Since the Human Performance Lab began on campus in 2005, many people have been participating in various studies.
There are three functions of the HPL — to provide a place for exercise science students to learn real job skills, to serve the students, faculty and staff with any kind of health assessments and to conduct clinical research experiments each semester.
Director of the Human Performance Lab Dr. Colin Wilborn said, “Typically most of the studies are going to be carried out by students under my supervision. They will get the publications and present those at regional and national conferences.”
Each year, students travel to conferences to present data they have collected from their research.
Although most of the student workers have majors in the exercise and sport science department, junior psychology major Brooke Cox is happy she has the opportunity to work in the lab.
“The lab experience is something that is indispensable when I begin applying to graduate school. It will set me apart and show initiative. Aside from putting this on a resume, I love how this job is so structured and prestigious,” she said. “It is an honor to be selected to work for the lab, and it encourages me to work that much harder because I feel I have to keep up. I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else,” Cox said.
Exercise and sport science graduate student Stacie Urbina is an assistant in the Human Performance Lab. She sees the benefit for the school.
“Those who are exercise and sport science majors have the opportunity to see how the industry in our field works,” she said. “They can have hands-on experience with supplement companies that contact us to test their products as well as interact with the diverse populations that participate in our studies. For those who aren’t in the EXSS field, they can still gain knowledge and experience from the HPL”
This semester four research projects are taking place.
“My favorite study right now is the weight loss supplement that we are starting next month,” Urbina said. “It is one of the few studies that we have done that involves the female population. However, I have to admit I may be a bit biased because this study is also my first study to coordinate as a grad student, so it is extra special to me.”
Next is a study that is supposed to increase testosterone levels.
The third research has the HPL partnering with the women’s basketball team and the supplement beta alanine to increase their ability to build muscle strenght.
Lastly, the lab is doing a study with beans. A company has an enzyme like Gas-X that is supposed to help people not have gas with a protein supplement.
Grant funders typically come to Wilborn with ideas of what studies they should do.
“I put together the full proposal of how much it’s going to cost and how long it’s going to take. And then we will go back and forth until we come to an agreement. Then we will do the study,” Wilborn said.
In addition to the paid research, Dr. Cliffa Foster, Dr. Lem Taylor and Wilborn along with students will come up with studies they find interesting and important to do.
“I love how much I have learned. I started working with the lab at the beginning of September, and it’s been amazing,” Cox said. “The staff is killer. They are so fun to be around, but still understand we are here to work.”