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Ongoing Research

Below you will find an alphabetical list with the areas of ongoing research being conducted by our faculty:

Janice M. Bibik:  The effects of a variety of motivational interventions on increasing levels of physical activity and social interaction among children with autism spectrum disorders; strategies facilitating inclusion of children with disabilities in general physical education classes particularly the use of therapy dogs; development of assessments to improve this line of research.

Stuart Binder-Macleod: Neural control of skeletal muscle force output; using functional electrical stimulation to improve the walking patterns of individuals who have sustained strokes; combining robotic and electrical stimulation to train stroke patients; combining fast treadmill training and functional electrical stimulation to train stroke patients to increase their mechanical efficiency during walking and become more functional community ambulators.

Kathy Brewer-Smyth: Evaluating neurological and neuroendocrine correlates of violent and other high risk behaviors of females; relationships between neuroendocrine production of salivary cortisol, childhood physical and sexual abuse, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and high risk behaviors of females including homicide and HIV risk; dietary and environmental influences on brain function and behavior, and prevention of neurological decline in populations at risk.

Nancy Cotugna: Nutrition for low-income populations, obesity.

Joseph DeRanieri: Investigating the impact of psychosocial factors on exercise outcomes in Parkinson’s patients and stroke. The cost effectiveness of Community Based Group Exercise Programs for Stroke and Parkinson's patients.

Cynthia Diefenbeck: Factors influencing underrepresented minority applicant’s acceptance of admission offers to BSN programs; understanding the lived experiences of AA and Latino students in predominantly white BSN programs; innovative recruitment and retention programs for underrepresented minority nursing students; study of burnout in nurses and nursing students. Other areas of interest include nursing curriculum innovation and online support groups for caregivers.

David Edwards: Vascular Physiology Lab: Investigating the mechanisms of vascular dysfunction in patients with chronic kidney disease; collaboration with Bill Farquhar to study the vascular effects of dietary salt.

Bill Farquhar: Cardiovascular Research Lab (: examine blood pressure regulation and autonomic nervous system function in humans; the neural control of the circulation utilizing the technique of microneurography which allows measurement of efferent sympathetic outflow in humans; exploring the potential linkage between alterations in plasma osmolality and sympathetic outflow.

Daniel C. Flynn, PhD: Our lab studies cell biology and focuses upon how kinases regulate cytoskeletal integrity. We discovered a protein called AFAP1, which is the prototype member of the AFAP family of proteins, as well as the related AFAP1L1 and our focus is upon understanding their molecular and cellular function, as well as their physiological role in normal development and health.

Our research has implications for Breast cancer and how this disease becomes invasive; as well as liver cancer.

Cole Galloway: My lab is fascinated by the daily lives of young children and in turn the lives of their caregivers. Our projects tend to track community based behaviors of children and adults with laboratory grade data on key neural, biomechanical and social/physical environmental factors. Current projects involve research and development of technology and training to maximize the daily exploration, mobility, cognition and socialization abilities of young children with special needs.

Nancy Getchell: Development of motor coordination and control in children with disabilities, such as autism, dyslexia, and developmental coordination disorder; the relationship among motor skill proficiency, physical activity and fitness, and obesity in young children.

Steve Goodwin: How improving one's happiness may impact health behaviors.

Lynn Hayes: Influence of Visual Images on Tobacco Use Decisions of Young Adults; Online Support for Informal Caregivers: Psychosocial Outcomes; and Veterans Saring their Military Stories at End-of-Life: What is the Meaning to Veteran and Primary Caregiver?

Barbara Harrison: Fall prevention in older adults; Improving geriatric outcomes for persons with dementia or cognitive impairment; Improving mental health services to older adults.

Judy Herrman: Evaluating the effectiveness of teen dating violence programs for young mothers; Assessing teen pregnancy prevention strategies in changing teen attitudes toward parenting; School-based health center provision of reproductive health services; Public opinion of comprehensive sexuality education; Girls' perceptions of violence

Greg Hicks: Improving physical function in older adults; testing of an exercise intervention for older adults with chronic low back pain and further refinement of intervention strategies for older adults with chronic back pain; epidemiologic studies of older adults with hip fracture.

Pia Inguito: Postoperative care of total joint replacement surgery patients and long-term adherence to regular exercise in older adults post hip fracture.

Slobodan Jaric: Force coordination and performance of manipulation tasks; development of novel tests of neuromuscular function; effects of external load on performance and coordination of ballistic movements.

Amy Johnson: Examining the influence of family stress, environment, and high risk pregnancies on toddler behavior with a goal of tracking behavioral changes and scholastic outcome over time, and examining young adult lifestyle choices, risk and health behaviors abroad.

Tom Kaminski: Ankle instability; mild traumatic brain injuries in women's soccer; functional performance assessment for the lower extremity.

Paula Klemm: Online support for informal caregivers:psychosocial outcomes.

Chris Knight: Neuromuscular determinants of high quality and impaired mobility in older adults and individuals with movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease. The application of Physical Activity and Exercise Training Interventions to improve mobility, health and quality of life.

Marie Fanelli Kuczmarski: Nutrition component of the Health Aging in Neighborhoods of Diversity across the Life Span (HANDLS) study, designed to examine the causes of health disparities, specifically the roles of race and socioeconomic status, on the risk for developing cerebrovascular and cardiovascular diseases and cognitive impairment.

Arun Kumar: My research interests are nanomedicine, nanotoxicity, tissue engineering and biomedical devices. Nanomedicine will have extraordinary and far-reaching implications for the medical profession, for the definition of disease, for the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions including aging, and ultimately for the improvement and extension of natural human biological structure and function. Currently my research is focused on drug delivery to cancer tumor, to treat the cardiac disorders and tissue engineering of bone and skin.

Samuel Lee: Improving the function of individuals with central nervous system injury through the application of electrical stimulation to activate paralyzed or weakened muscles; the use of electrical stimulation as a tool: to study the physiologic characteristics of muscle and the central and peripheral nervous systems, to be applied as a rehabilitative or training method to improve muscle function and strength, and as a method to produce functional movement (FES) of impaired muscles.

Shannon Lennon-Edwards: Exploring the role of dietary intake on the cardiovascular system in healthy and diseased populations.

David Longstedt: Investigating performance-based and patient-reported outcomes after ACL and articular cartilage injuries; mechanistic outcomes after knee injuries; development of novel interventions to treat patients with knee injuries; development of web-based application to profile patients with knee injuries.

Huey-Jen Lin: Examine how epigenetically silenced tumor suppressor genes influence tumor initiation, progression and metastasis in breast and pancreatic cancers. My long-term research objective is to examine how aberrant signaling molecules regulate epigenomes and lead to a wide spectrum of malignant phenotypes , primarily in breast and pancreatic cancers. The ultimate goals are: to identify the microenvironmental cause (s) leading to tumorigenesis, decipher how dysregulated signaling pathways contribute to neoplasm by altering epigenomes, discover potential diagnostic bio-markers, and develop specific therapeutic strategies by correcting signaling molecules.

Bethany Hall-Long: The National Children's Study will examine the effects of environmental influences on the health and development of more than 100,000 children across the United States, following them from before birth until age 21. By following children through the age of 21 years, Study researchers hope to learn about the causes of health conditions such as injuries, asthma, pregnancy-related problems, obesity, diabetes, and behavior, learning, and mental health disorders. The University of Delaware is under contract with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to enroll 1,000 children from New Castle County, DE starting in 2012.

Kathy Matt: Development of new biomarkers for health and chronic disease

Raelene Maser: Examining distal symmetric polyneuropathy and cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy for individuals with diabetes. We have a particular interest in the assessment of nerve function, examining potential serum biomarkers related to nerve dysfunction, and evaluating potential treatment modalities for diabetic neuropathy.

Mary Ann McLane: Evidence-based medicine research connecting patient outcomes to diagnostic laboratory testing. Naturally occurring viper venom protein which has the ability to inhibit melanoma cell activity; using confocal microscopy and atomic force microscopy to visualize the direct interactions between eristostatin and 6 types of melanoma cells; the role of natural killer cells on cancer cell function.

Chris Modlesky: Musculoskeletal health, with a special emphasis on children; use of magnetic resonance imaging in lab to assess bone structure and muscle quality in groups at high risk for fracture; using these imaging techniques to assess the effect of high-frequency, low-magnitude vibration on bone mass and structure in children with osteogenesis imperfecta.

Veronica P.S. Njie-Carr: Reducing health disparities among people of African heritage at risk or living with HIV/AIDS. Specific areas of interest are HIV/AIDS and health disparities, Women’s health
Cross-cultural research.

Iva Obrushnikova: Understanding psychosocial, environmental, and physiological factors that affect physical activity in an effort to identify potential mechanisms of physical activity behavior change in individuals with developmental disabilities, including those with autism spectrum disorders. Designing interventions that manipulate those influences in a more controllable setting (e.g., using therapy dogs or technology to increase physical activity levels; providing training to physical educators and peers without a disability on how to adapt special needs of individuals with disabilities in their classes).

Beth Orsega-Smith: Physical activity behavior and psychosocial measures in older adults; investigating caloric expenditure and psychosocial determinants of playing Wii in older adults;assessing the barriers to physical activity participation through the use of photovoice; pictures and words.

Mia Papas: Dietary Intakes and Obesity Across the Lifespan

Michelle Parent: The generation of a protective immune response against a Yersinia pestis infection; developing a mouse model in order to investigate the pathogenesis of Vibrio parahaemolyticus.

Michael Peterson:Media and Marketing based interventions to promote healthy behaviors; psycho-social determinants of organizational and employee health; health promotion program development and evaluation.

Carolee Polek: Research includes examining vulnerable populations and risk for developing cancer; prevention and early detection for cancer; and investigating late effects of treatment in cancer survivorship.

Ingrid Pretzer-Aboff: Development and testing of interventions that optimizing function and physical activity in people living with Parkinson’s disease and stroke survivors; investigating the impact of psychosocial factors on exercise outcomes in Parkinson’s patients and stroke; and the development and testing of objective measures of gait and balance for people with Parkinson’s disease and other neurologically compromised populations.

Rhonda Prisby: relationship between bone circulation/bone blood vessel function and bone mass

Shelly Provost-Craig: Interests include physical activity and health outcomes for healthy and diseased populations.

Kathy Riley-Lawless: Improving the quality and safety of care provided to children with chronic conditions and their families.

Darcy Reisman: The overall goal of Dr. Reisman's research is to develop scientifically-based therapies to advance physical rehabilitation and recovery after injury to the brain, specifically after stroke.

Veronica Rempusheski: Older adults within a family/community context, within which older adults relate, communicate, and function, including aging in place, community-based participatory approach to outreach to older adults with cancer in Delaware's 8 cancer clusters, communication between college-age grandchildren and their grandparents, elder mistreatment and abuse, and the sociocultural link between gambling (and other leisure activities) and health in older adults.

Bill Rose: Experimental studies and mathematical modeling of hemodynamics and cardiovascular control; applications of mathematics and signal processing to biomechanics.

John Scholz: Study of mechanisms underlying the coordination of functional movement tasks in humans, including the study of coordination disorders in persons with neurological impairments resulting from a stroke and novel treatment approaches to improving motor function in such persons.

Kathleen Schell: Clinical nursing research including accuracy of blood pressure measurement at different cuff sites; assessment of bleeding events in cardiovascular patients; post-procedure assessment of patients undergoing coronary ct angiography; effects of gum chewing on postoperative bowel recovery.

Janice Selekman: Children with chronic conditions in the schools

Ju Young Shin: Chronic disease management in older adults; Aging in place and gerontotechnology; Improving mental health services to older adults

Regina Sims: Influence of cardiovascular risk factors on cognitive function in older adults;
African American cognitive aging; Psychosocial predictors of inflammation, immunity, cardiovascular function, and renal function in African Americans.

Lynn Snyder-Mackler: Knee and shoulder rehabilitation and neuromuscular electrical stimulation. Currently developing rehabilitation programs to enhance the recovery of muscle strength and function in older patients with osteoarthritis following total knee replacement surgery (nearly a half-million knee replacements are performed in the United States every year). Also working on a non-surgical approach to rehabilitating torn anterior cruciate ligaments in selected patients and effective rehabilitation after ACL reconstruction.

Steven Stanhope: Helping subjects reach their optimal level of function when an injury, disease or other health related condition results in physical disability; rehabilitation biomechanics and the clinical application of human motion capture, analysis and simulation methodologies.; gait, balance, prosthetics and orthotics, modeling pediatric obesity, joint stiffness, bone shape, rapid virtual prototyping of advanced prostheses and orthoses. Past research has included a broad range of patient conditions including: limb sparing procedures in osteogenic sarcomas, femoral neuropathies, Proteus syndrome, chronic stroke, Parkinson’s disease, osteogenesis imperfecta, amputation, post polio syndrome, cerebral palsy, cerebellar ataxia and aging.

Buz Swanik: The neuromechanics of joint instability; using different musculoskeletal pathologies as models to test theories surrounding this sudden loss coordination including osteoarthritis, ankle sprains and shoulder laxity. By simultaneously measuring sensorimotor characteristics like joint position sense, behavioral attributes(risk-taking, mental toughness) and biomechanical outcomes (muscle stiffness regulation or joint alignment) studies identify how unintentional injuries may originate from mental errors in judgment or coordination by simulating these events in a safe, controlled laboratory setting.

Jillian Trabulsi: Studies related to the effect of diet composition on infant weight gain; application of energy balance principles to understand infant weight gain; early childhood nutrition; maternal and child diet and obesity.

Megan Wenner: Women’s health, hormonal regulation with aging, menopause, cardiovascular physiology, amenorrhea in athletes.

Erlinda Wheeler: Determining whether telephone intervention will improve patients’ adherence to weight management program after bariatric surgery; investigating whether racial differences exist in the length of stay of hospitalizedpatients with CHF to compare hospital length of stay of patientswith CHF with depressionand patients with CHF and no depression.

Joe Zeni: Functional outcomes following total hip and knee replacement surgery; examining biomechanical asymmetries that may lead to the progression of arthritis on the non-operated limb; developing and testing novel rehabilitation strategies to reduce abnormal joint loading, improve symmetry between the limbs and optimize functional outcomes after joint replacement, understanding how weakness and pain influence movement patterns in older adults with joint pathology.