A., Curry, C., Mohan, A., Lemaine, V., Noland, S., Hallbeck, S., & Lowndes, B. (2018, March). Preliminary Analysis of Surgeon Body Posture and Musculoskeletal Risk Based on Patient Positioning During Microsurgical Breast Reconstruction.

Zeng, Pope, Lee, and Gao publish in Journal of Clinical Medicine

School of Kinesiology Ph.D. candidates Nan Zeng and Zachary Pope are first and second authors, respectively, on a recent article they published with their adviser, associate professor Zan Gao, Ph.D., in the Journal of Clinical Medicine.

Gao’s former advisee Jung Eun Lee, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, is third author. Gao is director of the School’s Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory.

The article, titled “Virtual Reality Exercise for Anxiety and Depression: A Preliminary Review of Current Research in an Emerging Field,” discusses the authors’ study, which synthesized literature concerning the effect of virtual reality (VR) exercise on anxiety and depression among various populations. The study concluded that existing evidence is insufficient to support the advantages of VR exercise as a stand-alone treatment over traditional therapy in the alleviation of anxiety and depression, and that more research is needed.

Nan Zeng
Zach Pope
Dr. Zan Gao
Dr. Lee

Zachary Pope, Kinesiology PhD candidate, to present at U’s Doctoral Research Showcase April 3

The University’s eleventh annual Doctoral Research Showcase will include a presentation by Zachary Pope, Kinesiology Ph.D. candidate and advisee of Zan Gao, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Physical Activity Epidemiology Lab (PAEL).

The Showcase will be held Tuesday, April 3 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.

Pope’s research presentation is “Use of Wearable Technology to Improve Physical Activity and Eating Behaviors among College Students: A 12-week Randomized Pilot Study.” All Kinesiology colleagues are invited to attend and support Mr. Pope.

For more information about the event or to view a list of all of this year’s participants, visit: z.umn.edu/drs2018.

Joey Kronzer to serve as volunteer assistant tennis coach for Hamline University

Joey Kronzer, a current Kinesiology master’s student with an emphasis in sport and exercise psychology, and a member of the Sports Medicine Psychology Laboratory, has been named the Volunteer Assistant Coach of the Hamline University Men’s and Women’s Tennis Teams. The complete announcement is available here.

Kronzer is advised by Diane Wiese-Bjornstal, professor in the School of Kinesiology.

Kinesiology’s Betker and Orr involved in 3MT® events

In preparation for this year’s 3-Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition, CEHD is hosting a Mentoring Workshop on February 1. Last year’s University-wide 3MT winner Madeleine Orr, a sport management doctoral student in the School of Kinesiology will serve as a panelist at this event.

In addition, Orr and Kinesiology’s Morgan Betker, doctoral student with a focus on exercise physiology and previous winners of the CEHD 3MT competition are asked to be judges for the preliminary round of the competition, which will be held on Monday, February 26 and Thursday, March 1 of this year.

Madeleine Orr
Madeleine Orr
Morgan Betker
Morgan Betker