Sara Harper

Kinesiology and Health Science

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Sara Harper

Contact Information

Office Hours: Tues & Thur 2:00 - 4:00 pm & by appointment
Office Location: SCCE 494
Phone: 435-797-1376
Additional Information:


  • Exercise Physiology
  • Physical Function
  • Fall Risk/Prevention
  • Aging, Older Adults
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Intervention Design
  • Clinical Trial Implementation


I serve as a Sorenson Legacy Foundation Center for Clinical Excellence Mentor Facilitator in my role as a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the KHS Department.

I received my B.S. (2012) in Physical Education with an Exercise Science Concentration from Kent State University, including a semester at the University of Northern Colorado as part of National Student Exchange Program in 2010.

My for M.S. (2014) in Exercise Physiology, I evaluated cycling performance, with my thesis entitled, “The influence of lateral foot displacement on cycling efficiency and maximal cycling power.” After investigating sports performance outcomes, I transitioned to study muscular strength and aerobic capacity in individuals who had anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery, compared to healthy individuals.

Interested in neurogenerative conditions, I conducted an intervention trial for individuals with Parkinson’s disease investigating both motor and non-motor (cognition and depression) symptoms as my dissertation, and graduated in 2016 from Kent State University, in Kent, OH.

While preparing for my defense, I was employed as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Tiffin University from 2016-2017, and then worked as a Research Assistant at Case Western Reserve University in 2017 as an exercise physiologist in a clinical trial assessing neurological reward and drive.

From 2018 –November 2019, my first Postdoctoral Scholar position was at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL in the Department of Medicine, Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics, and Palliative Care. Primarily housed in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Center for Exercise Medicine, I transitioned to the T32HD071866 Interdisciplinary Training in Pathobiology and Rehabilitation Medicine Program in March 2018 with an emphasis on clinical trials, physical function, skeletal muscle function and aging research.

I joined Utah State University as a Postdoctoral Fellow II in November 2019, and have the pleasure to work with Drs. Bressel, Bolton, Dakin, and Thompson with a focus on fall risk, fall prevention strategies, and interventions to improve strength and function in older adults to building upon my physical function research emphasis. Currently I am funded by the American Heart Association, Postdoctoral Fellowship Award, entitled, “Exercise combined with resveratrol to enhance mitochondrial function among older adult with functional limitations.”

I am a member of the American College of Sports Medicine