The new Max Orovitz Laboratory in the School of Education may give students the sudden urge to change their majors.
The lab holds technologically advanced equipment, including a 3D motion analysis system and other complex research tools. This allows Education students to do complex research in areas such as aging and human performance, with subjects ranging from the elderly to athletes.
“The systems are very complex and comprehensive, so it takes a long time to get used to it,” said Hyung-pil Jun, a doctoral student doing research at the lab. “But once you get at a good level, the experience is going to be very valuable.”
The lab belongs to the Department of Kinesiology and Sports Sciences in the School of Education and Human Development. It’s located in the Max Orovitz building next to the alumni center; the building was renovated to allow space for about $500,000 worth of research equipment, according to Education Dean Isaac Prilleltensky.
“We mainly have three goals: educational, research and working to promote well-being in the community,” Prilleltensky said. “The new facility helps further the synergy of these goals.”
The 10,000-square-foot lab is broken into three areas of research: The Laboratory of Athletic Training, Sports Medicine and Motion Analysis, and Neuromuscular Research and Active Aging.
Arlette Perry, a professor and chairperson of the Department of Kinesiology and Sport Sciences, said that the response from the students working within the labs has been positive.
“They love it,” Perry said. “They’re learning not only how to use the equipment and interpret the data, but they’re learning how to get it to function and take care of it better.”
The lab is only one year old, meaning the current group of students in the program is the first to really interact with the equipment.
“They’re in it at the very beginning, this group, and they’re learning how to use it,” Perry said. “I think it’s a great educational experience for them.”
Despite the novelty of the lab, it’s already being used by the faculty of researchers and the students in a variety of unique research projects. Joseph Signorile (NEED TITLE) said that the new “top-of-the-line” equipment brings new possibilities.
“This has really expanded our horizons,” Signorile said. “You can see it in every faculty member here how well the research is now going and picking up.”
According to Prilleltensky, the costs associated with the lab are being shared between the school and the University’s administration, who he said has been “very helpful.”
They hope to continue that momentum by soon adding an additional lab component that would house the department’s nutritional research.
Signorile said he believes that the new lab comes with more chances to bring together the research and education that the department does. For the future, he hopes students are able to continue work that impacts the community overall.
“The medical profession has done a fabulous job at keeping us around a lot longer,” he said. “We’re trying to do a fabulous job at keeping us around a lot better.”