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July 27, 2021

ESMS graduate student receives internship with the New York Mets

Sara Ann Davidson

Sara Ann Davidson, a graduate student in Exercise, Sport & Movement Sciences (ESMS), has been awarded a sport science internship with the New York Mets and will be working with them during the program's 2021-22 season. Sara Ann graduated summa cum laude in 2020 with a bachelor's degree in ESMS from the College of Health Sciences. Additionally, she was a member of the Memphis Tigers Softball team from 2017-21.

"Studying sports science for me combines two things I have always loved, and I am so excited about the opportunity to utilize my education and love for sports in this elite environment," said Davidson.

Listen to the latest episode of our Human Performance Center's "Applying Sport Science" podcast with Dr. Daniel Greenwood. Sara Ann talks openly about her challenges and lessons learned while applying for multiple jobs. She talks about what she did as a student to put herself in a position to succeed and what others should do to carve a path in this competitive industry.

Listen Now:

July 21, 2021

PETE student receives Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholar Award

Lanyce Williams

Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) junior, Lanyce Williams, was recognized as as a 2021 Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholar.

Diverse: Issues In Higher Education sponsors the http://diverseeducation.com/Ashe/ to honor students of color who have excelled in the classroom as well as on the athletic field. Inspired by tennis legend Arthur Ashe, Jr.'s commitment to education as well as his love for the game of tennis, U.S. colleges and universities are invited to participate in this annual awards program by nominating their outstanding sports scholars. In addition to their athletic ability and academic performance, Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars demonstrate a commitment to community service and student leadership.

July 16, 2021

Assistant professor receives grant from the National Science Foundation

Yufeng Zhang

Assistant professor, Dr. Yufeng Zhang, was awarded a $504,545 grant from the National Science Foundation for his project, "Collaborative Research: Understanding the rules of honest signaling." Collaborators include Dr. Geoffrey Hill from Auburn University and Dr. Matthew Toomey from University of Tulsa. $1.4M was awarded for the entire project.

Feather coloration in birds serves as an honest signal of individual condition. This finding is both well documented and quite remarkable. It is far from obvious why the hue of feathers reveals the individual quality or what prevents low-quality birds from cheating this system.

In this project, a team of scientists with expertise spanning animal physiology, cell biology and genomics will use both whole animals, cell culture and isolated subcellular organelles to study the molecular and biochemical mechanisms of coloration. They will examine and compare these processes in House Finches in good or poor condition to deduce the specific mechanisms that promote or inhibit the production and accumulation of red pigments and hence, control plumage coloration.

Understanding the biochemical and cellular rules that govern carotenoid coloration in songbirds is important not just for a better understanding of this central process in nature, but because carotenoid pigments play a key role in cellular homeostasis in humans. They will share these insights and support STEM education through an ornithology summer camp program, curricula development and training workshops for public school teachers, and middle and high school student visits to investigator laboratories.

July 13, 2021

Research Assistant Professor speaks on how Memphis ranks near bottom of recreation study

WREG Live at 9 - Memphis ranks near bottom of recreation study

The Mid-South typically ranks high on the list of states with populations that struggle with obesity.  A new WalletHub study reveals that Memphis comes in near the bottom of the rankings when researchers look at overall activity.  

Research Assistant Professor and member of Common Table Health Alliance, Dr. Fedoria Rugless, talks about the study and ways we can change that. 

Dr. Rugless also serves as the director of research for Church Health. This dual position was developed from the President's office in collaboration with Church Health leadership, with the vision of developing a nationally recognized collaborative research program between the University of Memphis and Church Health. In this role, Dr. Rugless works as a liaison between University of Memphis investigators and Church Health, with the goal of building a strong collaborative research network that enhances the community-based clinical work being done at Church Health, while providing University faculty with the opportunity to conduct research within a model healthcare organization.


July 12, 2021

Drowning prevention grant awarded to College of Health Sciences

CPR trainingDebra WyattBlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Community Trust

The College of Health Sciences, led by the efforts of instructor/coordinator Debra Wyatt, was awarded $10,000 from BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Community Trust for the third year in a row. The first year, the award was used to develop a program offering free CPR to the community. The second year, we continued with free CPR courses and added free lifeguard training. This year, we shift our focus back to CPR and have partnered with Shelby County Schools (SCS) to offer free courses for SCS faculty, staff and students.

July 6, 2021

Clinical Nutrition program receives grant to work with local urban garden

Tracy BruenMike and Karen MinnisLandmark GardensLandmark Voluunteers

Photos courtesy of Landmark Training Development Company

Our Clinical Nutrition program, led by Dr. Tracy Bruen, was awarded a $25,000 specialty crop block grant from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture to work with Orange Mound's Landmark Training Development Company on a nutrition education program for at-risk youth and their families. 

Founded by Mike and Karen Minnis, the Landmark Training Development Company is a multi-faceted non-profit organization whose ultimate goal revolves around creating economically sustainable communities for families in the Mid-South area. They operate the Landmark Farmer’s Market, food pantry, the Landmark Gardens, urban outreach center and other advocacy programs. Landmark Training strives to help youth develop job skills, positive social habits and self-sufficient attitudes as they navigate through society.

June 23, 2021

Nutrition clinical assistant professor recognized as Outstanding Dietitian of the Year

Sara Foley holding TAND award

Every year, the Tennessee Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (TAND) recognizes outstanding dietetic students and dietitians. Clinical assistant professor, Sara Foley, was awarded this year's Outstanding Dietitian of the Year for Tennessee.

Outstanding Dietitian of the Year is awarded annually to a member of the Academy who is an active participant in the national, affiliate and district association and has not previously received the award. The recipient must also demonstrate concern for the promotion of optimal health and nutrition status of the population, demonstrate leadership in the association or employment, be a minimum of 35 years old and worked a minimum of 10 years as a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN).

June 16, 2021

Healthcare Leadership clinical assistant professor's abstract accepted as part of APHA 2021

Dr. Shemeka Hamlin-Palmer

Healthcare Leadership Clinical Assistant Professor Dr. Shemeka Hamlin-Palmer’s abstract, “HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Gaborone, Botswana: A Faculty-Led Public Health Study Abroad Program,” was accepted as part of American Public Health Association’s (APHA) 2021 Annual Meeting and Expo.

Botswana has the fourth-highest HIV prevalence in the world. The epidemic affects women and young girls the most. HIV stigma and discrimination are widespread issues in Botswana, causing many people to avoid getting tested for HIV or seek health care services.  

Dr. Hamlin-Palmer traveled with 14 junior and senior level students from an HBCU in Jackson, MS to Gaborone, Botswana for 15 days to study the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Students received several lectures from medical personnel describing the history of HIV, the impact, the Botswana National ARV Program, and the Treat All Strategy. Lectures focused on the health care delivery system, the role of traditional medicine in Botswana society and the state of Tuberculosis in the era of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The program afforded students with trips to TB Clinics, Baylor Pediatric Center and Teen Club,  Princess Marina Public Hospital/Block 6 Clinic and Bokamoso Private Hospital. Students were able to compare public and private hospitals and visit clinics that provided health care solely to pediatrics and adolescents living with HIV. Lastly, students participated in a community engagement activity with a local non-governmental organization located in Mochudi. 

Students gained a plethora of knowledge on the state of adult, pediatric and adolescent HIV care, treatment, support and mortality in Botswana. When comparing the public and private hospitals, students noticed the disparity in the delivery of health care among the two. Stigma was an issue highlighted as a reason for not accessing care after testing positive for HIV and for not getting tested for HIV.  

When addressing stigma as it relates to HIV/AIDS, more education is needed to help understand the transmission of the virus, and that it should not be labeled as a virus for a particular gender or race. Health care access is a growing need and should be widely available regardless of HIV status or ability to pay.  

June 10, 2021

CHS assistant professor's project chosen for new Memphis-Meharry research collaboration

Melissa Puppa, PhD

The University of Memphis and Meharry Medical College (MMC), the largest private historically Black academic health science center in the U.S., are launching a new initiative -  the Program to Enhance Collaborative and Interdisciplinary Research (PECIR). The purpose of the Memphis-Meharry Program is to stimulate innovative, interdisciplinary, team-based research that involves investigators from both institutions. 

Six teams, comprised of faculty members from both schools, were selected to receive $50,000 grants for their projects. The award is designed to promote new lines of research and provide seed money to give rise to future external funding. Assistant professor Dr. Melissa Puppa's project (in collaboration with Dr. Smita Misra from MMC), "Elucidating mechanisms for the sexually dimorphic response to diet induced obesity and metabolic syndrome," was among those chosen.

“This is the start of an exciting longer-term research partnership between our two institutions,” said Dr. Jasbir Dhaliwal, UofM’s EVP of Research and Innovation, in a release. “Science is inherently collaborative, and it is imperative that we pool our research capabilities to tackle the big health and medical challenges facing our communities. It is my belief that these research teams will be successful in attracting significant competitive research support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) given the focus of the projects.”



Puppa/Misra's project summary:

Obesity and diabetes are growing epidemics not only in developed countries, but also in developing countries. There is some disparity across the sexes with males being more likely to develop diabetes and metabolic syndrome than females even though females are more likely to be classified as obese. While estrogen seems to play a role in this dimorphism the contribution and its effects on metabolically active tissues are not fully understood. Therefore, we proposed to examine the dimorphic response of male and female metabolically active tissues to either a control diet, high fat diet, or high sugar diet. We hypothesize that the innate stress responses of metabolically active tissues will differ between males and females and this will correlate with metabolic dysfunction leading to diabetes and metabolic syndrome.  Understanding the mechanisms behind this sexual dimorphism can aid in the development of sex specific therapeutic interventions to prevent and treat one of the leading contributors of chronic disease. We will use both in vivo and in vitro studies to identify the sex specific metabolic alterations during the development of obesity and metabolic syndrome.

June 1, 2021

PETE assistant professor recognized by international phys ed association

Kelly Simonton

Assistant professor, Dr. Kelly Simonton, was selected as a recipient for the International Association for Physical Education in Higher Education (AIESEP) Young Scholar Award.

The AIESEP Young Scholar Award was established in 2001 by former AIESEP board member Eitan Eldar (Israel). The intent of the award is to recognize early career scholars within the field who demonstrate outstanding scholarly contribution and promise. The award also supports the participation of early career scholars at AIESEP events.

At the 2021 online AIESEP World Congress, he will present his research, “College students previous physical education experiences: Student content beliefs, emotions, and outcomes.” 

“My goals and principles for working in the field of PETE and conducting high quality pedagogical research align seamlessly with the goals of AIESEP. Specially, the attention given to evidence-based methodologies and advocacy for creating strong international bonds amongst researchers and educators," said Simonton.


May 26, 2021

Instructor awarded grant to help families engage in a healthy, outdoor activity

Matt McDaniel

Health Sciences instructor, Matt McDaniel, was awarded a $4000 grant from the Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation for installation of the book "Last Stop on Market Street" for the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF)  Storybook Trail program at Heritage Park walking path in Brownsville, Tenn. GBBF’s Storybook Trail program includes 18 trails in Tennessee at 15 state parks, two city parks and one botanical garden and estate. This will be the first Storybook Trail in Brownsville.

In 2018, Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation launched the Storybook Trail program by partnering with Tennessee State Parks Conservancy, city parks and outdoor areas to provide a children’s storybook, presented on child-height panels, along a short trail to promote adult-child interaction around books and nature. The trails feature reading tips on each page panel to bring the book to life with the surrounding nature. In addition to promoting literacy and caregiver engagement, the Storybook Trail program encourages families to connect with nature and engage in a healthy, outdoor activity.

May 20, 2021

ESMS alumnus featured in UofM Magazine

Juan Torres

Exercise, Sport & Movement Sciences alumnus and first-generation college graduate, Juan Torres, was featured in the latest UofM Magazine. Born in León, Mexico, he was 3 when he moved to Memphis with his family. Torres graduated cum laude with the Spring Class of 2021.

“Being first-generation is a very powerful thing,” Torres said. “We carry a heavy weight on our back given that we are committing to something our parents and loved ones weren’t able to do. Don’t be afraid to seek out help. There are plenty of students that have the same questions you might have when stumbling upon something difficult. Reach out for support from your classmates, professors, tutoring services or any of the many great programs on campus.” 

Torres completed an internship with Wright Medical Technology in Memphis and plans to remain in the area for the foreseeable future. He sees himself working as a sales representative for a high-end technology company, like Wright Medical, providing products to hospitals in need.


May 18, 2021

Associate professor featured in the Spring 2021 UofM Magazine

Max Paquette in lab with students

Dr. Max Paquette, associate professor and 2020 Tennessee Science Educator of the Year for Higher Education, was featured in the latest issue of the University of Memphis Magazine.

"Although producing new science and contributing to my area of research is important, I feel much more fulfilled when I know I’m helping students get the most out of their educational experience at the University."


May 8, 2021

Congratulations to the College of Health Sciences spring class of 2021

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.” – Henry David Thoreau

May 6, 2021

Dietetics alumna receives CPSDA Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Dietetic Internship Scholarship

Video courtesy of CPSDA

From the the Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians Association (CPSDA):

Congratulations to the first CPSDA Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Dietetic Internship Scholarship recipient, Adria Butler. A native of Memphis, Tenn., Adria earned a bachelor's degree in exercise science from the University of Dayton, where she also competed as a student-athlete in track & field. She then earned a bachelor's degree in dietetics from the University of Memphis. Adria will begin her Dietetic Internship at Florida State University in the fall of this year. ⁣

Adria’s interest in sports nutrition began during a summer internship at D1 Sports Training and Therapy. She assisted⁣ in the training of athletes of all ages, including professional athletes. She noticed the benefits of the individualized dietary plans developed for their clients, but their plans were not developed by registered dietitians. She then had the opportunity to serve under the registered dietitian at the University of Memphis Campus Recreation Center’s smoothie bar, which piqued her interest in sports nutrition.

Adria wrote “Working at UofM was an invaluable experience, not only because it was my first job in the field of nutrition, but it also allowed me to be mentored by a registered dietitian who was a young, African-American female like myself. I learned a great deal from her, most notably the need for diversity and cultural competency within the field of dietetics to provide the best care to⁣ patients."

With this scholarship, CPSDA seeks to increase diversity within our organization and throughout the profession with a commitment to supporting increased enrollment of BIPOC students in dietetic internships. 

May 4, 2021

Nutrition professor elected president of MAND

Tracy Bruen

Clinical assistant professor and M.S. Clinical Nutrition/DI program director, Dr. Tracy Bruen, was elected president of the Memphis Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (MAND) for the 2021-22 term.

Dr. Bruen is passionate about implementing evidence-based practice in the clinical setting and the promotion of registered dietitians as healthcare leaders. Her research interests include diabetes treatment and prevention as well as critical care nutrition. She has served as a mentor and preceptor for students for over 20 years and desires to continue to make a positive impact on the future of the profession.

May 2, 2021

Health Sciences professor elected UofM Faculty Senate president

Pat Travis, PhD

Clinical associate professor and Healthcare Leadership unit coordinator, Dr. Pat Travis, was elected to serve as president-elect of the University Faculty Senate. He will serve in that capacity until April 2022 and transition to president for the 2022-23 term.

The Faculty Senate consists of 44 senators representing departments, independent units and areas across the University. It serves as a forum for the formulation of faculty opinion, a university-wide voice for faculty views and the primary vehicle for faculty participation in University governance. 

April 28, 2021

Health Sciences professor selected for MBJ's 40 Under 40

Dr. Fedoria Rugless

Research assistant professor, Dr. Fedoria Rugless, was selected as one of Memphis Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 honorees. For 25 years, the Memphis Business Journal has recognized the best and brightest young professionals in the Mid-South who are making a difference in their professions and in the community.

"Memphis has given me the opportunity to operate and explore vast areas consistent with my passions. It has also created opportunities to meet, network and collaborate with many within the city and community to enhance this area and promote change, growth and development. It has also provided me with additional skills in leadership, being a neutral convener and liaison between various community partners and organizations," says Rugless.

Dr. Rugless also serves as the director of research for Church Health. This dual position was developed by the President's office in collaboration with Church Health leadership, with the vision of developing a nationally recognized collaborative research program between the University and Church Health with the goal of building a strong collaborative research network that enhances the community-based clinical work being done at Church Health, while providing University faculty with the opportunity to conduct research within a model healthcare organization. This role embodies both of her passions and areas of service in the healthcare and research arenas. Ultimately, she desires to reduce healthcare disparities within underserved populations, and for all to obtain holistic health and wellness.

40 Under 40, Class of 2021 >

April 22, 2021

College of Health Sciences students honored by the Office of the President

President's Leadership Awards and Honors Assembly

Student Leadership & Involvement in conjunction with Student Academic Success, the Commencement Office and the Office of the President hosted the President's Leadership Awards and Honors Assembly. This reception honored the University of Memphis' finest and brightest student academic achievements, student leaders and organizations for their dedication to the University. 

Inducted into the 2021 Carson's Circle - MaKayla Carr

MaKayla Carr

2021 Honorees:

2021 Honorees

  • Outstanding Senior in Health Sciences - Taleecia Rodgers
  • Outstanding Healthcare Leadership Student Award - Alexandra Rathbun
  • Outstanding Senior in Exercise, Sport & Movement Sciences Award - Braam Bisscop
  • Outstanding Dietetic Student Award - Ayden C. Hayes
  • Outstanding Health Promotion Student - Ashley Chism
  • Ralph Hatley Award - Stephen Dowda
  • Biomechanics Achievement Award - Adriana Miltko and Alexis K. Nelson
  • Exercise Physiology Achievement Award - Wangkuk Son
  • Eleanor Mae Ferguson Award - Kimberley Smit
  • Outstanding Contribution to Student Life - Desiree' Dyson
  • The Melvin A. Humphreys Prize for Student Research - Megan R. Ryan (not pictured)

2020 Honorees:

2020 Honorees

  • Outstanding Dietetic Student Award - Ashlyn Redmond
  • Outstanding Senior in Health Sciences - Jose Manuel Sanchez
  • Outstanding Health Promotion Student - Madison Mills
  • Outstanding Healthcare Leadership Student Award - Melissa King (not pictured)

April 22, 2021

Applying Sport Science Podcast Premieres

Daniel Greenwood, PhDApplying Sport Science Podcast

In this podcast series, Human Performance Center director Dr. Daniel Greenwood chats openly and honestly with coaches, athletes and scientists about their experiences (both good and bad) with sport science and sport scientists, to help developing and aspiring applied scientists understand the industry, their role, and ultimately how to be effective and contribute to athletic performance.

Listen Now:


April 15, 2021

Health Sciences student elected Lt. Governor of the 112th General Assembly Internship Program

Jada Cooke

Health Sciences senior, Jada Cooke, was elected Lt. Governor of the 112th General Assembly of Tennessee Legislative Internship Program Intern Mock Session. Jada graduates in May and plans to attend graduate school and complete a double major in Occupational Therapy (OT) and Communication. She hopes to become an OT for special needs children or pursue a career in politics.

"For the past four months, I have had the opportunity to participate in the Tennessee Legislative Internship Program with the Tennessee General Assembly. Honestly, I had no idea that this program even existed, until I received an email from the University of Memphis stating that they thought I would be a great fit for the program. Long story short, I was awarded the internship and have learned a lot of valuable information about different events that take place during the legislative process.

Since I have been here, I have worked with Senator Raumesh Akbari and her amazing staff on different bills and resolutions. I have even had the opportunity to write a bill myself concerning the special education programs in public schools. Along with this, I have also had the opportunity to become a writer for the TLIP newsletter. However, once the program was coming to an end, I felt like something was missing.

With this in mind, I decided to run for the 2021 Lieutenant Governor for the Tennessee Legislative Internship Program Intern Mock Session. During this election process, I learned a lot about myself and how to work better with others. I have taken time out of my days to allow others to get to know me as not just an acquaintance, but a future leader. For that, I am eternally grateful.

I would like to thank everyone who believed that a shy young lady, could become an outspoken woman and do amazing things in this position. Also, I would like to personally thank Senator Akbari, Ms. Patton, Mr. Gaye, Mr. Puttbrese, Ms. Frierson, Professor Dawkins, Professor Langston and the entire College of Health Sciences for pushing me every day and believing that I could do it from the very beginning."

April 13, 2021

Faculty member selected as Academic Research Fellow at the Hooks Institute

Shameka Hamlin-Palmer

Clinical assistant professor, Dr. Shemeka Hamlin-Palmer, has been selected as an Academic Research Fellow at the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis. The Hooks Institute is a premier center for scholars working on race and social justice scholarship. The Academic Research Fellows Program fulfills the Hooks Institute’s mission of teaching, studying, and promoting civil rights and social change.

Dr. Hamlin-Palmer's development has been grounded in theories and methods found in the field of social and behavioral science. In addition to teaching, she has dedicated the past 15 years to working, partnering and collaborating with CBOs, health care organizations and other academic institutions to reduce the impact of health disparities, including HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, mental health, cardiovascular disease, obesity and cancer in minority populations throughout the United States.


April 6, 2021

College of Health Sciences hosts final Healthy Conversations event of the season

Healthy Gut, Healthy life

The microbiome is made up of many trillions of bacteria living in and on your body. Everyone has a unique microbiome - your geography, health status, stress level, age, gender and diet can affect the composition of your microbiome and the types of bacteria found in your body. Our diets have a large impact on the types and abundance of bacteria found in the gut. By changing the foods you eat, you can influence your microbiome’s balance.

This panel discussion included a nutrition scientist, clinical dietitian and gastroenterologist covering recent research on the gut microbiome and its role in human health. Learn clinical perspectives and recommendations for improving gut health. When your microbiome is balanced, your entire body benefits.

Presented by:

  • Marie van der Merwe, PhD - Associate Professor / Nutrition Scientist, University of Memphis
  • Anna Tuttle, MS, RD, LDN - Clinical Dietitian, UT Health Science Center / Le Bonheur Children's Hospital 
  • Mark Corkins, MD - Gastroenterologist, UT Health Science Center / Le Bonheur Children's Hospital

March 16, 2021

PETE Alumnus recognized by the Tennessee Department of Education

Andy Martin holding award

Physical Education Teacher Education alumnus, Andy Martin, was selected as the Coordinated School Health Coordinator of the Year by the Tennessee Department of Education. He was selected for his work at Germantown Municipal School District and for leading the charge to keep students engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some initiatives he implemented:

  • Virtual Run Challenge for Breast Cancer Awareness
  • Virtual Run for Walk Across TN
  • No Smoke November Anti-Tobacco Campaign
  • Toys for Tots drive
  • The Fitness Warehouse (staff exercise challenge for January)
  • The Biggest Loser (staff weight loss challenge from Jan-March)
  • Learning Labels nutrition experience (teach students to read nutrition labels)
  • Germantown Gets Cooking Challenge (student and staff cooking challenge)
  • Hydrate for Health (student and staff water intake challenge)
  • Staff Yoga Sessions taught by licensed instructor

March 10, 2021

PETE student receives honors from Tennessee Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (TAHPERD)

Stephen Dowda standing on trackStephen Dowda

Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) senior, Stephen Dowda, received the James E. Ward Student Honor Award for the University of Memphis and was selected as the overall TAHPERD 2020 James E. Ward Future Professional Award winner for Tennessee. Stephen is the first overall winner from the University of Memphis PETE program within the last 10 years. He graduates this semester and looks forward to a successful career as a Physical Education teacher. 

James E. Ward Future Professional Honor Award was established to recognize an outstanding Tennessee college or university student majoring in health, physical education, recreation, dance and/or related areas. 

February 26, 2021

Faculty honored as Principal Investigators

Kelly SimontonFY20 Principal Investigators

The University of Memphis Division of Research & Innovation recently held its annual Research Celebration to highlight research achievements, honor first-time Principal Investigators (PI) and new PI Millionaires, and to recognize fiscal year 2020 PIs, faculty authors and editors.

Kelly Simonton was honored this year as a first-time PI. Other FY20 honored faculty were Richard Bloomer (PI Millionaire), Daniel Greenwood, Brandt Pence, Douglas Powell and Marie van der Merwe.

The honor of PI signifies the attainment of a position of research leadership on an externally supported sponsored project, with PI Millionaires obtaining $1 million or more. 

February 21, 2021

College of Health Sciences partners with Movendo Technology to predict, evaluate and treat sports injuries in student athletes

Photo by Movendo Technology

The College of Health Sciences has partnered with Movendo Technology to integrate Movendo’s robotic system hunova© into the screening and physical rehabilitation of their student athletes for knee related deficits, concussions and overall performance.

The hunova© is a programmable robotic medical device consisting of two independent electromechanical movable platforms, one at foot level and one at seat level. The device, which can deliver more than 200 evaluations and exercises for postural control, stretching, muscle strengthening, balance, core stability and proprioception, operates in active, passive and assistive modes.

“Objective evaluations and individualized training are key for preventing injuries, optimizing performance and better return-to-play decisions,” explains assistant professor, Dr. Douglas Powell. “We are planning to evaluate and train student athletes from almost all sports teams for both baseline and throughout the season with the hunova©. The Memphis Tigers will certainly profit from this new technology.”


February 16, 2021

ESMS associate professor selected to coach 2021 USATF team
Dr. Max Paquette

Associate professor, Dr. Max Paquette, was selected for the men’s distance team coach position for the United States of America Track & Field (USATF) association at the 2021 North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Under 23 champs in St. George, Grenada.

He will serve as an assistant coach to cover men’s distance (800m, 1500m, 3000m steeplechase, 5000m, 10000m, 10000m/20000m race walk), ensure Team USA's training plans prescribed by their personal coaches are executed, help athletes in any way needed during the competition, and collaborate with medical support staff, personal coaches and other Team USA staff ensuring a safe and successful competition for the athletes.

The NACAC athletics association hosts an under 23 years (U23) and a senior (any age - professionals) championship competition that both occur every two years in countries that make up NACAC. 

February 13, 2021

PETE assistant professor receives top honors

Dr. Kelly Simonton 

Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) assistant professor, Dr. Kelly Simonton, was selected as the SHAPE America Southern District's Taylor Dodson Award winner. This award recognizes an outstanding young professional under 40 years of age who is a contributor within the health, physical education, sport and leisure, and dance fields or to the profession through allied fields. They must also be of high moral character whose contributions have most fully expressed the spirit of service which the award represents.

Dr. Simonton's work has had a profound impact on students as he prepares them with best teaching practices which amplify the status of the PETE field in schools and communities. He believes that professional expectations and service must involve continuous engagement in best practices, learning and helping those in the field to optimize the Physical Education programs being offered to students. Dr. Simonton's beliefs, commitment and work in Physical Education represent the spirit of service as represented by the Taylor Dodson Young Professional Award.

Dr. Simonton has been with the UofM College of Health Sciences for two years and spent the previous five years as a doctoral student and PETE instructor at Louisiana State University. His research focus revolves around achievement motivation in physical education and physical activity, specifically as it relates to student and teacher emotions and their motivational effects. His primary interests involve understanding the influence of emotion and motivation as well as the essential antecedents and outcomes of emotions in these settings. Subsequently, his research includes exploration into understanding teacher effectiveness, student value and behavioral outcomes.

Other interests include secondary physical education curriculum development and physical education teacher education training. His work has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, Psychology of Sport and Exercise, Quest and Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy. He has been the lead or co-author of 23 presentations at SHAPE America state and national conventions and has presented at several other state, national and international conferences including International Association for Physical Education for Higher Education (AIESEP) and North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (NASPSPA).

February 10, 2021

PETE alumna receives Teacher of the Year award

Crystal Williams

UofM Physical Education Teacher Education alumna, Crystal Williams, was selected as the SHAPE America Southern District Elementary School Teacher of the Year. Crystal is a University of Memphis graduate, who received both a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education Teacher Education and master’s degree in Health Sports Science. She has over 10 years of experience in health and fitness which includes teaching at the college level, pre-K-8 physical education and sport coaching.

Currently, she is an elementary physical education teacher at Bailey Station Elementary - Collierville, SHAPE ELIT member, Tennessee Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (TAHPERD) VP-elect and TAHPERD technology chair. In past years, she was a lead physical education teacher for her school district and a Cooperating Teacher for the University of Memphis.

February 6, 2021

CHS instructor featured on The Strength Game podcast

Alex Carnall

College of Health Sciences instructor and Human Performance Center sport scientist, Alex Carnall, was a guest on episode 16 of The Strength Game podcast. He discusses bridging academic research with applied coaching, the importance of possessing an athletic background, integrating sport science based on sport coach-driven questions and more.

As an athlete, Alex played collegiate baseball and has medaled and competed at both the state and national levels in weightlifting. Alex is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and a member of both the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Society of Biomechanics. 


February 4, 2021

Faculty Spotlight

Cheri Kilmurray

Health Sciences instructor, Cheri Kilmurray, was invited to give a poster presentation at the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco annual conference in February for her poster, "Perceptions of cigarette pictorial health warning labels among adults in Jordan." Dr. Kenneth Ward from the UofM School of Public Health (SPH) was lead for the project and also an author on the poster. Kilmurray is currently pursuing her doctorate degree in the UofM SPH.

This study looked at the effects of 24 pictorial cigarette health warning labels (PHWLs) and its effects on adults in Jordan. They developed and tested 24 PHWLs focusing on four risk themes (general health, female-specific, male-specific and child secondhand exposure). Smokers and non-smokers rated how images affected their motivation to quit or not start smoking, respectively. Attention, knowledge and fear also were rated. Cessation and prevention motivation ratings were uniformly high across the four risk themes. Sex differences were observed in responses to PHWLs that featured male-specific health risks suggesting that it is advantageous to target images of male-specific tobacco related diseases to men. These results indicate that this set of PHWLs may be useful for smoking prevention/cessation efforts among adults in Jordan. 

February 3, 2021

Graduate Student Spotlight

Richard Beltran

Exercise, Sport & Movement Sciences graduate student and Musculoskeletal Analysis Laboratory graduate assistant, Richard Beltran, landed a Performance Science internship with the Major League Baseball team, Tamp Bay Rays, beginning this summer. He will have the opportunity to integrate sports science, athletic training, strength and conditioning, and nutrition aimed at improving the performance and well-being of players across the entire Rays organization. Richard earned his undergraduate degree in exercise science from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash. and will earn his Master of Science from the College of Health Sciences this spring.


January 26, 2021

From Student to Professional - Becoming a Sport Scientist

Research assistant professor and Human Performance Center director, Dr. Daniel Greenwood, was the presenter for our first spring 2021 Healthy Conversations event. This virtual presentation shared his decades of applied sport experience and introduces the newly released ‘Professional Education Certification in Sport Science’ which seeks to help participants with the applied and practical skills, understanding and training to adapt their education knowledge to real-life sport settings.

Sport science is gaining momentum in high performance settings with coaches, athletes, trainers and management both asking more questions and hiring more staff to work alongside them. More and more often, individuals, groups and teams seek data driven information based on scientific principles to better guide athletic development and performance optimization.

While thousands of students graduate annually from universities with the knowledge to contribute in these areas, it is the ability to apply that knowledge and maneuver through the sporting landscape which dictates those with successful applied careers.

PowerPoint presentation slides available upon request » daniel.greenwood@memphis.edu

January 13, 2021

Human Performance Center director featured as guest on podcast

Research assistant professor and Human Performance Center director, Dr. Daniel Greenwood, was a featured guest on the Alto Sports Performance podcast. They discuss sport science, coach engagement, and the importance of ensuring work is applied and impacting athlete performance.

Listen on Spotify >

December 19, 2020

Nutrition and Dietetics faculty and students lead virtual culinary nutrition classes

Bridge Builders Culinary ClassBridge Builders Culinary Class

Clinical associate professor Mary Catherine Schallert with CHS Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics students are leading culinary nutrition classes for members of the Bridge Builders program. The curriculum is developed by Angelika Briones and Sara-Grace Long for their senior project. The above Zoom photos are from the second of the six-class series featuring Maggie Herin (Clinical Nutrition graduate student and CHS Dietetics alumna '19), Ayden Hayes (Dietetics senior), Christian Hill (Dietetics junior) and Sarah Guthrie (Dietetics senior). Other participants include Caroline Duncan, Karen Navarro and Katherine Waits.

Bridge Builders programs (part of Bridges USA) transform young people in countless ways, and the result is a growing community of young leaders poised to reach across, lead the way and build our community. The virtual culinary nutrition classes are made up of students from grades 7 through 12.

December 11, 2020

CHS student, alumna and faculty recognized by MAND

Maggie HerinLaura CantrellSara Foley

Every year, the Memphis Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (MAND) recognizes outstanding dietetic students and dietitians. We'd like to recognize this year's recipients from the College of Health Sciences.

Outstanding Dietetics Student of the Year: Maggie Herin ’21 - graduate student in our Clinical Nutrition Master's and Dietetic Internship program 
Demonstrates academic achievement as documented by letters from program faculty or preceptors, and demonstrate leadership and professional potential.

Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year: Laura Cantrell, CHS Alumna ’18 – Master of Science in Nutrition
Demonstrates concern for the promotion of optimal health and nutritional status of the population. Demonstrates leadership, e.g., legislation, research, education, clinical dietetics, food service management, public relations, career guidance, etc., in the association or employment.

Outstanding Dietitian of the Year: Sara Foley, MS, RDN, LDN, FAND; CHS Clinical Assistant Professor
Demonstrates concern for the promotion of optimal health and nutrition status of the population, and demonstrate leadership in the association or employment, minimum of 35 years old AND has worked a minimum of 10 years as RDN.

December 2, 2020

CHS faculty awarded COrS grant

Brandt PenceCOrS Co-PIs

College of Health Sciences faculty were awarded one of 18 Community of Research Scholars (COrS) grants from the University of Memphis Division of Research and Innovation. Dr. Brandt Pence is Principal Investigator for the grant that will support the creation of a regional interest group: "Metabolism, Immunity, and Inflammation Mid-South" (MIIMS). College of Health Sciences co-investigators include Dr. Melissa Puppa, Dr. Marie van der Merwe and Dr. Yufeng Zhang. The group will hold a regular academic conference for investigators with broad interests in this research area. The interest group is intended to facilitate research collaborations between investigators in the Mid-South region. The group will be co-directed by Dr. Liza Makowski from UTHSC.

The CoRS Program is designed to cultivate interdisciplinary discourse and nurture the growth of research affinity groups across campus. Each 'community' includes faculty representing multiple disciplinary perspectives and research approaches with shared interests in exploring a common research theme.

December 1, 2020

CHS faculty awarded COrS grant

Fedoria RuglessCOrS grant Co-PIs

College of Health Sciences faculty were awarded one of 18 Community of Research Scholars (COrS) grants from the University of Memphis Division of Research and Innovation. Dr. Fedoria Rugless is Principal Investigator (PI) on the project “Capacity Building for Broader Impacts” along with Dr. Barbara McClanahan, Dr. Jebose Okwumabua and Dr. Shelly Stockton as Co-PIs and part of the research team as faculty experts.

This project seeks to engage our faculty in capacity building for broader impacts via grantsmanship workshops to foster their knowledge base and skills in community-based research.  This will be a pilot study that will start with training faculty in the College of Health Studies. It will be a series of workshops that will focus on building individual capacity for broader impacts with an emphasis on community competence and relationships, on building partnerships for broader impacts, connecting for meaningful research and community outcomes, communicating broader impacts and research dissemination. 

The CoRS Program is designed to cultivate interdisciplinary discourse and nurture the growth of research affinity groups across campus. Each 'community' includes faculty representing multiple disciplinary perspectives and research approaches with shared interests in exploring a common research theme.

November 19, 2020

Graduate Student Spotlight

Jenny Gee

Jennifer Gee will be receiving her Master of Science in Health Studies with a concentration in Health Promotion.⁣ She was a graduate assistant with our Health Promotion unit and led the UofM Step It Up walking program. She has already landed a job at FedEx as a health fitness professional through HealthFitness. In her position, she will be teaching group fitness classes, personal training, and planning and implementing health and wellness programs for members.⁣ Jennifer is originally from Houston, Texas and received her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology with a minor in wellness from the University of Texas at San Antonio.⁣

November 2, 2020

Faculty Spotlight - "Why runners should end their obsession with weekly mileage"

Max Paquette

Runners obsess over weekly mileage. Weekly mileage has long been king when it comes to endurance sport, but new research is suggesting that when you’re planning training, it shouldn’t be the only marker of your workload. Dr. Max Paquette recently published a paper on the topic, urging runners to stop obsessing over their mileage, but to look at it alongside several other factors in their training. He wants it to be one measure of training, not the whole equation. “When you start thinking about it, you realize that distance and minutes run don’t mean the same thing for every person. We’re not saying you should throw out distance entirely, we’re saying that when it comes to monitoring the response to training, relying on mileage only can be misleading.”


October 18, 2020

Inside the Immune Response - UofM Fall 2020 Magazine

Dr. Brandt Pence

The UofM College of Health Sciences was featured in the latest issue of the University of Memphis magazine. “Inside the Immune Response”, featuring assistant professor Dr. Brandt Pence, dives into how the research he is conducting could help identify effective therapies for COVID-19 patients.

UofM Fall 2020 Magazine >

October 16, 2020

Faculty and student served at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics House of Delegates

Ashley RedmondMary Catherine Schallert

Dietetics senior Ashlyn Redmond was selected as one of 12 Dietetics students nationally to serve as a scribe for the 105th meeting of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics House of Delegates (HOD). In this role, Ashlyn was responsible for capturing key thoughts from delegate discussions in order for them to be reported out to the body at large and used in impacting policy and direction for the Academy.

Clinical associate professor Mary Catherine Schallert was elected to serve as the Tennessee Delegate for the Academy’s House of Delegates. The topic of this session of the House was “How Can the Academy and its Members Accelerate Nutrition and Health Equity”.

As a forum of leadership development, the HOD positions and educates members for leadership opportunities within the Academy. Leadership from the House of Delegates aims to empower the profession by embracing its values, developing a progressive culture and reflecting on the diversity for the future of the organization. The Academy implements strategic planning and changes through policies, actions and composition to embody the vision and voice of its members.


October 15, 2020

CHS scientists evaluate hydration product

Dr. Jackie PenceNuun

Dr. Jackie Pence is lead author on a recent study published in the journal, Nutrients that evaluated the effects of Nuun electrolyte tablets on fluid balance in men and women. The study was conducted in the Center for Nutraceutical and Dietary Supplement Research, within the College of Health Sciences. A follow up study is now planned using the Nuun Instant powder sticks. Dr. Richard Bloomer is the principal investigator and recipient of this research funding, which was provided by Nuun & Company, Inc. 

October 13, 2020

Clinical assistant professor selected as MIT Catalyst Fellow

Dr. Tracy Bruen

Dr. Tracy Bruen, clinical assistant professor and director of our M.S. Clinical Nutrition and Dietetic Internship program, was selected as a 2020 MIT Catalyst Fellowship recipient. She is one of 12 fellows who were selected from three cities across the U.S. Dr. Bruen will be working with the Memphis VA Medical Center and VHA Innovation leaders to help research and find solutions for problems related to disparities in healthcare access, technology, health management improvement and health system resilience in the Memphis area. 

Catalyst Fellows collaborate with one another and with practicing professionals in areas relevant to healthcare to identify and develop new biomedical research projects. Working together and with the guidance of Catalyst faculty and mentors, they identify medical needs that can be met with innovative technologies, build multiprofessional teams to design these new technologies, and launch projects that show strong potential for healthcare impact. This program is designed to expedite solutions into action and sustain them over time. 

October 8, 2020

Inside the UofM sports science lab: ‘Prehab’ instead of rehab

By Danielle Lerner, Daily Memphian - 

“Let’s go, Danielle! Push!” 

As the small crowd urged me on, I ignored the burning in my quads and focused on extending my leg upward, combating the machine’s resistance. The seat belt tightened across my chest as I leaned forward in my seat and gripped the padded handles at my sides, determined to fight through fatigue.

Eight, nine, 10 times — and then it was over, my effort quantified in a line graph on a computer screen. 

I wasn’t expecting to work out in a lab in front of a cheering squad of grad students, but then again, I guess most people wouldn’t know what to expect when being analyzed by sports scientists. Unless you’re a Memphis basketball player. 

College players spend huge chunks of their lives hunting for a competitive edge — how to jump higher, run faster, rehab quicker, eat better. For the Tigers, help is in their own backyard.



October 7, 2020

CHS associate professor awarded Science Educator of the Year

Max Paquette in LabMax Paquette

Dr. Max Paquette was named 2020 Tennessee's Science Educator of the Year for Higher Education. Each year educators across Tennessee are nominated by their peers to be chosen as an outstanding Science Educator. There are four levels of awards recognized by the Tennessee Science Teacher's Association: K-4, 5-8, high school and higher education.

In addition to teaching, Dr. Paquette is the director of the Musculoskeletal Analysis Laboratory and biomechanist within the Human Performance Center. He advises undergraduate internship students, master's students and serves on multiple doctoral dissertation committees. Dr. Paquette actively collaborates with researchers from other institutions within the U.S. and around the world and is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine, American Society for Biomechanics and International Society of Biomechanics.

October 6, 2020

Alumni Spotlight

Matt Butawan

It’s National Physician Assistant Week! We’d like to recognize CHS alumnus, Matt Butawan, who is currently in the Physician Assistant program at Christian Brothers University. Matt earned his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Master of Science in Nutrition Science from the University of Memphis. He also worked as a research associate for our Human Performance Center and Center for Nutraceutical and Dietary Supplement Research and co-authored dozens of research journal articles while pursuing his graduate degree in the College of Health Sciences.

October 1, 2020

Student Spotlight

Lauren Fischer

Congratulations to Lauren Fischer for being awarded the Patsy Jane O’Malley Memorial Scholarship from the Academy of Nutrition Dietetics Foundation. Lauren is in our Clinical Nutrition Master’s and Dietetic Internship program and led our Healthy Teaching Kitchen last year as a graduate assistant. 

She is originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, but has lived in Memphis since 2003. After graduating in December, her goal is to become a registered dietitian. She is drawn to the connection and impact that food has on our overall health and would like to work in an area of dietetics with that concept in mind.

September 21, 2020

Student Spotlight

Martín Del Real

Congratulations to Clinical Nutrition graduate student, Martín Del Real, on being awarded the Commission on Dietetic Registration Diversity Scholarship from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation.

Martín was born and raised in Panama and moved to United States in 2012. He graduated from California State University Sacramento with a bachelor’s in food and nutrition with an emphasis in dietetics. Martín served on the UofM Human Performance Center's 2019-2020 Tiger Bites Nutrition team. He is currently working towards a Master of Science in Nutrition with a concentration in clinical and completing his dietetic internship in the UofM College of Health Sciences.

August 29, 2020

Faculty Spotlight

Max Paquette

Congratulations to associate professor Dr. Max Paquette on being named an American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Fellow. ACSM Fellowship is an elite member status to recognize commendable service, to encourage continued service to the College in a leadership role with ongoing dedication, and to recognize distinguished achievement in sports medicine and related disciplines.

August 24, 2020

CHS research study featured on local news

Local 24 News featured College of Health Sciences and our Fortnite research study on their nightly news program. Dean Dr. Richard Bloomer is conducting the gaming study and is looking for gamers to play along. Participants will get paid $300 to play the game Fortnite, three separate times in a lab at the University. The study is evaluating whether caffeine or a proprietary herbal supplement will improve the gamer's mental ability and performance.

"A lot of the individuals involved in gaming activities are interested in using supplements because some of these individuals will play for 8, 10 hours, 12 at a time," said Bloomer. "A lot of times I think gaming gets a bad rap. People think if you're playing hours, playing these things, you are wasting your mind away. But we do know there is some value performing certain tasks competitively and very rapidly."


August 22, 2020

Student Spotlight

Brianna JamesBCBSTN

Photo by: Chris Chip Heard

The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation has awarded $10,000 scholarships to minority students pursuing degrees in healthcare to help reduce health disparities by improving workforce diversity.  College of Health Sciences exercise, sport & movement sciences major, Brianna James, was named as one of the six recipients.

“In my time as an athlete and a college student, I’ve seen schools with great athletic programs that still have insufficient access to quality physical therapy,” she says. “I want to bring that access to underserved areas because I know how important rehab can be.”


August 19, 2020

Student Scholarship Winners

Teren ParteeShawn Glasscock

Congratulations to Teren Partee and Shawn Glasscock, winners of our $200 book scholarships sponsored in part by the University of Memphis Campus Community Fund. They participated in this summer's College of Health Sciences student success initiative, the Virtual Student Summer Institute, founded by Dr. Niki Bray.

August 10, 2020

UofM faculty receive Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services grant

Jebose Okwumabua

College of Health Sciences faculty, Dr. Theresa Okwumabua and Dr. Onyejebose Okwumabua, received $102,000 from the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to continue implementing the “Substance Use Prevention Among Vulnerable Youth” project. The aim of this work is three-fold: 1) to deter substance use and the associated disciplinary problems among youth participating in a local job training program; 2) to reduce negative separations from the program, due to, for example, violation of the program’s substance use policies; and 3) to foster positive youth development, as measured by successful program completion, positive health and life-enhancing conflict resolution and decision-making skills, substance use risk perceptions and enhanced protective factors.

August 8, 2020

Summer 2020 Graduates

Congratulations to our Summer 2020 graduates! We awarded 113 bachelor's and four master's degrees to the last class graduating under the School of Health Studies name. Our Tigers fought hard and finished strong and we are SO PROUD!

Watch the Summer 2020 University of Memphis online commencement:


August 6, 2020

Faculty Spotlight

Running during the Pandemic - Washington Post

In a survey of around 1,100 people across the United States conducted by researchers at Auburn University and the University of Memphis, 40 percent of respondents said they were running more frequently than they were pre-pandemic, with 27 percent reporting increased distance and 34 percent saying they had upped their minutes running. Exercise, Sport & Movement Sciences associate professor, Dr. Max Paquette, contributed his expertise to Washington Post article, "Running more than ever before? Here are tips for doing it safer and better."

Read More >

August 5, 2020

cytokine stormBrandt PenceYufend Zhang

Brandt Pence (UofM, Health Sciences) and Ted Cory (UTHSC, College of Pharmacy) are joint principal investigators on a pilot project that will examine how cellular senescence affects inflammatory cytokine storm in COVID-19. Cellular senescence is increased during aging and contributes to chronic inflammation and a host of age-related diseases, and it is speculated that lung cell senescence might exacerbate inflammation and fibrosis during COVID-19. These conditions contribute to the acute respiratory distress syndrome which is characteristic of very severe SARS-CoV-2 infections, and therefore they may be biological mechanisms for the disproportionate incidence of severe and fatal COVID-19 in older adults. Yufeng Zhang (UofM, Health Sciences) will also contribute as a co-investigator on the project, which is funded by the UofM/UTHSC Collaborative Research Network (CORNET) program.

Read More >