Our Research

The Department of Kinesiology at the Penn State has a rich history of research, scholarly accomplishments, and scientific training in a wide array of specializations that span the physical, life, behavioral, and social sciences, together with the humanities as they relate to human movement and physical activity.

The Biomechanics Lab and Noll Lab, two of the department's oldest research entities, have both made abundant contributions to human biomechanics and exercise physiology since they were established in the mid-1960s.

Research Areas

Our research programs are led by some of the world's most renowned and respected scholars. They serve as editors of scholarly journals, on international and national advisory boards, as leaders of important professional organizations, and on scientific review panels for federal funding agencies. Substantial interdisciplinary collaborations extend research projects across the University Park and Hershey Medical Center campuses. These collaborations incorporate the departments of Biobehavioral Health, Bioengineering, Biology, Human Developement and Family Studies, Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, Nutritional Sciences, Psychology, the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, and the College of Medicine. Many faculty in Kinesiology also hold joint appointments with these departments.

Athletic Trainer wrapping the arm of a patient.

Athletic Training and
Sports Medicine

Athletic Training and Sports Medicine research includes the delivery of clinical health services to physically active individuals including the pathoetiology, prevention, assessment, and treatment of common athletic and orthopedic injuries.

A man running inside with sensors on his body.


Biomechanics research focuses on the application of biomechanical principles to movement, the mechanical behavior of musculoskeletal structures at the tissue level, and innovative solutions to orthopedic problems.

Gloved hand poking around in a petri dish.

Exercise Physiology

Exercise Physiology research focuses on the study of cardiovascular function in aging and disease, muscle molecular biology, autonomic function, thermoregulation, energy balance, reproduction function, and skeletal health. Both human subjects and small animal models are used to study physiology from the molecular level to the intact organism.

Book cover for historic baseball game.

History and Philosophy
of Sport

History and Philosophy of Sport research includes the study of the sociological and cultural aspects of sport, sport in early civilizations of antiquity and Olympism of the twentieth century, the nature and values of human movement, and the ethics of sport.

A man looking at a computer screen.

Motor Control

Motor Control research includes the study of the neurophysiological mechanisms of coordination and control of movements in healthy individuals and in those with movement disorders, the importance of biomechanical factors for motor control, and changes in motor control with aging.

A woman putting sensors on another woman's head.

Psychology of
Physical Activity

Psychology of Physical Activity research focuses on the role of psychological processes in movement, behavioral and psychophysiological indices of motor learning, the influence of physical activity on individuals over the life-span, and examining the environmental and policy factors associated with physical activity.