Labfront’s Women’s Health Research Initiative
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization galvanized us at Labfront to do what we can for women through more opportunities for researchers studying women’s health. Academic research is a foundation of health care, yet women’s health research remains severely underfunded and receives considerably less attention across the health research spectrum. Our Women's Health Research Initiative (WHR) will support 100 students to pursue projects focusing on women’s health by offering 10 free Labfront accounts each year over the next decade.
Advancing the Study of Female Physiology at TTU
Two of our WHR 2022 recipients, Katie Kennedy and Kealey Wohlgemuth of Texas Tech University are strong advocates for the presence of females both as scientists and research subjects. The two doctoral students work under the esteemed mentorship of Dr. Jacob Mota to examine sex differences in performance. We were deeply impressed by their personal statements, and we're happy to award each of them a free Labfront Advanced account to help them in their work and contribute to the body of knowledge about female physiology and performance.
Katie Kennedy's academic experiences have given her an interest in answering important research questions affecting understudied populations. As she begins her PhD, she is excited to further investigate female physiology during resistance exercise, bringing awareness to this understudied population's unique needs.
Studies on adaptations from resistance training have traditionally focused on male physiology. With her work, Kealey Wohlgemuth hopes to increase the understanding of female physiology factors that may impact muscle performance, strength, and fatiguability.
Highlighting Female Physiology During Resistance Exercise
In 2017, Katie began working in the Neuromuscular Research Laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Through this experience, she came to know a then-doctoral student, now-faculty member at Texas Tech University, Dr. Jacob Mota. After three years in this laboratory, she developed a drive to answer important research questions affecting numerous understudied populations.
To pursue her Master’s degree, she chose to attend the University of South Alabama to work in the Exercise & Applied Neuromuscular Physiology Laboratory. It was there, under the guidance of Dr. Ryan Colquhoun, that she became passionate about increasing the presence of females both as scientists and research subjects. Katie spent the duration of her Master’s training examining sex differences during exercise, specifically the neuromuscular responses that lead to differing results in males and females. In the last year, she had the fortunate opportunity to speak at both the International Society of Sports Nutrition’s Annual Conference and the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Annual Conference.
As she begins her PhD alongside long-time mentor Dr. Jacob Mota at TTU, she is excited to further investigate and highlight female physiology during resistance exercise and bring importance to this understudied population and area of study.
Neuromuscular Mechanisms of Fatigue in Special Populations
Kealey Wohlgemuth is a second-year doctoral student at Texas Tech University in the Kinesiology and Sport Management Department. She currently works under the mentorship of Dr. Jacob Mota in a neuromuscular performance laboratory. Their laboratory focuses on human performance and the neuromuscular mechanisms of fatigue in special populations (i.e., tactical, women, elderly).
Currently, they aim to increase the understanding of female physiology factors which may impact muscle performance, strength, and fatiguability. The literature regarding adaptations from resistance training is scarce in female physiology, especially regarding females who are menstruating, transitioning through menopause, and using contraception. This laboratory has experience in utilizing novel research techniques to address neuromuscular excitability (e.g., EMG, nerve stimulation), muscle quality via B-mode ultrasound, and muscle function (commercial and custom-built dynamometers).
In future projects, they hope to better understand factors influencing female performance and the neuromuscular mechanisms influencing fatiguability, which will add to the current body of knowledge regarding female performance. The outcomes of their work will help guide future studies, practitioners, and coaches in maximizing the performance and health of female athletes.