Student Star: David Mendez

Name: David Mendez
Major: Exercise Science

“[This research project] has taught me the importance of working with a team that shares the same passion for discovering new ideas, and it has helped me discover my full potential.”

“Ever since I could remember I have wanted to be a doctor. Science and health have always intrigued me and medicine brings these two disciplines together perfectly,” says David Mendez, an Honors in the Major student in Exercise Science.
David chose Exercise Science, which offers courses in anatomy, physiology, and metabolism, to gain a greater understanding of how these areas work in concert in the body. His fascination with medicine has only grown—through numerous, shared studies and with the guidance of Jeong-Su Kim, assistant professor of Nutrition, Food, and Exercise Science, Jacob Wilson, Ph.D. candidate, and Sang-Rok Lee, M.S. “Dr. Kim and my team have been by my side through my most productive year at FSU and have supported me in every aspect. Their diligence, energy, and sense of humor make working in the laboratory a joy.”

Last spring, they began investigating the optimal timing of taking β-Hydroxy- β-Methylbutyrate (HMB) supplement for muscle damage in the young, observing both pre- and post-exercise results. “We found that timing did not alter HMB’s effects, but the information we gained will help us in further studies having to do with HMB supplementation.” An abstract of the study will soon be published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, a journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.

In the summer, David began his Honors in the Major Thesis project, “Effects of feeding 3 or 6 grams of β-Hydroxy- β-Methylbutyrate (HMB) on indicators of muscle tissue degradation, damage, and performance in the elderly sarcopenic population.” He says, “We hypothesize that HMB may be required in higher dosages to suppress exercise-induced muscle damage and protein degradation to its fullest extent in aged muscle. We will test this hypothesis by comparing certain strength measurements and analyzing muscle damage markers in serum.”

In February, David presented a poster based on his Honors Thesis project at the College of Human Sciences’ Research and Creativity Day, and in April he will present his project at the Third Annual ACC Meeting of the Minds Conference, to be held here at FSU.

To aid him in his research, David has received numerous grants, including the Bess Ward Honors Thesis Award and the College of Human Sciences Undergraduate Student Research and Creativity Award. The College of Human Sciences Undergraduate Student Travel Award will enable him to present his research at the American College of Sports Medicine’s 55th Annual Meeting in Indianapolis.

Working on this project is an experience that David will always treasure. The study enabled him to work alongside a team of professors, and graduate and undergraduate students in an effort to improve the health of the elderly community. “It has taught me the importance of working with a team that shares the same passion for discovering new ideas and it has helped me discover my full potential.”