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Arnold School of Public Health

Exercise Science

The Department of Exercise Science (EXSC) is known for our expertise is several research areas. Our laboratories, research groups, and centers are organized by our three divisions: Applied Physiology, Health Aspects of Physical Activity, and Rehabilitation Sciences. 

Division of Applied Physiology

Clinical Exercise Research Center

CERC is equipped for state-of-the-art measurement of metabolic and cardiorespiratory responses and adaptations to exercise in human subjects. A fully automated system for measurement of metabolism is included. This facility is also equipped with the state-of-the-art DEXA machine for body composition and bone mineral analysis. We have full phlebotomy capability and provides assay analyses. This facility provides an important resource for conducting undergraduate and graduate student research projects.

Sustain Lab (Katie Hirsch) 

The Sustain Lab investigates the use of exercise and nutrition to sustain, strengthen, and support health and performance across the lifespan. Our research centers around practical approaches to exercise and nutritional supplementation that target skeletal muscle, with the goal of improving body composition, metabolic health, and exercise/sport performance. We are especially interested in supporting female physiology and women's health. Current research focuses on exercise and nutritional strategies to manage menstrual symptoms and nutrient timing strategies for the promotion of cardiometabolic health, muscle maintenance, and healthy aging during the menopause transition.

Exercise Oncology Lab (Ciaran Fairman)

We investigate exercise and nutritional interventions to combatting the side effects of cancer and its treatments before, during, and after treatment. Current studies include investigating the implementation of an exercise oncology program embedded within local oncology services as well as the feasibility of cluster set resistance training to manage dyspnea in individuals with lung cancer. 

FLEX Lab (Mark Sarzynski)

The goal of the Foundations of Lipids and EXercise (FLEX) Lab is to better predict which individuals are most likely to benefit from regular exercise in the prevention & treatment of cardiometabolic risk factors by identifying biomarkers and mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of exercise. The ultimate goal is create tailored/personalized exercise therapies towards specific health outcomes or patient subsets (i.e., precision exercise medicine).

Human Metabolism Laboratory (Xuewen Wang)

The Human Metabolism Laboratory conducts observational and interventional studies to improve our understanding of the effects of exercise and sleep on metabolic and other health outcomes. 

Sport Science Lab (Shawn Arent)

The Sport Science Lab (SSL) focuses on optimizing human performance for a wide range of populations including competitive athletes and military personnel. The SSL studies the impact of exercise/training on performance and physiological responses while mitigating overtraining and injury risks. Current research includes intervention development for the Department of Defense and sports nutrition.  


Division of Health Aspects of Physical Activity

Arnold Healthy Kids Initiative (Michael Beets)

The AHKI research group is a multidisciplinary group of researchers working on issues related to childhood obesity. Located in the Department of Exercise Science, AHKI faculty have expertise in public health, physical education, pediatric psychology, and nutrition. The goals of AHKI are to advance the science of measurement of obesogenic behavior, uncover etiology of obesity and test interventions to prevent and treat childhood obesity. 

Children's Physical Activity Research Group (Russell Pate)

CPARG is an interdisciplinary team of faculty, staff, and graduate students who are dedicated to expanding the body of knowledge on physical activity and its promotion in children and adolescents. An overarching aim of CPARG is to enhance the health of young people by generating the knowledge needed to design and implement effective public health policies.

Emotion, Cognition, and Health Outcome (ECHO) Lab (Jason Yang)

The ECHO Lab uses mobile technology to study affective and cognitive determinants, concomitants, and consequences of movement-based behaviors in vulnerable populations. We study the roles that mindfulness and physical activity play in promoting healthy aging with the goal of developing evidence-based and cost-effective interventions to prevent and reduce the risks of chronic and neurological diseases.

Prevention Research Center (Sara Wilcox)

The CDC-funded PRC's theme is Promoting Health Through Physical Activity. Led by Dr. Wilcox, PRC faculty conduct research exploring social, environmental, and policy approaches to promoting physical activity.

Technology and Behavioral Intervention Lab (Christine Pellegrini)

The goal of the Technology and Behavioral Intervention Lab is to develop effective technology-supported behavioral programs to help adults increase physical activity, decrease sedentary time, improve diet, and lose weight.



Division of Rehabilitation Sciences

Applied Neuromechanics Laboratory (Sheri Silfies)

The goal of the lab is to investigate neural and mechanical mechanism of movement and postural control by combining neuroscience and biomechanics. Our research focuses on the mechanism underlying movement impairment associated with musculoskeletal injury and persistent pain.

Athletic Training Research Lab (Susan Yeargin, Toni Torres-McGehee, Zachary Winkelmann, Amy Hand, Jim Mensch)

The athletic training research lab faculty conduct research focused on youth through collegiate athletes and military personnel. Research specialties vary by faculty but include: hydration behaviors, heat illnesses, energy expenditure, athlete triad risk factors, patient centered care, telemedicine, musculoskeletal injury risk factors, sport specialization, and concussions.

Motor Behavior and Neuroimaging Laboratory (Jill Stewart)

The overall goal of the Motor Behavior and Neuroimaging Laboratory is to develop novel, effective, and individualized treatments to improve motor function and quality of life after stroke. To achieve this goal, our research focuses on the brain-behavior relationship during the control and learning of skilled motor tasks using detailed measures of movement (kinematics, EMG) and brain structure and function (functional MRI, diffusion tensor imaging) combined with clinical measures of impairment, function, and quality of life.

Rehab Lab (Alicia Flach, Stacy Fritz, Elizabeth Regan)

This group of faculty in the Rehab Lab at the University of South Carolina are Physical Therapists who investigate changes in physical functional and health primarily for those with neurological diagnosis such as those with Parkinson’s disease, Stroke, and Multiple Sclerosis.  We are principally interested in physical activity and physical therapy interventions to improve mobility and quality of life.

Sensory Motor Assessment and Robotic Technology Laboratory (Troy Herter)

The goal of the SMART Lab is to improve assessment and treatment of neurological impairments by using robotic and eye tracking technology to develop objective, quantitative measures of sensory, motor and cognitive function. 

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