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Leah Kern

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Background: In combining my love for movement and activity with my goal of being able to have a positive impact on people, I was led to study exercise physiology at Marquette while also on track to earn my Doctorate of Physical Therapy. During my time as an undergraduate, I have been intrigued to learn more about the capacity of the human body and the factors that limit physical function in hopes of being able to positively influence healthy and clinical populations in the future. I was introduced to the lab through an internship and am excited to be able to continue my involvement with research.

Outside the Lab: Apart from academics, I enjoy anything outdoor related— running, hiking, camping, or kayaking to name a few. I also love getting out to see new places and meet new people.

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Chris Sundberg, Ph.D.

Director

Background: My passion for integrative muscle physiology began as an undergraduate student and stemmed from the desire to enhance my performance as a Division I-A student-athlete. During that time, I realized that the etiologies of muscle fatigue and the physiological factors that limit human performance are not well-understood. Studies in this area are important because without a comprehensive mechanistic understanding, applied endeavors, such as exercise training programs to enhance elite athletic performance and therapeutic interventions to mitigate the detrimental effects of fatigue and muscle weakness in clinical populations (e.g., respiratory and heart failure, COPD, multiple sclerosis, stroke, fibromyalgia, elderly, diabetes) are formulated in the absence of empirical results. The opportunity to contribute to these knowledge gaps ignited my interest in investigating the contractile mechanics of skeletal muscle and the organ systems that support its function, with the long-term goal of identifying the mechanisms of fatigue and muscle weakness in health, aging and disease.

Outside the Lab: When I'm not in the lab, you will most likely find me trying to keep up with my wife (Kelsie), son (Hudson), daughter (Natalie), and dog (Bruiser). I also thoroughly enjoy lifting weights, hiking, camping, alpine skiing, hunting, traveling, quality time with family and friends, homebrewing, and pondering the complexities of life over a glass of bourbon. 

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Laura Teigen, M.S.

Research Associate & Lab Manager

Background: My educational and research background spans a wide variety of fields and reflects my passion for all things science. I began my undergraduate career studying both biology and psychology, with an emphasis on how genetics play a role in psychological and physical disorders. In graduate school, I studied metabolic and genetic responses to thermal stress in fish. After obtaining my Master's Degree, I began working in a lab researching parasitic nematodes and lymphatic filariasis. A final jump in fields has landed me in a lab studying muscle physiology. 

Outside the Lab: Depending on the season, I enjoy camping, canoeing, hiking, and snowboarding. I also enjoy reading and sewing, and am an avid hockey fan.

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Isabell Dobrzycki

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Background: My interest in science and human health has led me to explore several paths related to these fields. In my undergraduate years studying both biomedical sciences and Spanish, I have worked as a certified nursing assistant, spent time volunteering in a hospital emergency room, and volunteered in a lab with a primary emphasis on understanding the complexities of neural plasticity and the development of addiction in response to chronic drug exposure. I am currently carrying out a research fellowship in the Integrative Muscle Physiology & Energetics Lab aimed at developing a simple, cost-effective approach to detect protein markers of skeletal muscle denervation. This is an important health-related issue because skeletal muscle denervation is known to occur in some clinical populations, such as in older adults or people with diabetes, which negatively impacts human performance and leads to a loss of physical function. 

Outside the Lab: When not working or studying, I enjoy baking, fitness, learning languages, traveling, reading, and admiring nature. I also love spending time with my family and friends.

Lab Motto:

Nothing in life is fair, except that we all get 24 hours in a day.  What separates mediocrity from excellence is what we choose to do in those 24 hours.

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