At the Heart of Research

Stephen Kolwicz,
Assistant Professor of Health and Exercise Physiology

Steve Kolwicz By April Carpenter
Associate Professor and Chair of Health and Exercise Physiology

Oftentimes, research starts with a simple curiosity—a desire to theorize, to innovate, and to create new knowledge.

It’s that curiosity that drives even the most advanced experiments that delve into exceptionally complex systems. Take the heart, for example. It’s one of the body’s most essential organs and yet, we are still learning more about all that it can do—and all that affects it. In Stephen Kolwicz’s Heart and Muscle Metabolism (HaMM) lab, student researchers are doing long-term studies that will give us better insight into the consequences of the fat-burning ketogenic diet.

Dr. Kolwicz has a noted cardiovascular research pedigree, and for this reason, his students are able to study diverse cardiovascular topics. He has already published original findings and a review with students in his three years at Ursinus, and he has obtained significant funding from the American Heart Association for his research.

The work could be a game-changer.

His research adds new global knowledge to a diet that has been around for a century. And in the classroom, his students are exploring new, untapped avenues of heart health. Said one student, “His thorough guidance and attention to detail has given me the tools to lead my own project and become independent in many areas of the lab.”

The findings from the lab are novel in that Dr. Kolwicz and students are discovering important metabolic differences in the keto diet. And the type of experiments that HaMM lab students perform are far more advanced than work that is typical at a small, liberal arts college. It is innovation driven by curiosity at its finest.