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COE Lab Provides Life-Saving Tests & Education

When a 23-year-old Albuquerque man entered the College of Education Exercise Physiology Lab last semester, little did he know the VO2max test would reveal a serious cardiomyopathy, a life-threatening heart condition. This test measures heart rhythms with an EKG, and the amount of oxygen used by the body, which indicates overall aerobic fitness.

“Though it doesn't happen often, this is just one example of how our service and research programs have detected serious health conditions unknown to clients and research subjects,” said Dr. Christine Mermier, associate professor in the COE’s Department of Health, Exercise and Sports Sciences.

Tucked deep within the labyrinthine halls of Johnson Center, this lab is dedicated to educating the community about their health and physical fitness in order to prevent these types of conditions.

Interesting facts about the lab:

The VO2max test takes 1 1/2 hours to complete and indicates overall aerobic fitness.

The VO2max test takes 1 1/2 hours to complete and indicates overall aerobic fitness.

  • Utilized by 180 undergraduate and 30 graduate (mostly Ph.D.) students during a typical semester.
  • Includes a heat chamber for studying exercise and occupational activities in the heat.
  • Supports the UNM Employee Wellness Program.
  • Provides Exercise Science students with hands-on experience administering and collecting data from fitness tests offered to UNM students and the community.
  • The lab’s altitude chamber can simulate high altitude or diving and is one of only six university hypo/hyperbaric chambers within the U.S. used for educational purposes.
  • Research collaborations are common in the areas of nutrition, biology, physical therapy, and engineering.
  • Lab tours and demonstrations are conducted for the statewide community.

Who Are Our graduate Students?

  • 71% female
  • Average age is 37
  • 47% minority
  • Average unmet need is $2,400 per year