Lori Ploutz-Snyder named dean of U-M School of Kinesiology

February 18, 2016
  • umichnews@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR—Lori Ploutz-Snyder, a senior scientist with the Universities Space Research Association at the NASA Johnson Space Center, will serve as the next dean of the University of Michigan School of Kinesiology.

Her five-year appointment, approved Thursday by the Board of Regents, is effective July 1.

Ploutz-Snyder also was appointed professor of movement science, with tenure. She replaces Dean Ronald Zernicke who will step down June 30 after more than six years of service.

“Professor Ploutz-Snyder brings an impressive background leading research programs in both university and government arenas,” said Martha Pollack, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

“Her experience in international collaboration and in negotiation and strategic planning position her to guide the School of Kinesiology in the development and support areas of research excellence.”

Ploutz-Snyder currently serves as a lead scientist on the exercise physiology and countermeasures project at the NASA Johnson Space Center and University Space Research Association.

“I am honored to be selected and am very excited to join the University of Michigan community,” Ploutz-Snyder said. “The School of Kinesiology is already extremely successful and I am particularly excited to work with the faculty, staff and students to further develop the school’s collaborations.

“Kinesiology’s diversity of academic programs and faculty expertise is a strength of the school and ideally positions us to pursue unique collaborations including many of the university’s big initiatives.”

In 1996, she joined the faculty of Syracuse University as an assistant professor in the Department of Exercise Science in the School of Education. She rose through the ranks to become a professor in 2008, while serving as the chair of the Department of Exercise Science from 2004-2008.

She also was a research professor in physical medicine and rehabilitation in the Medical School at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse.

Ploutz-Snyder has extensive experience as both an undergraduate and graduate teacher and was engaged in critical course and curricular development activities at Syracuse University.

In 2008, she joined the NASA Johnson Space Center and Universities Space Research Association in Houston to lead the research program for exercise physiology and countermeasures.

While in Texas, she was appointed as an adjunct professor in the Department of Human Performance at the University of Houston in 2009 and as an adjunct professor in the Division of Endocrinology in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston in 2010.

In 2013, she was appointed as a musculoskeletal alterations team leader at the National Space Biomedical Research Institute at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Ploutz-Snyder’s research focuses on the effects of unloading or disuse (spaceflight, aging, casting, detraining, bed rest) on skeletal muscle, and in the past decade has expanded to include whole body integrative exercise physiology.

Under her leadership, the NASA Johnson Space Center research program for exercise physiology and countermeasures has dramatically increased its research budget and productivity. This group conducts research, supports the in-flight operational needs of the International Space Station and conducts medical fitness tests on astronauts. She has successfully competed for approximately $9 million in support from NASA and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute.

Ploutz-Snyder also is responsible for the development of NASA’s strategic plan in exercise physiology, which must address muscle and aerobic deconditioning due to long duration microgravity exposure during deep space exploration.

In her work with International Space Station research teams, she has been involved at various leadership levels in multinational collaborations involving complicated negotiation, cooperation and integration not required in typical studies.

She earned her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in zoology, and a doctorate in biological science, all from Ohio University.