Today @ Colorado State has been replaced by SOURCE. This site exists as an archive of Today @ Colorado State stories between January 1, 2009 and September 8, 2014.

Research / Discovery

Turning world-class research into life-changing solutions

January 26, 2010
By Kim Winger

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the country. The faculty and students of the Human Performance Clinical/Research Laboratory at Colorado State are committed to tackling these real-world problems.

Determined to add years to our lives

A Human Performance/Clinical Research Laboratory coordinator and graduate student conduct a treadmill test on a client.

World-class faculty conducting groundbreaking research, dedicated students passionate about hands-on learning, community members determined to add years to their lives -- these are the people hard at work throughout the Human Performance Clinical/Research Laboratory on campus every day. These are the people who share a passion for finding ways to:

  • prevent diabetes
  • prevent heart disease
  • prevent obesity
  • promote healthy aging

The HPCRL, which first opened its doors in 2000, and was expanded in 2008, is yet again in need of more space -- a true testament to the success of this growing program.

Last summer the department broke ground on a 3,800-square-foot addition. Construction has just been completed and finishing touches are being done over the coming days.

Strengthening learning and research

Recognized as a priority for campus, the HPCRL initiative is in line with the goals of the Campaign for Colorado State University – a $500 million fundraising campaign aimed at increasing financial support for students and faculty, strengthening learning and research experiences, and improving facilities for our growing campus community.

The department’s fundraising goal for the HPCRL addition is $1 million, and a larger $5 million goal includes broader support for equipment, research seminars, scholarships, student support, and a University endowed faculty position. Alumni, friends, and like-minded supporters can help us do what we cannot accomplish on our own. Opportunities to partner and put your name on space dedicated to groundbreaking research and outreach are available from $10,000 to $1 million and greater.

New space overview

Students demonstrate one of the many research techniques used during studies conducted by the Department of Health and Exercise Science.

The new space will allow for new labs, offices, equipment, and areas for continued collaborative discovery:

Skeletal Muscle Clinical Lab – a place where researcher, Assistant Professor Ben Miller, and students will continue discovering, testing, and implementing strategies to slow the aging process in muscle.

Clinical Flex Lab – where students will work with 2009 Monfort Professor Frank Dinenno, whose groundbreaking research in skeletal muscle blood flow is unlocking the secrets of how advancing age impacts blood flow and oxygen delivery. Assistant Professor Chris Bell will also use this lab to understand the physiological mechanisms responsible for obesity and diabetes, with the goal of developing effective interventions.

Clinical Interventions – to be used for a new obesity prevention program, developed by Associate Professor Tracy Nelson, for students at CSU. Nelson will also use the space for related research on dietary factors, genetic susceptibility, and environmental influences that impact chronic diseases.

Energetics Mechanics
– designed for Assistant Professor Ray Browning’s research to explore the use of human-powered devices -- such as playgrounds -- to promote physical activity in children, with the aim of preventing and treating obesity.

Core Wet Lab – will provide a shared space for HES faculty to conduct the biochemical and molecular biological analyses that are essential to their mechanistic research. For example, Assistant Professor Adam Chicco will occupy this space to investigate mechanisms involved in progression from metabolic syndrome to heart failure, including the contributions of lipid metabolism and mitochondrial dysfunction.

Cell Culture – where Assistant Professor Karyn Hamilton will seek to identify interventions to protect against hypoxic injury and prevent loss of heart cells following a heart attack. This collaborative space will be shared with Simon Lees, whose stem cell research is determining why skeletal muscle loses its ability to adapt to exercise and repair itself after injury – contributing to a condition known as sarcopenia, which leads to physical frailty and decreased quality of life in up to 45 percent of our aging population.

Tech and Ph.D. Offices
– where mentoring, collaboration, research, writing, and training for doctoral students in the new Human Bioenergetics Ph.D. program will occur.

Life-changing research

The research is life-changing, and the teaching opportunities are significant. The HPCRL expansion will continue to allow for the pathways to bring research to people -- translated to real-world applications. Today’s students will continue to carry out their work in communities, health care settings, and centers across the country.

To learn more or to get involved, please contact Lori Sims at (970) 491-5669 or or Gay Israel at (970) 491-3785 or

Excerpt from original story published in the Department of Health and Exercise Science Alumni Messenger newsletter.