Dr. Harkey

Matthew Harkey, Ph.D., ATC

Dr. Harkey is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology. His primary research interest focuses on developing ways to identify people at increased risk for knee osteoarthritis, especially after anterior cruciate ligament injuries. Specifically, he is interested in understanding how people move is related to sensitive measures related to the development of knee osteoarthritis. Examples of techniques used in his research include diagnostic ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging, walking biomechanics assessments, physical function performance measures, and serum biomarkers. His research involves laboratory-based data collection and epidemiology studies using data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative. Dr. Harkey has over 50 peer-reviewed publications featured in Osteoarthritis & Cartilage, Medicine & Science in Sport & Exercise, Arthritis & Rheumatology, American Journal of Sports Medicine, and Arthritis Care & Research. Dr. Harkey completed a joint post-doctoral research fellowship in July 2020 through Tufts Medical Center and the University of Massachusetts Medical School with training in musculoskeletal imagining and epidemiology. In 2019, Dr. Harkey received the David H. Perrin Doctoral Dissertation Award from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Research & Education Foundation and an NIH Extramural Clinical Research Loan Repayment Award from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Disorders. Contact Dr. Harkey at harkeym1@msu.edu.


Graduate Students

Ashley Triplett

Ashley Triplett, M.S.

Ashley is a fifth year Ph.D. student in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Physiology. Her research interests include the physiological effects of ACL reconstruction on aerobic fitness, body composition, and physical activity engagement. She completed her Master’s Degree in Kinesiology with a focus in Exercise Physiology at Michigan State University in 2016. Her master’s research evaluated the physiological response of Division I ice hockey players during games and practice sessions. She serves as a research and teaching assistant in the Department of Kinesiology and is currently the President of the Kinesiology Graduate Student Organization (KGSO). Contact Ashley at triple18@msu.edu

Morgan Anderson

Morgan Anderson, M.S.

Morgan is a fourth year Ph.D. student. Her research interests include the neuropsychological, psychosocial, and physical effects of sport-related concussion (SRC). She completed her Master’s Degree in Kinesiology-Exercise Science at the University of Arkansas in 2017. Her thesis compared before-school and after-school neurocognitive performance and symptoms to determine the optimal time to administer computerized neurocognitive testing. Morgan is currently a research assistant in the Department of Kinesiology. Contact her at ande1997@msu.edu

Tom Birchmeier

Tom Birchmeier, M.S., ATC, CSCS

Tom is a fourth year Ph.D. student in the Department of Kinesiology, where he serves as a teaching and research assistant. Tom received his Master’s Degree in Athletic Training from Indiana University and Bachelor’s Degree from Hope College. His primary research focus is enhancing participation in vigorous physical activity while mitigating risk of second injury among young individuals who have undergone ACL reconstruction (ACLR). He uses ACLR as a model to study the neurophysiological effects of traumatic knee injury that prevent returning to vigorous physical activity and to investigate assessments that can identify individuals at risk of a second ACL injury. Contact Tom at birchm48@msu.edu

Christopher Tomczyk

Christopher Tomczyk, M.S., ATC

Chris is a third year Ph.D. student in the Department of Kinesiology, studying under Dr. Tracey Covassin. His research interests include identifying psychosocial factors that influence concussion disclosure decisions, along with developing theory-driven concussion education programs designed to promote healthy disclosure behaviors. During his time at MSU, Chris has received multiple research fellowships to aid in the pursuit of these research avenues. He completed his Master’s Degree in Kinesiology with a concentration in Athletic Training from Georgia Southern University in 2018, and his Bachelor’s Degree in Athletic Training from West Chester University of Pennsylvania in 2016. Chris is currently serves as a teaching and research assistant in the Department of Kinesiology. Contact Chris at tomczykc@msu.edu

Katherine Collins

Katherine Collins, M.S.

Katie is a second year Ph.D. student in Kinesiology with a concentration in cognitive and motor neuroscience. Her research interests include utilizing clinical imaging and biomechanical outcomes to better understand return to physical activity following ACL reconstruction. Katie received her Master’s Degree in Kinesiology with a concentration in Applied Physiology and Neuromechanics from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her master’s research focused on biomechanical outcomes and sensory reweighting following intervention in individuals with a history of ACL reconstruction. She currently serves as a research and teaching assistant in the Department of Kinesiology. Contact Katie at colli784@msu.edu

Aaron Zynda

Aaron Zynda, B.S.

Aaron is a second year Ph.D. student in the Department of Kinesiology studying with Dr. Tracey Covassin. His primary research interests revolve around risk factors associated with prolonged recovery following sport-related concussion (SRC). Aaron previously worked as a clinical research coordinator at Scottish Rite for Children Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center and became a Certified Clinical Research Professional (CCRP) in 2018. At Scottish Rite, his work focused on the use of DHA as a treatment following SRC and the association between sleep quality and recovery following SRC in the pediatric population. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Movement Science from the University of Michigan in 2015. Aaron currently serves as a reasearch and teaching assistant in the Department of Kinesiology. Contact Aaron at zyndaaar@msu.edu

Michelle Walaszek

Michelle Walaszek, DPT

Michelle is a first year Ph.D. student in Kinesiology with a concentration in Cognitive and Motor Neuroscience. Michelle received her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Creighton University. While studying for her DPT, Michelle assisted with research focused on gait mechanics in pregnant and post-partum as it relates to low back and sacral pain. Michelle received her Master’s degree in Kinesiology and Health Promotion with a concentration in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky. Her Master’s research focused on effects of weight distribution on trunk kinetics and lower extremity muscle activation. Contact Michelle at walaszek@msu.edu

Francesca Genoese

Francesca Genoese, M.S., ATC

Francesca is a first year Ph.D. student in the Department of Kinesiology, studying under Dr. Shelby Baez. Her concentration is in Cognitive and Motor Neuroscience and her research interests include psychological outcomes after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Francesca received her Master of Science in Post-Professional Athletic Training from the University of Kentucky in 2019 during which time she also served as a Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer. Her master’s research examined injury-related fear and visuomotor reaction time in individuals after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Athletic Training from James Madison University in 2017. Francesca currently serves as a teaching assistant and research assistant in the Department of Kinesiology. Contact Francesca at genoesef@msu.edu

Megan Loftin

Megan Loftin, M.S.

Megan is a first year Ph.D. student in the Department of Kinesiology with a concentration in Psychosocial Aspects of Sport and Physical Activity, studying under Dr. Tracey Covassin. Her research interests include psychosocial outcomes in relation to a comprehensive approach to treatment of concussion. Megan previously worked as a research assistant for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC). She received a Master’s Degree in Kinesiology and Health – Sport Leadership from Miami University in 2017. Her thesis explored the physical and psychological effects of sport-related concussion in former team sport athletes. Megan currently serves as a teaching and research assistant in the Department of Kinesiology. Contact Megan at loftinme@msu.edu

Alyssa Pollard-McGrandy

Alyssa Pollard-McGrandy, M.S., ATC

Alyssa is a first year PhD. Student in the Department of Kinesiology with a concentration in Athletic Training. Alyssa received her Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training and a Master of Science in Health Administration and Leadership from Saginaw Valley State University. During her MS, Alyssa worked as a graduate assistant athletic trainer. After completing her Master’s degree, Alyssa worked as an Assistant Professor of Kinesiology. Currently, Alyssa is a serving as a graduate teaching assistant within the Kinesiology Department. Alyssa is involved in a variety of organizations, including MWACSM, ACSM, MATS, and NATA and was recipient of the President’s Cup award for her presentation at MWACSM 2019 conference. Her research interests include the psychosocial factors (e.g., depression, anxiety) and the physical effects of sport-related concussions. Contact Alyssa at pollar77@msu.edu


Recent Alumni

Caroline Lisee

Caroline Lisee, Ph.D., ATC

Caroline received her Ph.D. from MSU in 2020 and is currently a post-doctoral fellow in the MOTION lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She studies aspects of muscular performance and physical activity after ACL injury to help identify clinical tools to reduce risk of re-injury and developing osteoarthritis. Caroline received a 2017 Doctoral Research Assistant Grant from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Research and Education Foundation to support her ongoing work investigating the impact of involved limb quadriceps dysfunction on single leg movement quality after ACLR. Her master’s research assessed limb symmetry in healthy subjects as a means for guiding objective return to play criteria following ACL reconstruction.

Kyle Petit

Kyle Petit, Ph.D., ATC

Kyle received his Ph.D. from MSU in 2020. His research primarily focused around the influence of premorbid and post-injury risk factors on concussion recovery. Specifically, Kyle’s dissertation looked into the association between post-concussion physical activity participation and concussion recovery outcomes in college-aged adults. Kyle now serves as an Assistant Professor of Athletic Training at the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota.