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Student finds answers to muscle metabolism mysteries

  |   Kristen B. Morales   |   Permalink   |   Spotlight

Melissa Erickson

_Department of Kinesiology (__Ph.D. in exercise physiology)_

Melissa Erickson is on her way to becoming a "Triple Dawg" researcher. She earned her bachelor's degree in biology (with Honors) and a master's degree in exercise physiology from UGA. Now, she's close to completing her doctorate.

An Augusta native, Erickson has focused on research since her undergraduate days when she presented a poster at the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities Symposium. The annual event at UGA gives undergraduates the opportunity to present their faculty-mentored research to the university community.

When Erickson was pursuing her bachelor's degree she began working on a CURO project with kinesiology researcher Kevin McCully in his Exercise Muscle Physiology Lab. "Dr. McCully inspired me to go into research through his genuine passion and enthusiasm. He is a true visionary," she says. "I respect him because he always strives to be ethical and looks out for his students."

During her thesis research, Erickson and her colleagues developed a technique to non-invasively measure muscle metabolism in persons with spinal cord injury. Their findings were published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology.

Erickson puts the benefits of her research into practice by trying new workouts with friends and family. Her top priority is monitoring her mom's exercise progress because her mother's health and happiness are so important.

"Life experiences are enhanced when human health is optimized," says Erickson. "I hope to contribute to research efforts that will lead to a paradigm shift, when exercise is on the forefront of healthcare and not just an afterthought."

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