The Human Performance Laboratory at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital evaluates physical function for long-term survivors of childhood cancer, ranging in age from 6 to 74 years-of-age, as part of the St. Jude LIFE study.
We most commonly assess survivors diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, and brain tumors, but our facility also evaluates survivors diagnosed with other types of cancer. In addition to our performance assessments of childhood cancer survivors, we conduct physical performance evaluations for pediatric patients receiving treatment for brain tumors, leukemia, lymphoma, solid tumors, sickle cell anemia, and neurological diseases. These evaluations occur at various time points throughout treatment and early remission.
Beyond assessments, we are able to perform interventions, including total-body vibration and in-person and virtual-exercise interventions, for on-therapy patients and survivors.
Our patient populations encompass all types of childhood cancer and other catastrophic diseases, range in age from 18 months to 70+ years, and cover a diagnostic span that ranges from newly diagnosed to 50+ years of survivorship. Approximately 50 patients participate in research testing each week at our state-of-the-art facility.
The Human Performance Laboratory occupies 900 square feet in the Kmart St. Jude Life Building, located next to the After Completion of Therapy Clinic. Our facility is staffed with five certified clinical exercise physiologists and one physical therapist.
Beyond our expansive facility and experienced staff, the Human Performance Lab is equipped with advanced equipment. Some of the equipment in our facility consists of
We perform maximal graded-exercise testing to determine fitness levels (maximal oxygen uptake, peak VO2). We also assess resting energy expenditure for some research protocols.
Muscular strength and endurance are tested with two Biodex System 4 Pro Isokinetic Strength Testing Systems. The Biodex systems can accommodate patients of all ages and sizes, and measure isokinetic, isometric, and isotonic strength. Speeds of movement, resistance, or limb positioning are modified depending on the needs of the research protocol.
We assess a patient’s or survivor’s balance with two Neurocom Equitest systems with Computerized Dynamic Posturography. We test the ability of the individual to maintain an upright position while responding to a variety of inputs to the eyes, the inner ear, and the sensory organs of the legs and feet. The System utilizes a dynamic 18"x18" dual-force plate with rotation and translation capabilities to measure the vertical forces exerted by the patient's feet; and a moveable visual surround.
Other types of available equipment include handheld dynamometry, myometry, range of motion, flexibility, and sensory-testing equipment. Our staff also assess patients for activities of daily living and fine- and gross-motor tasks.
Manager, Clinical Research Operations
B.S. Exercise Science, University of Kansas, 2006
M.S. Exercise, Sport, and Movement Sciences, University of Memphis, 2008
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, National Strength and Conditioning Association, 2006
Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist, American College of Sports Medicine, 2010
Certified Clinical Research Professional, The Society of Clinical Research Associates, 2017
Senior Exercise Physiologist
B.S. Exercise Science, Central Connecticut State University, 2010
M.S. Kinesiology, University of Connecticut, 2012
PhD Epidemiology, University of Memphis, 2022
Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist, American College of Sports Medicine, 2012
B.S. Exercise Science, Georgia Southern University, 2018
M.S. Kinesiology, Exercise Physiology Concentration, Western Kentucky University, 2020
Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist, American Collge of Sports Mediicne, 2022
B.S. Exercise Science, Central Michigan University, 2016
M.A. Exercise Physiology, Central Michigan University, 2018
Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist, American College of Sports Medicine, 2018
B.S. Exercise Science, University of Louisville, 2017
M.S. Exercise Physiology, University of Louisville, 2019
Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist, American College of Sports Medicine, 2020
B.S. Exercise Science, University of Central Missouri, 2018
M.S. Cancer Care, Exercise Oncology Concentration, Saint Francis University, 2020
Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer, American College of Sports Medicine/American Cancer Society, 2020
Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist, American College of Sports Medicine, 2021
B.S. Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2013
DPT Doctor of Physical Therapy, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2016
Board Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist, American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties, 2020
Full time undergraduate and graduate internships are available in the Human Performance Lab in the spring, summer, and fall semesters for Exercise Science, Exercise Physiology, or Kinesiology majors (or equivalent). Internship hour requirements are dependent upon the requirements of the student’s university. Internships are full time (40 hours per week) and cannot be part time. You will learn how to perform physical function assessments on childhood cancer survivors and complete research projects.
In order to apply for an internship in the Human Performance Lab, the following criteria must be submitted to HPLab@stjude.org:
*Academic Eligibility Requirements:
(Meeting these requirements does not guarantee acceptance into program
Of note, if you are from outside the Memphis area, this internship is unpaid and you will be responsible for finding housing for the internship. We do have individuals that can assist in finding housing, but the cost will be covered by the student.
If you are accepted as an intern, it is required to carry a $1,000,000 liability insurance policy. The typical cost is $30-40 for coverage for one year.
One day shadowing opportunities are available for undergraduate or graduate students who otherwise do not meet requirements for an internship. Please submit the following to HPLab@stjude.org: