Research Focus

The App State NCRC Human Performance Laboratory is a national leader in the area of nutrition and exercise immunology.

The App State NCRC Human Performance Lab (HPL) was established in the spring of 2009 and is directed by David C. Nieman, DrPH, FACSM, also a professor in the Department of Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences at Appalachian State University. Nieman is a pioneer in the research area of exercise and nutrition, immunology and has written more than 370 peer-reviewed publications; nine books on health, exercise science, and nutrition, and he has received $10.5 million in research funding since 1990. Nieman’s Google H index is 101, and his publications have been cited more than 37,000 times.

Nieman received the “100 Scholars Faculty Research Award” from Appalachian in 1997, the Montoye Scholar Award from the Southeastern American College of Sports Medicine in 2006, the Appalachian College of Fine and Applied Arts researcher of the year award in 2006, The American College of Sports Medicine’s Citation Award in 2013 and represented Appalachian four times as the Oliver Max Gardner nominee (Appalachian's highest award).

The North Carolina Research Campus is a mixed-use, biotechnology research facility located in downtown Kannapolis, North Carolina, approximately 20 miles northeast of downtown Charlotte. The NCRC is home to eight universities (Appalachian State University, Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina A&T, North Carolina State University, UNC-Greensboro and UNC-Charlotte), and multiple companies. The mission of the NCRC is to improve human health through research in nutrition. The David H. Murdock Research Institute (DHMRI) is a nonprofit research institute that provides high quality laboratory services to the NCRC. The DHMRI occupies over 110,000 square feet of space and provides a complete environment containing instrumentation, resident expertise and well-equipped laboratories that bring together a variety of disciplines (genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, microscopy and NMR) under one roof.

Appalachian operates two laboratories at the NCRC, and collaborates with researchers across the campus. The mission of the App State NCRC HPL is to investigate unique nutritional products as countermeasures to exercise- and obesity-induced immune dysfunction, inflammation, illness and oxidative stress. Research funding is provided through multiple industry partners, including Gatorade/PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, General Mills, Gatorade, Blueberry Council, Penta Water, Quercegen Pharma, Cooper Concepts, McCormick Spice, Dole Foods, Reoxcyn Discoveries Group, Biothera, Direct Digital, Gaia Herbs and Metagenics.

A wide variety of athletes and athletic groups have been tested by the Appalachian research group including Swim MAC, Hendrick Motor Sports pit crew members, Charlotte Hornets, high school athletes from the A.L. Brown Kannapolis and Cox Mill High Schools, and cyclists, runners and triathletes from most of the clubs in the Charlotte metropolitan area. Nieman has made numerous research discoveries, with widespread media coverage including the BBC, NPR, USA Today, NY Times, LA Times, Voice of America, ABC evening news, CBS evening news, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Encyclopedia Britannica, Runner’s World, Vogue magazine, Outside magazine, Orlando Sentinel and many other newspapers, magazines and websites.