J. Timothy Lightfoot, a federally funded scientist who now serves as the director of Texas A&M University’s Huffines Institute for Sports Medicine and Human Performance, is Iowa State University's 2017-2018 Pease Family Scholar. Contributed photo.

Pease Family Scholar will discuss genetics of physical activity in ISU lecture Oct. 19

A federally funded scientist who now serves as the director of Texas A&M University’s Huffines Institute for Sports Medicine and Human Performance will speak at Iowa State University on Thursday, Oct. 19.

J. Timothy Lightfoot will present “Can You Be Born a Couch Potato? The Genetics of Physical Activity” at 7 p.m. in the Memorial Union Great Hall. Lightfoot is the Department of Kinesiology’s 2017-18 Pease Family Scholar. His talk is free and open to the public.

The Omar Smith Endowed Professor of Kinesiology at Texas A&M, Lightfoot researches the genetics of daily physical activity and exercise endurance.

“Our biggest concern is how to get people active,” Lightfoot said. “Our point has continued to be that if genetics is not taken into consideration, we have little hope of understanding, much less solving, our physical inactivity problems. The common social-environmental factors that are often cited — such as sidewalks and bright stairwells — are not actually supported in the literature as being a factor in the determination of physical activity.”

In addition to Lightfoot’s primary research in genetics, his laboratory also focuses on the physiological responses in athletes performing in non-traditional venues like auto racing and in musicians.

Lightfoot’s research has been featured in numerous general media outlets including the Los Angeles Times, Time.com, National Public Radio, the Rush Limbaugh show, CNN, the NBC Today Show, MSNBC, Revista Epoca (a Brazilian weekly magazine), and on Australian National Radio.

After receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Louisiana Monroe and his doctorate from the University of Tennessee, Lightfoot completed a three-year National Institute of Health postdoctoral research fellowship in the Division of Physiology at Johns Hopkins University.

Lightfoot is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, an ACSM certified exercise specialist, a registered clinical exercise physiologist, a past president of the Southeast Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine, and a past member of the Board of Trustees for the American College of Sports Medicine.

The Pease Family Scholar program was created in memory of Harvey and Bomell Pease. The endowment was established in 1991 by their son, Dean Pease, and his wife, Sally, to bring visiting scholars to the Iowa State campus. Dean Pease, who died in 1994, chaired the Department of Health and Human Performance from 1987 to 1990.

Lightfoot’s lecture is co-sponsored by the Department of Kinesiology, the Pease Family Scholar-in-Residence and Scholarship, and the Committee on Lectures, which is funded by Student Government. More information about ISU lectures is available online at www.lectures.iastate.edu, or by calling 515-294-9935.