College of Health Sciences
Dr. Benham Deal's primary line of research focuses on children's and adolescents'
physical activity. Dr. Benham Deal's second line of research examines standards based
physical and health education, including professional development and assessment practices.
Mark Byra, Ph.D. (University of Pittsburgh), Professor
Dr. Byra's research interests revolve around the Spectrum of Teaching Styles, models
of teaching, student interest and engagement in physical education, development of
pre-service teacher knowledge, and the development of knowledge and skill in coaches.
Dr. Dai's research interests include injury biomechanics, sports biomechanics, and
ergonomics. Dr. Dai utilizes motion, force, electromyography measurements, and musculoskeletal modeling
to understand injury mechanisms and develop injury prevention and performance training
strategies. Dr. Dai's current research is focused on jump-landing mechanics and anterior
cruciate ligament injuries, exoskeleton and low-back loading, strength and balance
assessments for collegiate athletes, and biomechanics of strength and conditioning
Dr. Jenkins' research interests revolve around curriculum and instruction. Investigations
include pre-service teacher development (e.g., pedagogical content knowledge) particularly
in terms of observation and peer coaching as well as curriculum design, development,
models, and instructional models. Additional research revolves around university
conceptual physical education courses in regard to outcomes, cohesion, and exercise
Dr. Johnson's research interests center around the examination of the physiological
mechanisms and overall health benefits related to optimal hydration, physical activity,
and heat exposure.
Dr. Porter researches community food system efforts to prevent obesity and hunger
and to build equitable economic development and ecological sustainability. She pursues
these interests as project director of Food Dignity
, a 5-year action research initiative to engage food in secure communities and universities
in building sustainable food systems for food security. She is also interested in
public health ethics and community-based participatory research.
She is specifically conducting research in community nutrition, health promotion and
education, and community development.
Dr. Readdy has developed a line of research centered on coach and athlete motivation
within the collegiate sport context, including how coach-athlete interactions can
optimize player performance through enhancing their autonomy, competency, and relatedness
to others. He is particularly interested in phenomenological interpretations of people's
experiences, and uses a variety of theoretical backgrounds and research methodologies
in his efforts to understand the complex nature of the college sport world.
Dr. Smith's research interests include: Development, translation (implementation/dissemination),
and efficacy testing of physical activity and healthy living interventions – interdisciplinary
approach. He uses novel and innovative technologies, devices and strategies to facilitate
health behavior change (adoption and maintenance). The focus is directed at primary
and secondary prevention of chronic disease(s) via lifestyle modification and behavior
change that includes increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary time/behaviors.
Dr. Thomas' research interests relate to cardiac structure and function. More specifically
he has been interested in adaptations made by the heart to both physiological and
pathological overload. Exercise, a physiological overload, places tremendous stress
on the heart, and his laboratory has been studying acute effects and chronic adaptations
that the left ventricle makes to these stresses both in terms of cellular (myocyte)
and intracellular adaptations as well as the vasculature, microvasculature, and extracellular
space. In collaboration with Drs. Richard McCormick and Mark Stayton in the Departments
of Animal Science and Molecular Biology, respectively, Dr. Thomas has been studying
both pre- and post-translational modifications in the heart induced by aging, exercise,
and myocardial infarction.
Kelly L. Simonton, Ph.D. (Louisiana State University), Assistant ProfessorDr. Simonton’s research focus revolves around achievement motivation in physical education
and physical activity, specifically as it relates to student and teacher emotions
and their motivational effects. His primary interests involve understanding the influence
of emotion and motivation as well as the essential antecedents and outcomes of emotions
for students and teachers influenced by the curriculum, instructional style, belief
systems, teacher training, etc.
Dr. Wallhead's research interests include (1) examining the efficacy of sport-based
curricular models such as Sport Education and Teaching Games for Understanding in
facilitating student learning, and the role of physical education curricular models
in promoting extra-curricular youth physical activity.
Dr. Zhu's area of expertise is motor learning and motor control. His research focuses
on the coupling of perceptual and motor learning, especially how learning could occur
during the crosstalk between perception and action. He is also interested in the control
of motor skill in which the maximum efficiency could be explored with the consideration
of physical law and the environmental factors