Scientists at LIP


Dr. Emily LaVoy

Assistant Professor
Health and Human Performance
Office Number: 104b GAR
Phone: 713-743-0829
Email: eclavoy@uh.edu

Dr. LaVoy studies the impact of physical and psychological stressors on immune health, with a focus on neuroendocrine-immune interactions. Ongoing projects include investigating whether improving fitness can improve viral control, identifying processes underlying exercise-induced improvements in immune function, and exploring the connection between neural pathways and immunity following exercise. By furthering our understanding of the immune system, this research will improve the quality of life of patients suffering from cancer and inflammation-related diseases.


Dr. Melissa Markofski

Assistant Professor
Health and Human Performance
Office Number: 104U GAR
Phone: 713-743-6658
Email: mmarkofs@Central.UH.EDU

Dr. Markofski is focused on developing acute and chronic exercise and nutritional strategies to promote healthy aging. She is particularly interested in the interaction between the immune system and muscle, specifically the influence of exercise and nutrition on monocytes. By studying the effects of exercise and nutrition on muscle function, we can identify and understand biomarkers associated with disease risk in aging populations.


Dr. Yoonjung Park

Associate Professor
Health and Human Performance
Office Number: 104F GAR
Phone: 713-743-9350
Email: ypark10@uh.edu

Research efforts focus on 1) Investigate the role of physical activity and exercise training in preventing or ameliorating vascular (endothelial) dysfunction in pathophysiologic conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, ischemic heart disease, hypertension, aging (Alzheimer), microgravity, etc. in animal and human subjects, and 2) Elucidating the mechanisms in which vascular function is altered by the sequelae of the diseases and physical activity/exercise training at the molecular, cellular, and intact tissue levels (isolated intact microvessels).


Dr. Richard Simpson

Research Associate Professor
Health and Human Performance
Email: rjsimpson@uh.edu

Dr Simpson studies the effects of exercise and stress on the immune system. Major cross-cutting themes of his work are aging (immunosenescence), cancer and spaceflight. Specifically, Dr Simpson and his team study how single exercise bouts can be used to augment the recovery and expansion of specific immune cells that can be used therapeutically to treat patients with hematologic malignancies; and how exercise can be used to negate the onset of immunosenescence during natural aging. He is also interested in how exercise training can contribute to improved patient survival and quality of life through immune and inflammatory pathways at all phases of the cancer care continuum. His current work includes three NASA funded projects that aim to (i) examine the effects of long duration spaceflight on astronaut immune function and illness rates; (ii) characterize behavioral and psychiatric risks associated with extreme isolation and confinement (Co-Principal Investigator with Dr. Candice Alfano); and (iii) determine the effects of simulated microgravity and acute radiation exposure on viral infectivity and host immune evasion.


LIP Affiliated Scientists


Dr. Daniel O'Connor

Professor
Health and Human Performance
Office Number: 145 MEL
Phone: 713-743-2377
Email: doconnor2@uh.edu

Dr. O’Connor’s interdisciplinary research agenda includes evaluating the effectiveness of health-related interventions, explaining individual variation in health outcomes, and investigating the effects of physical activity on health and risk factors. He has collaborated in research across many diverse fields and topics, including obesity, health and wellness, public health, kinesiology, exercise science, rehabilitation, movement disorders, physiology, and surgery.