Skip to main content
Explore Health and Human Development

Exercise physiology is the study of the body's systems and how they relate to health and disease.


Current research projects focus on thermoregulation, cardiovascular and muscle function, energy balance and reproductive function, exercise-mediated cardioprotection, and orthostatic tolerance. Both human subjects and small animal models are used to study physiology from the molecular level to the intact organism. At present, there is an emphasis on control of regional blood flow and cardiac function during physical stresses including exercise, gravity, heat/cold, and how these responses are altered by aging.


Students from the Kinesiology graduate program, the Inter-College Graduate Program in Physiology, and other college departments and majors conduct their thesis experiments in Noll Laboratory. Research topics include the underlying physiological mechanisms of injury and effectiveness of therapeutic interventions, and the role of the endocrine system in muscle tissue repair and remodeling. Graduate students become involved with research projects that are designed to yield information for publication in scientific literature and for presentation at professional meetings. Collaborative arrangements are frequently made with faculty from other areas of the University such as Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, as well as researchers outside of the University such as Geisinger Medical Center and foreign laboratories.


Noll Laboratory, originally called the “Human Performance Laboratory,” is a research facility in the Department of Kinesiology that is dedicated to studying physiology, especially as it relates to health and disease. A primary mission of Noll Laboratory is to investigate specific physiological mechanisms underlying the positive health effects of physical activity and the adverse health effects of physical inactivity, with the ultimate goal of improving human health across the life span.

The 30,000 square feet of research space contain a vast array of specialized instrumentation, equipment, and chambers for the measurement of physiological processes under various environmental conditions.

Noll Laboratory features animal care and research areas, including a two-compartment hypo-hyberbaric chamber; three environmental chambers providing precise control of temperature, humidity, and air movement; as well as treadmills, ergometers, a twenty-four-hour human indirect calorimeter, and an underwater weighing tank. Noll Laboratory also contains a physical examination area, two general testing areas, a biochemistry laboratory, areas for special projects, and mechanical and electrical shops for instrument fabrication, maintenance, and repair.

The Elmore Clinical Research Wing of Noll Laboratory houses the University Park component of the Penn State General Clinical Research Center (GCRC). The GCRC provides University-wide support for human clinical research.


Learn more about the faculty members who mentor Exercise Physiology graduate students at Penn State: