Current Projects

The influence of trait anxiety on autonomic and vascular function in otherwise healthy college students

  • We are looking for subjects with various levels of anxiety to examine physiological measures of stress (for example, blood pressure, heart rate, blood vessel function, and nervous system activity) at rest and in response to a variety of stressors in anxious vs. non-anxious college-aged students. Subjects must be otherwise healthy (no known cardiovascular, pulmonary, or metabolic diseases) and of college age (18-24 yr).  

The role of physical fitness on blood pressure control in young women

  • We will be examining physiological measures related to the control of the cardiovascular system (for example, blood pressure, heart rate, heart rate variability, blood vessel function, and nervous system activity) at rest and during various stressors in young women who are physically-active (endurance-trained) vs. sedentary.

Health behaviors and beliefs among pregnant women

  • Using surveys, we will determine behaviors and beliefs about nutrition, physical activity, and exercise (of various intensities and modes) in pregnant women living in rural North Carolina. Ultimately, we plan to use these findings to a) develop interventional studies aimed at increasing physical activity among pregnant women, and b) aid in community-based education events for local women and families. To complete a secure online version of the survey, please go here.

The relationship between attentional focus and coordination during exercise

  • We are looking for healthy men and women (18-35 yr) who do not regularly participate in aerobic physical activity. This study requires three laboratory visits and will examine how focusing strategies and distraction influence coordination during treadmill running. 

Characteristics of muscle oxygen saturation and activation of the sympathetic nervous system in healthy adults

  • We are looking for healthy male and female subjects, 18 years or older, to participate in a study looking at the relationship between the sympathetic nervous system (i.e. fight or flight response) and oxygen supplied to skeletal muscles. Participation will require 3 visits to the lab (located in Leon Levine Hall) for a total of 5 hours. 

*If you are interested in participating in one of our current studies, please contact Dr. Stickford at