One professor studies the bones of the deceased, the other studies the bones of the living. They will combine their expertise on a study about how exercise fosters bone health.

Alice Gooding, associate professor of anthropology at Kennesaw State University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences and an avid runner, and Yuri Feito, associate professor of exercise science in KSU’s Wellstar College of Health and Human Services, met last year during a new summer research fellowship program in KSU’s Office of Research.

Feito said that they quickly found that they had some things in common. Both earned their doctorates from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and both have an interest in exercise science. Gooding said she also recognized the parallel between their areas of expertise.

“We were part of an initial group of about 20 faculty members who participated in the grant writing professional development program,” said Gooding. “He started talking about his work, and I started talking about my work, so we decided to partner.”

Feito brought to the table a previous study on changes in strength, bone metabolism and body composition. The study showed a 5% increase in bone density among the participants over 16 weeks of high intensity fitness training. Gooding was intrigued.

Feito said the newer study will take place over two years and involve upwards of 300 participants in CrossFit, racquet sports and running. He said he hopes to add a public health justification for doctors to prescribe exercise; the improvement in bone health leads to fewer issues down the road.

The study will use both Feito’s and Gooding’s laboratories as well. Feito has a DEXA scanner that measures changes in weight and body composition as a result of changes on bone and muscle composition, while Gooding’s Bone Biomechanics Lab features a CT scanner.

Gene Ray, associate professor of statistics in the College of Computer and Software Engineering, is the third member of the research team. Ray said he’s happy to help out with the study as it hits on a couple of areas of his expertise—data science and wellness.

Gooding said the size of the project required the participation of someone like Ray to exclusively deal with the numbers, which makes this a truly interdisciplinary project.

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