HHP Student Profile: Jenny Painter

  1. What is your major and minor?
    I am majoring in Exercise Physiology with a minor in Psychology.
  2. What is your graduation year?
    My graduation year is 2023.
  3. What is your research project? What are you trying to accomplish with this project?
    My research project is looking at the differences in neurological connectivity between right and left limb dominant individuals in implicit motor sequence learning. Limb dominance has a substantial influence on implicit motor sequence learning, a critical aspect of our ability to interact with the environment in a goal-directed way. Current research has concluded that left-hand dominant (LHD) individuals are often more bilateral than their right-handed (RHD) counterparts, as LHD individuals were found to utilize neural connections within both the right and left hemispheres of the brain. Studying this fundamental difference in limb dominance and neural connectivity could greatly improve our understanding of human anatomy and physiology. This study will challenge the theory of lateralization of brain function by analyzing the differences in neural connectivity between RHD and LHD individuals. This information can be used to determine if alternate treatment methods exist that may be more beneficial for LHD individuals and if the handedness of their healthcare provider is a crucial part of their learning and recovery process.  
  4. Who are you working with in order to complete this research project?
    This project is performed under the supervision of Dr. Chris Mizelle. Brooke Lindsay and Soumya Kamath have been my research partners for most of the project.
  5. How did you become involved in the research process?
    I became involved in the research process by reaching out to Dr. Stacey Altman, the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Academic Affairs. She was able to get me in contact with several professors within the Kinesiology department that were looking for research assistants. I was able to meet with them and I ultimately decided that I was most interested in Dr. Mizelle’s research in neuroscience. He has been a great mentor for me throughout my time working on this project.
  6. What advice do you have for students who are interested in your field and want to become involved?
    For students who are looking to get involved, reach out to your professors. They will be able to help you make connections and if they don’t know the answer to one of your questions, they will likely know somebody that will. They really are there to help you grow and succeed. 
  7. How do you think this research process has affected/will affect your career path(s)?
    The research process has helped me to grow personally and professionally. I have learned so many unique skills, such as how to run EEGs and write code using MATLAB. The experience and knowledge I have gained from this process will help me to be a more competitive applicant for my desired graduate program of physical therapy.