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Laye Earns Laughlin Scholarship

Matthew Laye, a doctoral candidate in the department of Medical Pharmacology and Physiology, School of Medicine, at the University of Missouri, is this year’s recipient of the M. Harold Laughlin Scholarship. Laye earned a bachelor of science degree in exercise biology at the University of California-Davis. He has focused his graduate studies at MU on exercise physiology and the effects of inactivity on laboratory rats.

An anonymous donor established the permanently endowed scholarship fund at the University of Missouri in honor of Dr. M. Harold Laughlin, chair of the Biomedical Sciences Department at the College of Veterinary Medicine and a faculty member in the Health Activity Center at MU. The recipient of the $500 award must embody Laughlin’s characteristics of high integrity and genuine caring for the health of humans or animals. The scholarship recognizes an outstanding graduate student, post doctoral fellow, medical student, intern, or resident or veterinary student, intern, or resident who has contributed outstanding research in physical inactivity and chronic disease or promoted physical activity and health, which are focal points of the Health Activity Center at the University of Missouri.

The Health Activity Center is dedicated to education and promotion of research leading to ending the 35 inactivity-related disorders. The center’s faculty members work to determine the biological basis of how physical inactivity makes the body susceptible to chronic disease and disorders such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, hypertension, physical frailty, cancer and arthritis. As companion animals have some of the same inactivity-induced disorders, comparative medicine and human-animal bonding experiments are also performed. The vision of the center is to reduce the human suffering that occurs when the body weakens and becomes diseased because of physical inactivity.

Laye was recognized not only for his research, but for “walking the walk” in promoting a physically active lifestyle. A former captain of the UC-Davis cross country team, Laye serves as a coach of a youth cross country team, is a competitive runner for the Columbia Track Club and demonstrates his commitment to incorporating a healthful and active lifestyle into daily activities such as commuting, grocery shopping, and traveling throughout town by bicycle. He recently completed a month-long “No-Car Diet,” sponsored by PedNet.

Upon leaving the University of Missouri, he hopes to continue studying physical activity using human subjects and basic science techniques in the lab of Dr. Bente Pedersen in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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Last Update: February 29, 2012