Principle Investigator

Jenna Yentes, Ph.D.

Associate Professor | Kinesiology & Sport Management

Acting Director | Sydney and JL Huffines Institute of Sports Medicine and Human Performance

As a first-generation college student, my path to a Ph.D. was long and nonlinear (pun intended). I completed my Bachelor’s at the University of Northern Colorado, Master’s at California State University, Fullerton, and my Doctorate at the University of Nebraska. I majored in Kinesiology because I love learning about the human body and how it functions. To get through school, I have had just about every job imaginable from working in a lumberyard, to washing cars, to tutoring math and science. I want my trainees to end up in the career they choose and not because they were limited on options. I do my best to network, connect, and advocate for my students. Outside of work, you can find me renovating my house or playing with my corgis.

Research Interest: Functional resiliency in older adults, nonlinear analysis of human movement data, coupling of biorhythms

Favorite Planet: Jupiter

Ideal Superpower: Invisibility

Favorite Candy/Sweet: Is there one I don’t like?

Would go viral for: I think my dogs will go viral before I do!


Jack Manning


Motor Neuroscience

I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, IL, and completed my undergraduate and Master’s degrees at Northern Illinois University in Kinesiology and Exercise Physiology, respectively. Growing up I played a lot of sports, and in college I realized I had a passion for exercise and learning how it affects the body. After completing my degrees, I worked as a physical therapist technician for a little over a year before deciding to pursue a Ph.D. in Kinesiology, as I have always wanted to contribute to the scientific literature. When I am not working or studying, I enjoy taking my dog, Roki, to the dog park, enjoying the company of friends, and binging the latest Netflix show with my partner.

Research Interest: I am interested in what the intersection between physiology and biomechanics can tell us about how emergence occurs in complex, adaptive systems. My current work focuses on methodological considerations for the dual-task modality, and how it can be used to better identify early markers of neurodegenerative movement disorders.

Favorite Planet: Neptune

Ideal Superpower: Teleportation

Favorite Candy/Sweet: Rolo’s

Would go viral for: Bringing in all of the groceries in one trip, no matter how many there are.

Kuan Chen


Motor Neuroscience

I am on a journey to explore the boundless domains of human movement and performance. I am an international student from Taiwan, but I have been in Texas since my undergraduate study. I obtained BS in exercise physiology from Baylor University and MS in kinesiology from Texas Christian University. Before starting my master program, I was a strength and conditioning coach for youth and adults. While I was a coach, I was constantly amazed by the complexity and adaptability of human body and movement. As time went on, I had more and more questions than answers, which motivated me to pursue more and more knowledge. In my free time, I enjoy reading, running, cycling, and lifting weights.

Research Interest: I am interested in the dynamic of human movements, and apply these knowledges in performance enhancement, physiological states detection, and decision making.

Favorite Planet: Fitness 🙂

Ideal Superpower: Absolute wisdom

Favorite Candy/Sweet: Vanilla ice cream on a warm chocolate chip cookie in a skillet pan

Would go viral for: Making funny faces when I get scared

Drew Smith


Exercise Physiology / Athletics

I grew up in South Jersey and went on to complete my undergraduate and Master’s degrees from University of Pittsburgh. While I was at Pitt, I joined the club soccer team where we traveled all around playing other schools, and my last two years I became the goalie coach as well. In my free time I enjoy playing video games with friends, shooting hoops at a local park, and taking care of my two frogs.

Research interests: wearable technology for athlete monitoring and focusing on under-researched areas of women’s basketball

Favorite Planet: Saturn

Ideal Superpower: Teleportation

Favorite Candy/Sweet: Razzles

Would go viral for: Hitting a crazy trick shot in a sport

Mattie Higgins


Motor Neuroscience

I grew up in a military home, so we moved around a lot but I call a little town named Pace, FL home. When I’m not studying or working, you can normally find me with my nose in a book, baking and cooking way too much food, hiking, at the gym, laughing at my own cheesy jokes, or finding some DIY project to keep me busy. I first fell in love with the field of kinesiology when I was a junior in high school. I was in a Sport Medicine class and my dad took me to the gym a lot in our free time and I absolutely loved learning how and why my body was moving the way it was as well as how to prevent and treat any sports related injuries.

Research Interest: I am interested in researching the impact movement has on school-aged children’s ability to learn and memorize things. I would love to reform how the modern-day classroom is set up and begin introducing movement and exercise into their day in order to improve their ability to learn.

Favorite Planet: Neptune

Ideal Superpower: Talking to animals

Favorite Candy/Sweet: Peanut Butter Snickers, Twix, and Sour Patch Watermelon

Would go viral for: All the things I bake

Mike Young


Howdy, my name is Michael Young, and I am from The Woodlands, TX. I came to College Station to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology at Texas A&M. In my free time I play the guitar and practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu! I have an interest in leveraging the fundamental principles of kinesiology to explore additional diagnostic tools within a clinical environment, aiming to enhance the assessment of an individual’s well-being.

Favorite Planet: Mercury

Ideal Superpower: Super Speed

Favorite Candy/Sweet: Brownies

Would go viral for: Drifting in a golf cart

Willing DeMott


I am going into my senior year as a Sport Management Major at Texas A&M. I am from Fort Worth Texas, and currently work at the Huffines Institute. I love to play pickup soccer and basketball and spend time outdoors. My interest is in healing young athletes’ minds and bodies, as well as learning about the secrets of athleticism, performance enhancement, and the power of the mind on and off the field. The resiliency study is allowing me to learn about new forms of ways to research and expand my mind on the possibilities of healing and injury prevention. 

Favorite Planet: Earth. The miraculous planet that is perfect enough for human life. 

Ideal Superpower: Telepathy

Favorite Candy/Sweet: Cherry Pie

Would go viral for: I would go viral on youtube for being a coach, teaching a large scale of people about health, wellness, and business


Miriam Zanetti, PhD

Federal University of São Paulo

Latetita Fradet, PhD

University of Poitiers

Peter Raffalt, PhD

University of Southern Denmark

Jessica Bernard, PhD

Texas A&M University

Theodora Chaspari, PhD

Texas A&M University

Adam Case, PhD

Texas A&M University

Julie Boron, PhD

University of Nebraska at Omaha

Kate Cooper, PhD

University of Nebraska at Omaha

Eric Markvicka, PhD

University of Nebraska at Lincoln

Stephen Rennard, MD

University of Nebraska Medical Center

Dawn Venema, DPT, MS

University of Nebraska Medical Center

Former Trainees of Dr. Yentes

Lizetd Olalde

(BS: 2023)

Ernesto Proenza

(BS: 2023)

Sarah Green

(BS: 2022)

Gina Petersen

(BS: in progress)

Farahnaz Fallahtafti, PhD

(PhD: 2021)

Alissa Miller

(BS: 2021)

Kyle Doerr, BSN

(pre-BSN: 2019)

Jackie Boeck, MS, ATC

(MS: 2019)

Emma Thorne, MS

(BS: 2018)

RJ Barber, MS, ATC

(MS: 2018)

Sidney Baudendistel, PhD

(MS: 2017)

Casey Caniglia

(BS: 2017)

Jordan Freeman

(BS: 2017)

John McCamley, PhD

(post-doc: 2015-17)

Taylor Leeder, MS

(MS: 2017)

Wai-Yan Liu, PhD

(Fall 2016)

Will Denton, MS

(MS: 2016)

Kristen Watson, MS, ATC

(MS: 2016)

Casey Wiens, PhD

(MS: 2016)

Eric Pisciotta, MS

(MS: 2015)

Zane Starks, MS

(MS: 2015)