The principal focus of our Exercise Physiology discipline is musculoskeletal physiology and metabolism. Within this discipline we have faculty who investigate the molecular and integrative basis of numerous health conditions (e.g. obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis), focusing predominately on the role(s) of skeletal muscle and bone physiology and metabolism in the disease process. This includes understanding how nutrient excess and inactivity adversely affect skeletal muscle and bone, and the ways in which physical activity and diet interventions can be used to reverse these conditions. Importantly, this work spans studies in cells and other model systems to human participants in a clinical setting. The purpose of this work is to enhance the understanding of disease risks and processes, with the ultimate goal of translating information into strategies designed to improve human health.

A second focus of our Exercise Physiology discipline is human performance. To address this area of emphasis we have a well-equipped Human Performance Laboratory to test and measure the limits of human exercise performance. Inherent in this discipline is an understanding of the physiologic basis of human performance and practices and principals of improving human exercise performance.

All faculty within the discipline of Exercise Physiology are highly collaborative, working well as a group and with the other disciplines in Kinesiology, the College of Public Health and Human Sciences and across the Oregon State University campus. Accordingly, students interested in pursuing education within the Exercise Physiology discipline have many unique and diverse opportunities in research and training available to them, and are encouraged to explore these possibilities with prospective faculty mentors.

Students interested in pursuing education and training within Exercise Physiology are strongly encouraged to visit the specific laboratory and faculty pages provided below to learn more about current research investigations and student opportunities.


Translational Metabolism Research Laboratory (TMRL)

The Translational Metabolism Research Laboratory is dedicated to the investigation of human metabolic diseases, for the purpose of improving human health. Our aim is to elucidate mechanisms underlying obesity-related and age-related skeletal muscle insulin resistance and the improvement in skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity after exercise. Our laboratory focuses on the role of intramuscular lipids and mitochondrial metabolism in these processes. Studies in the TMRL range from cells and other model systems to human participants in a clinical setting.

The TMRL is co-directed by Sean Newsom, Ph.D. and Matt Robinson, Ph.D.


Skeletal Biology Laboratory (SBL)

The Skeletal Biology Laboratory is dedicated to improving bone health and reducing osteoporosis-related fractures. The laboratory focuses on underlying mechanisms that govern the regulation of bone growth and homeostasis. This knowledge is utilized to design strategies to prevent or treat metabolic bone disease. Our research is performed using cell culture and animal models and current research foci include: 1) neuroendocrine regulation of body weight and bone metabolism with special emphasis on the hormone leptin, 2) the dose, gender and age effects of alcohol consumption on bone, 3) etiology of skeletal diseases related to kidney failure, 4) regulation of stem cell differentiation into bone cells and fat cells, 5) skeletal actions of ionizing radiation, and 6) countermeasures to prevent the negative skeletal efects of weightlessness during long duration spaceflight.

The SBL is co-directed by Russell Turner, Ph.D. and Urszula Iwaniec, Ph.D.


Human Performance Laboratory (HPL)

The Human Performance Lab research interests include exercise energy metabolism, athletic performance, and body composition. The Lab provides tests of aerobic fitness (maximal oxygen consumption) and body composition (percent body fat) for a reasonable fee.

The HPL is directed by Jason (Jay) Penry, Ph.D.