News & Events

February 2022: Groundbreaking Muscular Dystrophy Research

Duchenne and Becker Muscular Dystrophies are diseases that impact one in every 5,000 boys and one in every 18,500 boys, respectively. Characteristically, these boys most often experience difficulty walking, difficulty performing ADLs,  progressive skeletal muscle wasting, and often die relatively young as a result of heart failure. Unfortunately, not much is known regarding these cardiovascular consequences or cardiac trajectory of DMD and BMD, which is what Dr. Witman hopes to get insight into with this innovative research. To get more information, read the full article here.

February 2022: The Heart of the Matter: UD study explores why Black women experience higher heart disease risk:

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women in the United States; however, research has shown that black women are at a greater risk for heart disease than white women. Melissa Witman and colleagues report new clues that may help explain why black women experience greater risk in their recent study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology on October 28, 2021. The study found that black women experience diminished function in the smaller blood vessels that make up the body’s microvascular system. Read the full article here.

January 2022 – APS Select:

‘Evidence of reduced peripheral microvascular function in young Black women across the menstrual cycle’ chosen to be included in the January 2022 edition of the Journal of Applied Physiology. The Journal of Applied Physiology has created APSselect to showcase outstanding discoveries published by the Society members.

November 2021: Swech’s Abstract Selected as a Undergraduate Award Finalist at MARC-ACSM:

Danika Swech’s abstract was scored within the top 5 abstracts for undergraduate students who submitted their abstracts to the Mid-Atlantic Region ACSM Conference. She presented her work titled “You are What (Time) You Eat: Investigating Chrononutrition and Body Mass Index in Free-Living Adults.”

September 2021:

Witman receives R01 funding for Cardiovascular Consequences of Duchenne and Becker Muscular Dystrophinopathies.

 

June 2021: D’Agata Wins Best Doctoral Student Abstract Award at National ACSM Conference:

PhD student, Michele D’Agata won the Best Doctoral Student Abstract award from the Non-Invasive Physiological Measurement Interest Group at the 2021 American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) annual meeting. She presented her abstract “Indices of Resistance Artery Function are Related in Young Women.”

December 2020: Sleep Regularly StudyA new study by Elissa Hoopes, Postdoctoral Associate, and Melissa Witman, Assistant Professor, suggests that consistently sleeping the same amount every night is associated with better cardiovascular health, and that irregular sleep may increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, even in otherwise healthy, young adults. Fifty-one healthy undergraduate students participated in the study, wearing a biosensing device — wrist accelerometers, similar to the fitness and sleep trackers worn by many — 24 hours a day for 14 days. Along with sleep monitoring, participants were tested for vascular function and blood samples were drawn and analyzed. The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Sleep, which focuses on sleep and circadian science and is the official publication of the Sleep Research Society. Read the full article here.

 

November 2020: Berube’s Abstract Selected as a PhD Award Finalist at MARC-ACSM:

Felicia Berube’s abstract was scored within the top 5 abstracts for PhD students who submitted their abstracts to the Mid-Atlantic Region ACSM Conference. She presented her abstract titled “Sleep Regularity Metrics are Associated with Lower Levels of Physical Activity in Children.”

 

July 2020: Berube Successfully Defends Thesis
Felicia Berube successfully defended her Master’s Thesis titled The Role of Sleep Metrics on Central and Peripheral Blood Pressure Values in Children. Her committee members included Dr. Bill Farquhar, Dr. Steven Ives, and Dr. Melissa Witman. Felicia will continue on as PhD
student’s in Dr. Witman’s Lab starting Fall, 2020.

 

June 2020: D’Agata Successfully Defends Thesis
Michele D’Agata successfully defended her Master’s Thesis titled Racial Disparity in Peripheral Microvascular Function Assessed Throughout the Menstrual Cycle. Her committee members included Dr. Megan Wenner, Dr. Sushant Ranadive, and Dr. Melissa Witman. Michele will continue on as PhD student’s in Dr. Witman’s Lab starting Fall, 2020.

 

June 2020: D’Agata Competes in National ACSM President’s Cup Competition
The National ACSM President’s Cup Competition took place online via Zoom on June 19, 2020. Michele D’Agata joined 8 other regional ACSM President’s Cup winners to compete in the National competition. Michele’s presentation was titled Potential Racial Disparity in Peripheral Vascular Function Across the Menstrual Cycle. Each presentation/presenter was critiqued by a panel of judges based on significance, innovation, project design, presentation skills, and ability to answer questions. Congratulations to Michele on this accomplishment!

 

May 2020: Katulka, D’Agata, and Dambly All Receive Year-End Awards
Three members of the Witman Lab received end-of-the-year awards for their hard work. PhD student, Elissa Katulka, received the Robert Neeves Graduate Award, which recognized her as an outstanding Exercise Science graduate student who demonstrates integrity, generosity, and good character. Master’s student, Michele D’Agata, received the Exercise Science Outstanding Master’s Student Award for her contribution to research while demonstrating independence and perseverance. Undergraduate student, Julia Dambly, received the Robert A. Layton Jr. Honor Award for her superior academic and athletic achievement while exhibiting a commitment to service and professional activities.

 

March 2020: Katulka Successfully Defends Dissertation
Elissa Katulka successfully defended her Doctoral Dissertation titled Sleep Variability and Cardiovascular Health in Undergraduate College Students on March 25, 2020. Her committee members included Dr. Bill Farquhar, Dr. Dave Edwards, Dr. Freda Patterson, and Dr. Melissa
Witman. She was the first KAAP student to defend via Zoom, breaking the ground for numerous online defenses and presentations to follow. Elissa was Dr. Witman’s first graduate student who will now transition to a post-doctoral research position in the Behavioral Health and Nutrition Department at UD. Congratulations Elissa!

 

November 2019: Witman Lab Attends Mid-Atlantic Region ACSM Conference
Master’s student Felicia Berube and undergraduate student Cindy Rullo presented their work as thematic posters. Abstracts from Master’s student Michele D’Agata and PhD student Elissa Katulka were scored within the top 5 abstracts for their respective categories and they presented their work as oral presentations within the Free Communications Awards category. Michele received the President’s Cup award for her presentation “Potential Racial Disparity in Peripheral Vascular Function Across the Menstrual Cycle” which was scored the highest among all presenters in the Free Communications Awards category and she will now go on to compete against other regional winners at the National ACSM conference in San Francisco in May, 2020. Elissa and Felicia also plan to present their work at the National ACSM conference. Finally, Dr. Melissa Witman was an invited speaker at the MARC-ACSM conference where she showcased the Passive Leg Movement technique for the assessment of peripheral vascular function.

August 2019: Berube and D’Agata Present at NERIC
The North East Regional IDeA Conference brings together individuals representing Institutional Development Award (IDeA) Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE), Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE), and IDeA Clinical and Translational Research programs from Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

February 2019: D’Agata Wins Best Master’s Poster Award at CHS Research Day
Members of the lab recently presented their work at the 1st Annual College of Health Sciences Research Day. Additionally, first year Master’s student Michele D’Agata won the Best Master’s Poster Award for her project “Potential Racial Differences in Endothelial-mediated Vascular Function Assessed throughout the Menstrual Cycle.”

May 2018: Katulka Wins Best Student Abstract Award at National ACSM Conference
PhD student, Elissa Katulka, won the Best Student Abstract award from the Noninvasive Physiological Measurement Interest Group at the 2018 American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) annual meeting in Minneapolis, MN. She presented her poster, “Altered Vascular Function in Chronic Kidney Disease: Evidence from Passive Leg Movement.”