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Dr. Todd Backes

Ph.D., SUNY at Buffalo

My research is in the areas of hydration and drinking behavior and exercise performance as well as cognition and exercise. My primary research focus is evaluating hydration needs of exercising individuals. My hypotheses run counter to prevailing beliefs in hydration research and, in contrast, have an evolutionary basis. We will add to our previous research by focusing on physiological mechanisms such as thirst, gastric distention, mouth moisture, and gut temperature as factors that determine drinking behavior and relate these factors to exercise performance. Another focus in my lab has been to examine how acute bouts of physiological stress (exercise) alter working memory and executive functions. We will be expanding cognitive testing to include biomechanical video analysis. This will allow an examination of how changes in coordination of repetitive movements affect human performance.

Other areas of investigation include how physiological stress results in small, transient changes in immune system function and how nutritional interventions may affect immune system response to exercise. We will continue to examine changes in salivary biochemical markers in response to the physiological stress of acute and chronic exercise. Lastly, we are interested in the relationship between BMI (body mass index) and body composition. Most obesity research associates health complications with high BMI values. There is a minority view in obesity research that high BMI values may provide a health benefit provided the BMI value is achieved by increased skeletal muscle mass.

Teaching Interests

BIOL 220 Principles of Human Nutrition
EXSC 250 Introduction to Applied Human Physiology
EXSC 300 Exercise Physiology Lecture & Lab
EXSC 350 Kinesiology
EXSC 425 Biomechanics
EXSC 450 Advanced Exercise Physiology/Cardiovascular Physiology
EXSC 450 Obesity and Health
Undergraduate Research
Senior Capstone Research
Exercise Science Internship

Research Interests

Fluid intake, exercise, and cognitive performance
Brown adipose tissue and metabolism

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Dr. Todd Backes

Associate Professor

238 Science Center
(716) 673-3362
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