Kinesiology professor receives fellowship to study the effect of fatigue on the biochemics of human movement

Michelle Verne

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Kinesiology professor, Dr. Whiting poses in his office in Redwood Hall. Dr. Whiting was an recipeient of the CSUN research fellow. Photo by Bodhi Severns / Staff Photographer

Professor in Kinesiology, Dr. William Whiting was awarded one of the nine fellowship rewards given each year to support research and academic development.

Whiting, who over the past 30 years has written several papers, articles and textbooks observing the biomechanics of performance enhancement and musculoskeletal injury, said that receiving the award and being recognized by his fellow peers made him feel both humbled and honored.

In order to apply for the award there are several steps that an applicant must follow and a lot of research must be applied to the proposal.

“The Research Fellow application included a detailed description of my proposed research study and the potential benefits of the work,”  Whiting said.  “A faculty committee carefully evaluated all of the submitted proposals and spent several weeks before making their decision.”

“The funding for the award comes from the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and the dean’s office in the College of Health and Human Development,” Whiting said.

Whiting also added that he has been fortunate to have received several awards for his work, including the CSUN Distinguished Teaching Award and the CSUN Preeminent Scholarly Publication Award.

With this award, the research project will explore the effect of fatigue on the biomechanics of human movement, he said.

“Specifically, I plan to study how muscle fatigue affects the muscle activity and internal mechanics of the human lower extremity in jumping and running tasks,”  Whiting said.

CSUN alum Victor Wilson, who is currently in the Kinesiology graduate program and studying with Whiting, said that he finds him to be very knowledgeable and interesting and said he likes to work with him.

“He teaches in a way that allows you to see the practical application of the material presented,” Wilson said. “ At the moment I am working with him and Dr. Flannigan in the biomechanics lab on a study involving the landing aspect of jumping.”

“I think the topic of his fellowship research is a very important one not only for the advancement of knowledge in kinesiology but also for the population at large,” he added. “The incidence of injury among recreational runners and game players can be curtailed if they better understood the limitations of their bodies when fatigued.”

Whiting said this research will also benefit students by providing the ability to learn about the outcomes of their studies just as they are just being discovered.

“My research has the potential to identify some of the factors that contribute to declines in performance when one gets tired,” Whiting said. “This has implications for performance enhancement and injury risk reduction across a range of populations, including older persons who are at risk of falling.”

Whiting said he plans to include both undergraduate and graduate students in his research which will benefit them by giving them hands-on experience in a research laboratory.

Christopher Rupel, 24, a kinesiology major with an emphasis in exercise science, said he thinks Whiting’s research will help in furthering our understanding of how biomechanical principles actually affect the human body practically.

Rupel said Whiting’s research will benefit all different types of people from sports athletes to the average person who is just trying to gain better physical movement from a previous injury.

“This is useful for both sports performance and injury prevention, among other things. Biomechanics is and should remain an integral part of Kinesiology,” Rupel said.

“It truly is one of the mainstays in which we can quantitatively understand our interaction with the world around us.  This will be beneficial for both the serious and competitive athlete as well as the average individual looking to optimize his/her physical activity.”