When UAB kinesiology professors needed a new teaching lab, the School of Education created a high-tech space that would take the program to a new level.

In the past, undergraduate exercise science, fitness leadership and physical education students at UAB conducted their kinesiology experiments in the Bell-Wallace Gymnasium and the School of Health Professions. But last fall, the SOE, with monies from the Provost’s Office, renovated two adjacent, first-floor classrooms in the building to create a new exercise physiology lab.

The Exercise Physiology Lab in the UAB School of Education

The new 1,132 square-foot lab features more than 800 pounds of free weights along with high-tech equipment that includes arm crank and cycle ergometers, computerized treadmills, and skinfold calipers and bioelectrical impedance scales for measuring body composition. The lab is also equipped with a metabolic cart to measure energy expenditure during rest and exercise, portable handheld spirometry for pulmonary assessments, electrocardiography to analyze heart rhythms, and an electromyography system and force platform for the assessment of motor unit activation during muscle contraction.

The Exercise Physiology Lab in the UAB School of Education

“Having access to this state-of-the-art lab sets our undergraduate students up for success in their coursework, internships, graduate school and the job market,” says Kristi Menear, Ph.D., chairwoman of the UAB Department of Human Studies.

UAB Assistant Professor Gordon Fisher, Ph.D., says he, the Distinguished Professor Gary Hunter, Ph.D., and Assistant Professor Eric Plaisance, Ph.D., are using the new space to conduct labs for their undergraduate courses in exercise physiology and exercise testing and prescriptions.

“It’s a good lab,” says Fisher. “It’s a sufficient lab for research and for teaching. We’ve been able to enhance the educational curriculum because we now have an in-house lab where our students can gain hands-on experience performing experiments.”

Mark Merritt of Morris, Ala., a senior, says he enjoys the convenience of the new lab.

“What’s nice about it is that whatever we’ve talked about in class, we’re now able to come here in this lab and watch it happen.”

Fisher says that for now, he and the other kinesiology professors are using the lab primarily for their undergraduate classes. Plans are in the works, however, to eventually conduct graduate-level work in the facility.

“Everything here could be used for research,” says Fisher. “We hope in the future to deliver student-driven projects within this lab and actually use it for research.”