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The College of Health Sciences has multidisciplinary research teams that are focused on six different disciplines. By bringing together diverse scientists who share common interests but use different approaches to studying disease, we have been able to build effective research teams that are highly competitive for research funding. Over the last five years, funding has increased steadily at the College of Health Sciences.

Multidisciplinary Team Research Focus Areas

Cardiovascular Diseases There are several chronic conditions that affect cardiovascular function, including hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, obesity, stroke and general blood flow problems associate with aging. Our research team develops strategies to address cardiovascular dysfunction through basic, clinical, translational, behavioral and community based research. Using basic research, we address methods to regulate hypertension, cardiovascular control and vascular function. Using behavioral research we study nutrition, methods to address obesity and monitoring of cardiovascular health. Using clinical interventions, we also use exercise physiology and exercise interactions to address cardiovascular health. In the community setting, we focus on psychosocial and environmental risk factors, patient safety and cognitive outcomes. Our group investigators utilize a multidisciplinary approach to help patients maintain good cardiovascular health and to assist with managing patient populations who have chronic cardiovascular disease.
Our team:

  • William Farquhar, PhD – Cardiovascular Physiology and Exercise
  • Rhonda Prisby, PhD – Vascular-bone interactions, vasculargenesis
  • David Edwards, PhD – Cardiovascular Physiology and Exercise
  • Shannon Lennon-Edwards, PhD – Cardiovascular physiology, Aging, Oxidative stress, nutritional intervention and exercise
  • Arun Kumar, PhD – Nanomedicine, nanotoxicity and tissue engineering
  • Meghan Wenner, PhD – Women’s health, menopause and cardiovascular physiology
  • William Rose, PhD – Control of blood pressure and blood flow, mathematical modeling, biomedical signal processing
  • Rae Maser, PhD – Diabetes, neuropathy, obesity and autonomic nervous system function
  • Jennifer Saylor, PhD. MSN – Acute care post cardiothoracic surgery, Interventional cardiology
  • Regina Sims Wright, PhD – Aging and cognitive function in African-Americans, psychosocial predictors of cardiovascular function in African-Americans
  • Greg Dominick, PhD – Health Literacy and Health Promotion, Psychosocial and environmental determinants of physical activity, physical activity in youth
  • Kathy Schell, PhD, MSN – Accuracy of blood pressure measurement, cardiovascular nursing

Neurological Diseases and Stroke The focus of our group is upon neuro-motor interactions, mobility and physical health. We have some developing technologies being used for Parkinson’s disease that is proving helpful to patient populations. Other areas of interest include neuroendocrinology, biomechanics, muscle function and neuro-cardio function.

  • Darcy Reisman, PhD – Neurological injuries and movement deficits, clinical interventions, basic movement coordination
  • Chris Knight, PhD – Neuromuscular aging, neuromuscular adaptation to exercise, motor unit discharge behavior
  • Charles (Buz) Swanik, PhD – ACL injuries, sensorimotor aspects of musculoskeletal pathology
  • Sam Lee, PhD – CNS injury and muscle function
  • Ingrid Pretzer-Aboff, PhD – Parkinson’s Disease and exercise intervention
  • Kathy Brewer-Smyth, PhD – Neurological, neuropsychological and neuroendocrine correlates of violent behavior; HIV and CNS; Preventing neurological decline in populations at risk
  • Kathleen S. Matt, PhD – Cytokines, neuroendocrine factors and stress

Orthopedics and Mobility Human Performance Labs. Dr. Michelle Provost Craig working with Megan O'Neil on the treadmill. Researchers at the CHS engaged in orthopedics science focus upon biomechanics, rehabilitation science, musculoskeletal research, movement science, all of which address a broad patient population (children, adults and aging). This group is drawn heavily from the University of Delaware’s outstanding Department of Physical Therapy, which is ranked #2 in the nation for Physical Therapy Departments (U.S. News and World Report). Scientists also benefit through their association with the Delaware Rehabilitation Institute, which engages in cutting edge, interdisciplinary approaches toward addressing mobility in patient populations.

Women and Children’s Health The focus of our group is largely upon childhood obesity, cognition and autism, reproductive health, social health of families and aging across the lifespan. We utilize community and statewide collaborations to address issues relevant to women and children, as well as aging. Research strategies used rely strongly on behavioral science, utilizing quantitative and qualitative approaches. The program has strong student engagement. We also strive to have an international, global focus to our work.

Our team:

  • Michael Peterson, EdD – Health promotion, health communications, workplace stress, psychosocial and cultural aspects of health behavior
  • Nancy Getchell, PhD – Autism, neuromotor control in children, physical fitness and health related fitness in pre-school children
  • Nancy Cotugna, PhD – Dietetics education, obesity, diet and cancer prevention
  • Elizabeth Ortega-Smith, PhD – Aging and health, physical activity promotion, psychosocial issues of physical activity
  • Judy Herrman, PhD, RN – Teen pregnancy, sexual behavior, public policy and health
  • Iva Obrusnikova, PhD – Autism, physical activity and social behavior of children and teenagers with autism spectrum disorder
  • Gail Wade, PhD – Nursing workforce and education, preconception health, injury prevention
  • Jillian Trabulsi, PhD – Nutrition and growth in healthy children and children with chronic disease, pediatric obesity
  • Veronica Rempusheski, PhD – Aging in place, elder care within the family, dementia, family care-giving
  • Marie Kuczmarski, PhD – Nutrition and aging, health disparities
  • Kathleen Brewer-Smyth –Neurological, neuropsychological, neuroendocrine, and adverse childhood experiences (ACE) related to adult violent and other high risk behaviors especially of females; Preventing neurological decline in populations at risk.

Cancer The focus of our group is upon behavioral and community based approaches to cancer care, cancer education, as well as advanced cancer diagnostics strategies that help patients identify appropriate options for care. We are largely affiliated with the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center and regional cancer advisory committees in the state of Delaware.

Human Performance Labs. Dr. Michelle Provost Craig working with Megan O'Neil on the treadmill.Education Research The focus of our group is upon developing innovation models in education. We focus on education research outcomes, diversity programs, problem based learning, simulation education and online learning modules. Our courses focus on health care delivery and workforce development, including nursing, dietetics and nutrition, physical therapy, exercise physiology and medical technology. We are interested in employing innovative models such as simulation research and internet based courses along with hybrid models of education. Our team