Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Andreae Lab

PI: Susan Andreae, PhD, MPH

Current Undergrads: 4

Research Topic: Health Promotion | Public Health | Health Behavior Our work focuses on developing and evaluating evidence-based health promotion programs in rural or underserved communities. Current projects include the development of a family-centered physical activity program and development of a falls prevention program using physical activity and peer support.

Seeking 2-3 undergraduates.

How to apply: Please contact: Andreaelab@education.wisc.edu with your name, major, and a brief summary of your research interests and how it aligns with your career goals.

Barnes Lab

PI: Jill Barnes, PhD

Current Undergrads: 2

Research Topic: Neurovascular Physiology The primary focus of our research is to understand the effect of aging on blood flow regulation in humans and how this relates to the risk of cardiovascular disease and dementia.

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Wisconsin Injury in Sport Laboratory

PI: David Bell, PhD, ATC

Current Undergrads: 2

Research Topic: Sport Specialization | Injury Prevention | Rehabilitation The Wisconsin Injury in Sport Lab…

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Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory

PI: Lisa Cadmus-Bertram, PhD

Current Undergrads: 7

Research Topic: Epidemiology | Physical Activity Promotion Our research covers three main themes: (a) the role of physical activity and sedentary behavior in health outcomes; (b) the development and evaluation of behavioral interventions to improve outcomes in chronic disease and other populations; and (c) determining the accuracy of different methods of device-based physical activity measurement. More information on our research, including specific projects, publications, and lab members, is available on the lab webpage.

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Promotion of Health, Equity, and Adapted Physical Activity (PHEAPA) Lab

PI: Luis Columna, PhD

Current Undergrads: 10

Research Topic: Physical Activity Promotion In our lab, we conduct research and design physical activity interventions for individuals with disabilities and their families across the lifespan.

Seeking 15 undergraduates.

How to apply: Please contact PHEAPA lab to express interest in joining.

In your email please include:

  • A one-page statement indicating why you want to be part of the lab.

Then, you’ll be asked to set up a meeting with lab personnel to clarify any question(s) you may have, and discuss lab expectations.

Cook Lab

PI: Dane Cook, PhD

Current Undergrads: 2

Research Topic: Exercise Psychology | Exercise and Brain Health The Cook Lab uses acute and chronic exercise, in conjunction with brain imaging tools (e.g. MRI, PET), to study the brain in both healthy people and those with chronic diseases than involve pain, fatigue, and cognitive problems. They also examine how other biological systems (e.g. autonomic, immune) interact with the brain to maintain disease.

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Diffee Lab

PI: Gary Diffee, PhD

Current Undergrads: 2

Research Topic: Skeletal muscle physiology | Cardiac muscle physiology | Aging | Exercise The Diffee Lab studies muscle (skeletal and cardiac) contraction and adaptation at the molecular and cellular level. They are interested in how muscle adapts to things like aging or exercise training or disease, and how this adaptation may change the properties of contraction in muscle cells.

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Koltyn Lab

PI: Kelly Koltyn, PhD

Current Undergrads: 3

Research Topic: Exercise Psychology The primary focus of the Koltyn lab is to examine the psychobiological benefits of exercise. Recently, they have examined the endocannabinoid system as a potential mechanism for psychological benefits that occur following exercise. They are also currently examining the effectiveness of an intervention to reduce sedentary behavior in older adults.

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Motor Behavior Lab

PI: Andrea Mason, PhD

Current Undergrads: 3

Research Topic: Motor Control | Development and Learning The Motor Behavior Lab studies how people plan and perform complex movements like reach-to-grasp and gait. They are interested in the behaviors across the lifespan (children, adults and older adults) as well as in neuro-developmental disorders like autism.

Seeking 2 undergraduates.

How to apply: Please contact Dr. Andrea Mason to express interest in joining the Motor Behavior Lab. In your email please include:

  • Confirmation that you’ve taken Kines 361
  • Statement of interest in lab’s research

Lab Webpage

Schrage Lab

PI: William Schrage, PhD

Current Undergrads: 5

Research Topic: Cardiovascular Regulation in Humans The Environmental and Exercise Physiology Lab studies how bodies regulate blood flow to skeletal muscles and brains, at rest and during stressors like exercise, hypoxia, etc. We are interested in how conditions like obesity and prediabetes alter this regulation. Typically our studies use Doppler ultrasound or MRI to make blood flow measurements, and some studies we administer medications to manipulate physiology to understand mechanisms of control.

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Motor Systems Physiology Lab

PI: Peter Van Kan, PhD

Current Undergrads: 0

Research Topic: Neuroscience | Neural Control of Movement The long-term objective of my research program has been to elucidate neural mechanisms that underlie control of limb movement. I am particularly interested in how the cerebellum, a major division of the central nervous system, contributes to the formulation of motor signals that command our musculoskeletal system. I study how cerebellar circuits, via their connections with descending motor pathways, contribute to the transformations of plans for voluntary limb movements into muscle commands necessary for their execution. The work is directly relevant to both normal and pathological control of movement in humans.

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Geriatric Health Services Research Lab

PI: Beth Fields, PhD, OTR/L, BCG

Current Undergrads: 4

Research Topic: Occupational Therapy | Geriatrics | Caregiving The Geriatric Health Services Research Lab engages in research that examines the quality, access, and outcomes of patient- and family-centered care approaches across the care continuum. This line of inquiry includes quantifying contemporary care delivery utilization and practices and their relationship to the desired outcomes of patients and family caregivers, as well as evaluating approaches for enhancing the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based programs and services.

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Occupation and Wellness Lab

PI: Elizabeth Larson, PhD, OTR

Current Undergrads: 1

Research Topic: Occupational Science The Occupation and Wellness Lab has multiple ongoing projects (see descriptions below). Their focus is on increasing participation in wellness promoting daily activities.

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Project Descriptions

Our work includes:

5Minutes4Myself Wellness program: a hybrid program that uses a habit building app combined with motivational interviewing consultations to create lifestyle change that . It was developed for caregivers of children with autism.
5Minutes4Myself Latinx: We are currently culturally adapting this program for use with Latinx college students. We are working with mentors to adapt the program and will be delivering it to Latinx undergraduates in the summer or fall semester.
Children’s Kitchen Task Assessment: We are working in expanding the tasks in this performance assessment of children’s executive functioning (EF) to allow assessment of progress (each task must be novel to asses EF).
Sennett outdoor experience: We are currently working with Sennett Middle school to create an outdoor space that meets the children’s needs for self-regulation, learning and community-building. We are working with a playground designer and the developer of Zones of Regulation, an occupational therapist, to design spaces and a user guide for students and staff to get what they need for their mental health and wellness when using the playground. We are gathering focus group data, training staff on Zones of Regulation principles, working with staff to design in Zones activities/signage for children with special needs and those without, conducting observations of the playground before and after installation and gathering surveys about children’s engagement pre/post recess.
ACE: We are currently working on data analysis and publications from our Active Classroom Engagement project where students used standing desks in the classroom
College student wellness: We are also analyzing data from time diaries and lifestyle change papers describing how students created wellness in their lives during a class on wellness.

Seeking 2-3 undergraduates.

How to apply: Please contact Dr. Beth Larson to express interest in joining the Occupation and Wellness Lab.

Email: elizabeth.larson@wisc.edu

In your email please include:

  • Expression of interest in the projects
  • If you are available on Wednesday morning for lab meetings (9:00am) and time commitment

Lab Webpage

Motor and Brain Development Lab

PI: Brittany Travers, PhD

Current Undergrads: 6

Research Topic: Autism Research The Motor Brain and Development Lab is dedicated to advancing knowledge about motor development, brain development, and independent living skills to promote and enhance quality of life for individuals with and without developmental disorders.

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