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Research / Discovery

Human performance lab celebrates expansion

December 16, 2010

The success of the Human Performance Clinical/ Research Laboratory has necessitated the addition of 3,800-square-feet of space devoted to individual research laboratories led by faculty members. The lab celebrated the addition and renovation on December 9.

Through their research, HPCRL's outstanding and energetic faculty improve the lives of people everywhere. [view on YouTube]

Variables which impact health

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the country. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that by the year 2030 about 20 percent of the population, one in every five Americans, will be age 65 or older.

In January 2011, the first of America’s baby boomers will be eligible for Medicare making healthy aging a major issue to protect our federal budget from devastating deficits. 

At the Human Performance Clinical/Research Laboratory, Colorado State University researchers are working to combat these problems in a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to finding answers to questions which impact our health.

Addition dedicated Dec., 2010

The HPCRL, which is housed in the Department of Health and Exercise Science, College of Applied Human Sciences, first opened its doors in 2000, and was expanded in 2008. The lab was yet again in need of more space – a true testament to the success of this growing program. In 2009, the department broke ground on a 3,800-square-foot addition, and on December 9, held a celebration of the completion of the project.

The Human Performance Clinical/Research Laboratory was awarded LEED Gold from the U.S. Green Building Council

Transformational research

“The combination of this expanded world class facility, state-of-the art equipment, and an outstanding and energetic faculty will result in transformational research affecting the lives of people everywhere," said Gay Israel, department head of Health and Exercise Science.

Research being conducted at the Human Performance Clinical Research Laboratory. Image by CSU Photography.

"The $2.1 million addition and renovation was made possible by a collaborative effort among the Vice President for Research, College of Applied Human Sciences, and the Department of Health and Exercise Science. I would also like to thank our donors to the expansion project for their vision and support. They enable our mission to transform lives.” 

The lab houses several individual research laboratories led by faculty members in health and exercise science. These researchers share a passion for finding ways to prevent diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, and to promote healthy aging.

Sampling of studies

  • For example, in the Human Cardiovascular Physiology Laboratory, Frank Dinenno, a university Monfort Professor, is studying how peripheral blood vessels dilate and contract during stress such as exercise and low oxygen situations. Blood vessel behavior ultimately determines blood flow and oxygen delivery to muscle tissue. Studying how blood vessels work may eventually help people with acute or chronic heart or vascular conditions, especially as they age. 
  • In the Energetics/Mechanics Laboratory, Ray Browning is developing and testing new physical activity interventions to treat childhood and adult obesity while reducing the risk of injury.
  • In the Cell Culture Laboratory, Karyn Hamilton uses cultured cell models to identify ways by which exercise and other interventions can contribute to disease prevention and treatment. 
  • In the Clinical Interventions Laboratory, epidemiologist Tracy Nelson aims to uncover the risk factors for chronic disease – both genetic and dietary factors, such as the effect of fish oil supplements on human health.  
  • Chris Bell and his team in the Integrative Biology Laboratory are trying to determine if inhibition of the nervous system will alleviate the symptoms of insulin resistance typically observed in low oxygen environments such as high-altitude.
  • By using a variety of models such as skeletal muscle cells, mice, and humans, Ben Miller studies how to slow aging and increase healthspan by turning on the making of mitochondria. 
  • In the Core Wet Laboratory, Adam Chicco studies how changes in how our body cells produce energy and metabolize fats in aging, diabetes, and hypertension may contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease.

Image by CSU Photography.

Research will enhance quality of life

Faculty leading research projects in the HPCRL hope to achieve breakthroughs with numerous implications for our quality of life. Cutting edge research funded by the National Institutes of Health, American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, and Office of Naval Research among others has reached $1.1 million in annual expenditures and is expected to top $2 million in FY 11.

Recognized as a priority for campus as a Program of Research and Scholarly Excellence, the HPCRL initiative is in line with the goals of the recently announced Campaign for Colorado State University which aims to raise $500 million to strengthen learning and research experiences for students, and improve facilities for our growing campus community.

Donors made lab expansion possible

Several donors made leadership gifts to support the lab expansion. Thanks to donors, the lab has eight of the new spaces named with individual gifts ranging from $10,000 to $150,000 with more naming opportunities still available.

  • The Griffin Foundation was one of the original donors for construction of the lab and they have made a new leadership gift - 15 times greater than the initial gift - to name the Core Wet Lab.
  • Poudre Valley Health System, one of the original donors as well, has made another leadership contribution to name the Human Cardiovascular Physiology Lab.
  • Schuster Family Foundation represented by Darlene Schuster, a 1980 graduate of in the area of Occupational Therapy, has named one of the Ph.D. student office suites in the new facility.
  • Gary and Julie Luckasen have made a gift to support the remodel of the Heart Disease Prevention Lab. 
  • Several members of the Pettine Family made gifts in honor of Dr. Al Pettine, who was a faculty member in the Department of Physical Education, the predecessor to Health and Exercise Science. The Pettine Family gift supports the surgery area of the lab.
  • Gay and Karan Israel have named a Ph.D. office suite in honor of Joe and Lyndal Davis, Karan’s parents. Gay and Karan and Joe and Lyndal were each room donors for the original lab in 2000.
  • Jane Sullivan has named the microscope room in memory of her late husband Doug Sullivan. Jane is a graduate of the department, receiving her master’s degree in 1990.
  • Cliff Buchholz is the owner of Miramont Lifestyle Fitness and has named the freezer room in honor of Miramont’s members. Cliff was also a room donor for the original Human Performance Lab building and has supported the Homecoming Race as a sponsor for many years.

Many thanks to all of the donors who have made the lab expansion possible. Their dedication will enable faculty and students to conduct exciting research aimed at combating chronic diseases and transforming lives.


Contact: Gretchen Gerding
E-mail: Gretchen.Gerding@colostate.edu
Phone: 970.491.5182