Joel T. CramerProfessor
2003 Ph.D., Exercise Physiology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
2001 M.P.E., Exercise Physiology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
1997 B.A., Exercise Science, Creighton University
My lab studies the form and function of human skeletal muscle. As a result, my research program is aligned with the programmatic theme of Exercise Physiology & Nutrition. Specifically, we use in vivo human subject research models to study the applied physiology and neuromuscular mechanisms that explain changes in muscle strength, size, and function. We conduct research studies during periods of growth and development, aging and sarcopenia, resistance training, stretching, fatigue, recovery, and dietary supplementation. We use our evidence-based information on skeletal muscle form and function to address contemporary problems, discover innovative methodologies, and translate our findings to practitioners and consumers. Some of our measurements include isokinetic dynamometry, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), B-mode ultrasonography, indirect calorimetry, near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), accelerometry, force kinetics, surface electromyography (EMG), mechanomyography (MMG), transcutaneous nerve stimulation, twitch interpolation, heart rate variability, and digital signal processing techniques. My lab group includes past and present graduate assistants who strive to balance research and teaching for careers in academia and industry. As a result, I have authored or co-authored over 200 peer-reviewed scientific articles, 200 conference research presentations, and a textbook entitled "Laboratory Manual for Exercise Physiology, Exercise Testing, and Physical Fitness." I have served as a past member of the Board of Directors and Fellow of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), and Fellow of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN).
Skeletal muscle is responsible for all human movement during physical activity and exercise. As observed in sport science and sports nutrition, human performance and nutrition are integrally related to skeletal muscle size and strength. These characteristics of muscle form and function are highly complex and manifest in an individual through the convergence of genetic and environmental factors. Nearly 8% of the human genome is devoted to form/function of skeletal muscle, providing an extensive basis for inter-individual variation. What is less apparent than the sizes and movement functions of skeletal muscle is its contribution to multi-organ characteristics such as resting metabolism, glucose uptake and storage, oxygen utilization, and peripheral blood flow for nutrient delivery. In addition, skeletal muscle is critical for resistance to falls and low back pain. Thus, beyond movement alone, muscle form/function contributes to a wide range of characteristics that are related to disease predisposition and commonly-reported allied health concerns. As a consequence, the ability to connect measurements of skeletal muscle function in a natural, yet controlled, laboratory setting with physiological characteristics that underlie movement/exercise and disease predisposition has helped define the concept of preventative medicine. Simply applying many of the same types of measurements used in sport science when studying athletic performance is also tremendously effective for studying clinical, health-related conditions impacted by skeletal muscle function.