Applied Physiology & Enterprise Independent Studies

Applied Physiology & Enterprise Independent Studies

Applied Physiology and Enterprise

Spotlight on APSM 5261& 5361 Research Practicum

Spring 2013



Andrew Bassey Udofa is a junior from Baton Rouge, Louisiana majoring in Biological Sciences with a pre-medicine specialization and a minor in Applied Physiology. He is enrolled in APSM Research Practicum under the mentorship of Dr. Peter Weyand.

Andrew is an SMU Ambassador, President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Student Chair of the Student Media Company Board of Directors, President of Black Men Emerging and Historian of the Association of Black Students. He enjoys creative writing, photography, fashion design, and scientific research.

He has been a Trainee in the Physician Scientist Training Program since 8th grade and the program has brought him research experiences at Temple University, the National Institutes of Health, and University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. Over this time period Andrew also gained a strong interest in the design and function of athletic footwear.

His friends know him for his extensive shoe collection. As a sophomore, his discovery of the Locomotor Performance Laboratory offered the perfect marriage of his two passions: research and footwear.

Research Project Summary

Does footwear affect ground reaction forces and running performance, and if so, how?

During endurance running, the impact forces that occur with each ground contact can lead to over-use injuries, and minimizing these impact forces may benefit the runner. Sprinting performance, however, is determined primarily by how much force the runner can apply to the ground and how quickly this force can be applied. Whether shoes influence ground force application at high speeds and performance is not known.

Previous research has determined that force application may change depending on specific shoe selection, i.e. barefoot, minimalist shoes, and cushioned jogging shoes. However, to date no comprehensive study has investigated how varying shoe conditions affect gait mechanics and running performance across a range of speeds.  The current study will analyze the runner’s motion and force data using motion capture and an instrumented treadmill to determine the relationship between footwear, ground reaction forces and sprinting performance.



Braeden Newton and Brooke Landrum are Applied Physiology and Enterprise majors enrolled this semester in the Research Practicum class.  Braeden is a junior focused on a future career in medicine.  Interested in cardiology, Braeden is using this opportunity to gain an in-depth knowledge of human physiology.  Brooke is a sophomore whose career goal is to become a physical therapist.  She is exploring the clinical research aspects of human physiology to expand her knowledge before going to physical therapy school.  This research practicum class allows high achieving students to work closely with faculty in their research labs.  Braeden and Brooke are examining the phases of the scientific method including reviewing the scientific literature, grant proposal writing, and data acquisition.  Both Braeden and Brooke were invited by Dr. Scott Davis to help with current research projects in the Simmons Applied Physiology Laboratory examining blood pressure control during environmental stresses. 



Michelle Kim is a Mechanical Engineering major with a minor in music, who is enrolled in APSM Research Practicum under the auspices of Dr. Peter Weyand.

Michelle is on the SMU Women’s Rowing Team, training for the Ms. SMU Fitness Competition, plays on an intramural soccer team, is an Ambassador for Prospective Engineering Students, and attends music and theatre performances. Born in Salzburg, Austria, she spent the past twelve years in Plano, Texas. She was a home school student, and this is her second year at SMU.

Last semester she developed an interest in muscles and the concepts that link physics and the mechanics of movement. It was the perfect cross between working out (one of her passions) and engineering (another passion). By asking questions and exploring options, she was able to join the team at the Locomotor Performance Laboratory to help with their research for the Department of Defense.

Research Project Summary

What factors influence one’s walking metabolism and how are these components affected by load? Can the energy expended under diverse conditions be predicted?

Energy expenditure for varying conditions has long been an area of interest. Studies have been performed to determine the factors that influence the energy cost of walking, and there is still room for discovery.

Tackling only a fraction of this territory, she plans to answer the following question: Can metabolic rates during loaded walking be accurately predicted from walking speed, height and total weight (body and load)?

Data from past research has dealt with three dominant components – speed, height and weight – in different manners. To begin, energy expended while walking increases with increasing speed. The height component seems slightly less intuitive; a smaller person expends more energy per body mass than a larger person at walking speeds. The final component accounts for the additional weight being carried. A greater load results in a greater amount of energy being expended at the same speed.

This information leads to the hypothesis that we can indeed predict walking metabolic rates using speed, height and weight. In addition, the data gathered from testing will provide an opportunity to further explore the essence and significance of resting metabolic rate and the minimum and speed-dependent walking metabolic rates. These findings are aimed to aid the Department of Defense predict the performance and enhance the efficiency of soldiers carrying loads. These results, however, can also lead to additional research opportunities and everyday life applications.