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NASA funds Marshall exercise science student’s research

Ethan Bowens, an undergraduate exercise science major, has received funding from NASA for research he is completing at Marshall University.

Bowens’ research was selected by NASA’s West Virginia Space Grant Consortium to receive Undergraduate Research Fellowship funding, a financial award totaling $5,000.

The study, titled “The Effects of Aging and Sex Effects on Muscle Size in Male and Female Rats,” provides insight into how muscle is lost during space travel. By simulating the microgravity conditions of space, Bowens’ study will investigate whether resistance training can reduce the muscle loss astronauts experience. The findings may reduce the occupational hazards presented by missions requiring extended time in space.

In addition to his academic work, Bowens is the co-captain of Marshall’s Track and Field Team.  He said participating in athletics has had a profound impact on his academic achievement.

“The discipline, determination and time management skills I have developed through sports have translated directly into my studies,” Bowens said. “When faced with tough problems or challenges in my academics, I am able to approach them with a similar mindset as I do in sports – with perseverance and a drive to overcome obstacles.”

He also thanked his professors and mentors, particularly Dr. Kumika Toma, an associate professor in exercise science who is overseeing his research.

“Marshall has given me truly wonderful and once in a lifetime opportunities such as this research, as well as being able to participate in the sport I love at the highest level, ” Bowens said.  “The professors in the school of kinesiology have had a large impact on my life and I am thankful for each of them. I want to personally thank Dr. Toma for her unwavering passion towards her students and her assistance in this process.”

Bowens, a native of Wayne, West Virginia, plans to pursue a master’s degree in health administration before applying to medical school, where he plans to specialize in aerospace medicine. His long-term career goal is to become a physician in the United States Air Force.

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