Faculty member Sarah Greising, Ph.D., brings a new research focus to exercise physiology

The School of Kinesiology welcomes assistant professor Sarah Greising, Ph.D., who joined the faculty in the exercise physiology emphasis this spring.

Greising completed her Ph.D. at the U of M in Rehabilitation Science in 2011. “I trained as a muscle physiologist, which is the background for all my work,” she says. After graduating, she accepted a postdoctoral fellowship at the Mayo Clinic, where she did more research on muscle and nerve interaction. “My postdoc was a great experience,” she says. “I was able to spend more time with this adjunct part of muscle physiology.” After her postdoc, Greising accepted a position as a research physiologist at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research in Fort Sam Houston, TX. “I had the opportunity to experience translational research, working both with small animals and humans with traumatic injury,” she says. “It helped me build a foundation in muscle physiology and led to a number of research questions.”

Greising is currently looking at different treatment paradigms for dealing with wide-scale trauma, which, she says, mirrors military trauma. “I’m looking at new rehabilitation techniques, and working to understand what muscle with trauma looks like and how it responds to rehabilitation to achieve a return to better function.” She is also working on a funded research project with a former colleague from graduate school, Jarrod Call, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Georgia.

What attracted Griesing to the U of M generally and the School of Kinesiology specifically? “The U of M has a great skeletal muscle community, which opens up collaborations across campus,” she says. The opportunity to bring another research focus to the exercise physiology group was also appealing, along with the chance to get back into the classroom. “I’m very attracted to the Kinesiology student population and the School’s mission to students,” she says. “I’m looking forward to getting back to teaching, and to working with and advising graduate students.”

Greising recently was invited to give a lecture for KIN 1871, Survey of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport. She discussed her research, exercise science as a discipline, and career opportunities in the field. She quickly realized that students’ perceptions about the discipline were mostly limited to athletes and training. “I pointed out that an important flip side to exercise science and physical activity is physical inactivity, and how we deal with that,” she said. “We need to approach our research and training with the understanding of both aspects.”

Greising is also in the process of starting up a lab. Initially she’ll be sharing space with the School’s Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene and Exercise Science (LPHES). “I’m excited to get the lab going,” she says. “I’m ordering equipment for my funded research project and looking forward to networking with graduate students and getting to work with them.”

A native Minnesotan, Greising is glad to be back in the Twin Cities. She grew up in Minneapolis and loves the lake system. “We live near Lake Nokomis, and it’s a great place to take the dogs for walks,” she says. “I love the outdoors and I’m looking forward to running, biking and hiking this summer.”

Greising is also looking forward to the many opportunities she’ll have in her new position:

I like seeing graduate students progress, discover new ideas, and take more independence in what they’re learning. I also love the research I’m doing in terms of seeing the bigger picture and its impact on the greater good. It’s very rewarding to work with people with traumatic injury and see them recover and progress.

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