New Faculty Spotlight: Erik Hummer

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DLS is excited to welcome Erik Hummer! He is joining the Department of Kinesiology and Health in January 2023 after completing a postdoctoral research position at Kessler Foundation in New Jersey. 

Tell my about yourself:
My name is Erik Hummer, and I will be joining the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health starting January 2023. I am a west coast native, growing up in Woodinville, WA. I moved to New Jersey during the pandemic (fall of 2020) for a Post-Doctoral research position with my wife Bethany. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, playing tennis, going trail running, and watching cheesy B-rated movies. I am a huge dog person, with a Dachshund/Jack Russell (Pippin) and a Lab/Cattle Dog (Rubi) mix at home.

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How did you become interest in science?
I have always had an elevated level of interest, wondering how things worked and having a natural curiosity. During school, I would prefer to take courses focused on science (chemistry or physics) compared to other types of courses. When I started as an undergraduate student, I initially wanted to major in chemistry, but found out that there was type of science that involved exercise and human movement. From then on, I have continued to grow my curiosity surrounding the human body and how we adapt to excise across the lifespan.

As a student, how did do you do undergraduate research?
Oddly enough, I did not get involved directly with research until my time in graduate school. During my time as an undergraduate student, I participated in writing literature reviews and reading scientific work while attending a small liberal arts school that was not research focused. My active participation in research began as a graduate research assistant during my master’s degree where I emphasized introducing undergraduate students to research. I believe undergraduate students stand to gain a lot from active participation in research and make that an emphasis in my ongoing research work.

What are you reaching?
My research focuses on quantifying human movement (biomechanics) and the effect of exercise-based intervention on health. I use various tools to measure human movement such as 3D motion capture systems (as seen for large movies or video games), small EMG sensors to measure muscle activity, and force plates. Specifically, I conduct research in how to optimize recovery from injury or mediate health benefits for those with chronic disorders using visual feedback. In addition, I have an interest in improving performance in the general population as well as in athletes (sport biomechanics).

I am most looking forward to the collaborative environment and support that is fostered by Rutgers University both in research and teaching excellence. I am excited to introduce students, both graduate and undergraduate, to biomechanics related research and to build relationships within the Rutgers University community. Rutgers is a perfect environment where I feel like I can contribute the most to students and to the scientific community at large.