SPOKANE, Wash. — Washington State University Spokane students may now enroll in a new master’s degree program focusing on the cellular physiological responses to exercise.

The Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board recently approved the M.S. in exercise science for delivery at the campus. The degree replaces the M.S. in kinesiology formerly offered at WSU Pullman.

Exercise science is a scientifically based discipline that focuses on the body’s response to exercise. The degree is Washington’s only research-based graduate program in exercise science focusing on clinical and experimental exercise physiology with an emphasis on cellular and molecular mechanisms, said Sally Blank, associate professor of exercise science and coordinator of the graduate program.

“We will benefit enormously from our location in the new Health Sciences Building, with the latest lab facilities and access to the health care community of Spokane,” Blank said. The building, which opened for classes in January 2002, holds over 21,000 square feet of wet and dry labs, in addition to classrooms, clinics and offices for programs in the health sciences.

Faculty and students in the program perform research in a variety of areas, including muscle physiology, exercise immunology, immune modulation by alcohol, muscle damage and repair, angiogenesis (new blood vessel growth), microcirculation, endothelial biology, oxygen transport to tissue, atherosclerosis, biobehavioral interventions and immune function, and effects of exercise on conditions such as cancer and heart disease.

Currently funded research includes effects of moderate ethanol exposure and hypoxia on endothelial cell angiogenesis markers, and a study of short-term exercise overreaching and effects of glutamine supplementation on the immune system.

Students in the program may focus their studies to prepare for related careers in clinical physiology. They also may choose to prepare for doctoral programs or careers in academic or corporate research programs. A graduate certificate in exercise science is also available for students and professionals in fields such as nutrition, nursing and other allied health and science professions.

For more information, contact Blank at (509) 358-7633, seblank@wsu.edu, or see www.exercisescience.spokane.wsu.edu.