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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
J. Mikhail Kellawan, PhD
Human Circulation Research Laboratory (HCRL)
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 email@example.com