New Faculty

Amanda Wilkerson, PhD (University of Alabama) and J. Mikhail Kellawan, PhD (Queen's University) recently joined the HES faculty. Below are research descriptions for both of our new faculty members. Applicants to the HES graduate program (MS and PhD) who are interested in working with either Dr. Wilkerson or Dr. Kellawan may contact them directly with questions regarding their research. Questions about applying to the graduate program should be directed to the Department of Health and Exercise Science or the University of Oklahoma's Office of Graduate Admissions. 

Amanda Wilkerson, PhD

Research Description:
Dr. Wilkerson’s research interests focus on the health impacts of sedentary behavior. Her research incorporates an ecological framework to investigate influences on sedentary behavior and primarily focuses on the workplace setting. Dr. Wilkerson’s research interests also include physical activity and addressing sedentary behavior in settings outside of the workplace. The aim of her research is to design and test theory-based health education and promotion programs to reduce sedentary behavior and increase physical activity through the use of both quantitative and qualitative research methods.

Individuals interested in graduate study opportunities with Dr. Wilkerson should contact her directly at

J. Mikhail Kellawan, PhD

Human Circulation Research Laboratory (HCRL)

Research Goals:
Matching delivery of blood (thus, oxygen and other substrates) to tissue demand is a critical role of the cardiovascular system, such that, inability of structural and functional systems to properly support tissues affect exercise capacity, tolerance, functional activities of daily life, and promote poor cardiovascular health outcomes.

To ensure that blood flow matches metabolic demand; the cardiovascular system must maintain arterial blood pressure while constantly adjusting blood flow throughout all the vascular beds in the circulatory system. Exercise presents an exceptional challenge to the cardiovascular system, as working muscles need a dramatic increase in blood flow to deliver adequate amounts of oxygen. Therefore, integrated control of cardiac output (amount of blood pumped by the heart), vasodilation (opening of blood vessels) and vasoconstriction (narrowing of blood vessels) is needed to direct blood from non-working tissues to the working muscles without severely impacting blood flow to the brain. Recent research indicates that conditions that interfere with proper “matching” of blood flow to metabolic demand affect both physical and cognitive health.

For example, aging, diabetes, and hypertension, are comprised of risk factors contributing to poor peripheral vascular and cognitive health. The increasing prevalence of these conditions (even healthy aging) makes this area of research essential as it has major economic and public health implications.

For these reasons, the laboratory is focused on how health conditions can alter the ability of the cardiovascular system to match metabolic demand and how regular physical activity and therapies can be used to improve vascular function.  The overarching goal of the HCRL research program is to understand the characteristics and mechanisms that match oxygen/substrate supply to demand in response to exercise and environmental stress in both human health and in disease.

The HCRL specific research focus is to conduct experiments that provide insight into the vascular control mechanisms in the cerebral and skeletal muscle circulations during exercise and environmental stress in humans.

Individuals interested in graduate training opportunities should contact Dr. Kellawan directly at

HES Faculty

Debra A. Bemben, President's Associates Presidential Professor
Exercise Physiology

Sarkeys Complex, 119 | (405) 325-2709
Email Dr. Debra Bemben

Research Interests 
• Endocrine response to exercise
• Bone metabolism and exercise
• Bone health in postmenopausal women


Michael G. Bemben, C.B. Hudson Presidential Professor, David Ross Boyd Professor and Department Chair  
Exercise Physiology 

Sarkeys Complex, 115 | (405) 325-5211
Email Dr. Michael Bemben

Research Interests 

• Aging
• Neuromuscular body composition
• Blood flow

Chris Black, Assistant Professor
Exercise Physiology

Sarkeys Complex, 110 | (405) 325-7668
Email Dr. Black

Research Interests

• Neuromuscular function during and following exercise
• Causes and performance consequences of exercise-induced muscle pain
• Psychobiological mechanisms of pain and the use of exercise to treat
  chronic pain conditions


Jay Campbell, Assistant Professor
Exercise Physiology

Sarkeys Complex, 109 | (405) 325-6905
Email Dr. Campbell

Research Interests

• GPS-based tracking (accelerations, decelerations, player
   load, change of direction imbalances)
• Biochemical recovery status and heart rate variability based
   assessment of nervous system readiness
• Recovery modalities including cryotherapy, manual therapy,
   sleep monitoring, and nutritional interventions for
   performance enhancement/recovery
• Thermoregulation in hot, humid working/competition
   environments including assessment of microenvironment and clothing properties


Marshall Cheney, Assistant Professor 
Health Promotion

Sarkeys Complex, 111 | (405) 325-6322
Email Dr. Cheney

Research Interests 

• Tobacco use prevention
• Social marketing
• Health disparities
• Social determinants of health


Daniel J. Larson, Assistant Professor
Sports Management/Exercise Physiology

Sarkeys Complex, 120 | (405) 325-6199
Email Dr. Dan Larson 

Research Interests
• Economic theory
• Finance and policy for international professional sports
• Participant sport events
• Management of national governing bodies
• Sport coaching and instruction


Rebecca D. Larson, Assistant Professor
Exercise Physiology


Sarkeys Complex, 117 | (405) 325-6325
Email Dr. Rebecca Larson

Research Interests
• Exercise for individuals with Multiple Sclerosis
• Body composition measurement and evaluation
• Muscle metabolism and function
• Exercise testing, adaptations, and fatigue


Sarah Maness, Assistant Professor
Health Promotion

Sarkeys Complex, 118 | (405) 325-4984
Email Dr. Maness

Research Interests
• Social determinants of health
• Health disparities
• Program evaluation
• Adolescent pregnancy prevention
• HPV vaccination



Donna M. Tall Bear, Instructor  
Health Promotion 


Sarkeys Complex, 126 | (405) 325-6860
Email Ms. Tall Bear

Research Interests

• Impact of health coaching on health behavior and chronic disease
• Impact of historical trauma on diabetes risk and management in
  American Indian populations