The focus of the lab I am working in this summer is illness in the context of human performance, specifically exertional heat illness and exertional rhabdomyolysis in military populations. In the first case, we are looking at different biomarkers manifested under different thermal exercise conditions to try to determine better ways to assess risk for exertional heat illness and develop recovery guidelines for those who have suffered from exertional heat illness. The second project that I will working on this summer is looking at similar biomarkers under different thermal exercise conditions, but with the aim of better understanding how heat stress and caffeine affect muscle damage or exertional rhabdomyolysis. Both studies, while relevant to civilian populations, are of particular interest to the military because both instances are exertional heat illness and exertional rhabdomyolysis are common occurrences in all military basic training and hot environments. Additionally, the effects of caffeine on susceptibility to either heat illness or muscle damage are not well understood.
- Zach Smith ’13