Graduate Student Wins National Dissertation Award
Douglas Bolster, who received his Ph.D. in May, recently received an award for his research from the largest sports medicine organization in the world.
Bolster, who completed his dissertation in kinesiology, was given the National Student Research Award from the American College of Sports Medicine for his work on the effects of a high protein diet on muscle protein use by runners. The ACSM gives this competitive award to a doctoral student for the scientific quality of the research and its contribution to the literature.
"It is a very prestigious award," says Carl Maresh, professor and head of the Department of Kinesiology, "and it is one that brings great attention to the research within our Human Performance Laboratory."
The project, supported by a National Cattleman's Beef Association grant to Nancy Rodriguez, an associate professor of nutritional sciences with a joint appointment in kinesiology, was a collaborative effort between these two programs.
"Doug has been a tremendous asset to our collaborative research ventures and has served as an exceptional role model for other graduate students," says Rodriguez, one of Bolster's two major advisors with Lawrence Armstrong, professor of kinesiology.
"He had one of the most comprehensive doctoral plans of study and research agenda that I have witnessed in my 10 years at the University. He is and will continue to be an excellent scientist in the arenas of exercise science and sports medicine research," she says.
Bolster studied the effects of a high protein diet on athletes. The study compared protein use by the body and by muscle in endurance runners following diets that are moderate and high in protein.
Trained runners consumed either a moderate or high protein diet for four weeks. (Each athlete was given both levels of protein at different times and went through the same testing.) After three weeks on either diet, protein used by the body at rest was assessed. At the fourth week, the runners completed a two-hour endurance run, after which muscle tissue was sampled to determine how the muscle was using protein. Since muscle protein synthesis was reduced after exercise, findings suggested that a high protein diet provided no substantial benefit post-exercise, Rodriguez says.
This is the first study that has been done nationwide to look at the effect of different levels of dietary protein and how it is used in the muscles of elite athletes.
Bolster will be doing post-doctoral research at the Pennsylvania State College of Medicine in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology. He will study regulation of gene expression in mammalian cells by hormones and nutrients.