View plans for in-person Commencement and fall 2021 on ourCOVID-19 News & Information website.
Department of Kinesiology

Michael Smith

Assistant Professor

Spring 2021 Office Hours: MW 7:30-9:30am

Please email faculty to set up office hour appointment 


  • Bachelors of Science: Exercise Physiology. California State University, Chico (2007)
  • Masters of Science: Human Cardiovascular Physiology. University of Oregon (2010)
  • Doctor of Philosophy: Exercise Physiology. The Ohio State University (2012)


KINE 390: Strength and Conditioning

KINE 323: Physiology of Exercise

KINE 480: Exercise Testing and Prescription


Dr. Smith's lab is primarily concerned with investigating the effects of various exercise modalities (traditional aerobic/anaerobic, high intensity power training, high intensity interval training) on vascular and autonomic parameters. The lab currently has four specific areas of active research:

  • Venous thromboembolism and exercise/inactivity
  • Vascular/autonomic adaptations to high intensity aerobic and anaerobic training programs
  • Endogenous female sex hormones and integrative cardiovascular health
  • Nutrition and inflammation

Our state of the art vascular and autonomic function lab is nested within the exercise physiology performance lab. Some of the outcome variables we collect include the following:

  • Muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) via microneurography. This methodology is only employed in a select number of labs throughout the world. An electrode is placed into an efferent sympathetic nerve that controls arterial smooth muscle, and recordings are amplified and collected into a data acquisition system for later analysis. Notable diseases that are characterized by elevated MSNA include hypertension, polycystic ovarian syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and heart failure. These recordings are made at rest in a conscious human, and can be technically challenging.
  • Endothelial function via flow mediated dilation. The vascular endothelium is a very thin layer of cells that serves as the interface between moving blood and vascular smooth muscle. By using a cuff occlusion and the resulting hyperemia following the cuff release, ultrasound imaging can be used to determine the reactivity of the endothelium to this shear stress. Our lab has developed custom designed wall tracking software, intended to simplify and expedite objective analysis of recordings. Using this imaging methodology, we can also quantify blood flow to upper and lower body limbs.
  • Blood viscosity via cone and plate viscometer. Important markers of the viscosity of blood include whole blood viscosity, plasma viscosity, red cell rigidity, plasma protein concentration, and fibrinogen activation. Using an intravenous catheter, blood samples are drawn and analyzed immediately or frozen in a -80 degree freezer for later analysis.
  • Data acquisition of analog voltage signals. Anything that outputs an analog signal can be captured using WinDAQ software/hardware data acquisition. Other labs or research projects could benefit from the ability to sample these signals at 250 Hz and beyond. 

The lab is currently accepting applications from motivated undergraduate and graduate students who wish to learn about integrative cardiovascular physiology. Select students will participate in weekly lab meetings, learn one or more of the above methodologies, and present their research at regional or national scientific conferences, as well as be eligible to author manuscripts for submission to peer reviewed journals. 

Personal Interests

Like many kinesiology faculty and students, I’m primarily interested in anything that involves exercise. Bicycling in any form (mountain, road, commuting) is a longtime favorite. Attempting to catch and land fish out of a sea kayak on high sierra lakes, as well as upland bird hunting are also on my list of favorites. I also suffer from an insatiable desire to fix and maintain anything mechanical. I’m also an Olympic weightlifting addict. When I’m not exercising, I can be found listening to the Grateful Dead, reading Thoreau, or listening to the “Thomas Jefferson Hour” podcast. It is also my closely held belief that exercise should be harnessed for useful work, and during the summer, you can find me with a chainsaw and woodsplitter deep in the woods. I’m also obsessed with dehydrating various fruits and vegetables (as well as gardening). Drop by and sample the latest batch of dehydrated fruit!