Ruffner ‘17 To Present at Experimental Biology Conference

April 24, 2017

Kayla RuffnerALLIANCE – Senior exercise science major Kayla Ruffner ‘17 has been selected to present at the annual Experimental Biology conference on Monday, April 24, in Chicago, Illinois, alongside professional scientists, professors and graduate students. 

While Mount Union students have done poster presentations in the past, Ruffner will be the first Mount Union student to do a full oral presentation.

“I am excited yet nervous, but I know I am prepared mentally to be able to present this research with confidence and poise,” Ruffner said.

The Experimental Biology conference is an annual meeting of six societies comprised of more than 14,000 scientists involved in the life sciences. Primary focus areas include anatomy, biochemistry and molecular biology, nutrition, pharmacology and physiology. Attendees represent scientists from academic institutions, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and industry. 

Along with oral and poster presentations, the conference will feature workshops, lectures, on-site career services and various exhibits displaying equipment, supplies and publications necessary for research labs and experimental study.

Ruffner will be presenting on her research comparing how caffeine in coffee affects the stretch reflex differently in men and women. While working on this research alongside Dr. Lonnie Lowery, associate professor of exercise science, and other exercise science students, Ruffner found that both men and women get a boost in their stretch reflex from the caffeine, but the effects are more apparent in men. 

“I was interested in this subject of research because I have gained huge insight and a passion for the central nervous system and how the stretch reflex truly works,” Ruffner explained. “The stretch reflex plays a major role every day in the body because without it we wouldn’t be able to move or perform exercise.”

Ruffner will be traveling to the conference with Lowey and fellow students Brittany DiFiore, Bridget Smith, Rebecca Rector, Cyrena Cooper, Abbie Trivisonno, and Grant Slack. On the day of her presentation, Ruffner will be doing a Mount Union “Snapchat Takeover.” To watch her story, follow @mountunion on Snapchat.

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