Student Spotlight October 2022

    Kyle Fulghum is a 5th year PhD student studying Physiology, and is set to graduate this Fall 2022.




    Q: What is your educational background?
    A: I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biological chemistry from Evangel University in Springfield, MO. Then, I completed a master’s degree in cell and molecular biology at Missouri State University, where my thesis work investigated the effects of aerobic capacity on systemic insulin sensitivity and skeletal muscle insulin signaling.


    Q: What brought you to the University of Louisville?

    A: I initially moved from Missouri to work as a research technician at the University of Louisville. For a little over two years, I worked in the Diabetes and Obesity Center investigating the effects of airborne toxins on cardiovascular function. Because the department was renowned in the field of cardiology, I joined the PhD program in physiology and developed a project that combined my passion for exercise science with cardiovascular medicine.


    Q: What is your specific area of research and why does it interest you?

    A: I currently study how exercise-induced changes in cardiac metabolism promote physiological growth of the heart. I have always been involved in sports, and as I began competing less, my interests moved from improving sports performance to fully understanding why exercise promotes health and how it can be optimized to reduce disease risk.


    Q: How do you think this advanced degree will change your role in society?

    A: My training so far has challenged me to think creatively, logically, and strategically to answer important questions related to health. Having a PhD allows me to use these skills in effective and meaningful ways to promote healthier lifestyles and identify strategies that could have widespread impact.


    Q: What are your long term goals or aspirations?

    A: One long-term goal I have is to open a gym that would utilize innovative technologies to inform technique and personalize training programs for athletes.


    Q: What accomplishment, academic or otherwise, are you most proud of?

    A: Receiving an NIH F31 fellowship award, meaning that I had funding for my dissertation work.


    Q: What has been your favorite part of the graduate school experience at UofL?

    A: Meeting talented individuals from all over the world and getting the opportunities to train with them.


    Q: What do you feel is the greatest challenge that graduate students face and how have you dealt with this challenge?

    A: I think many students tend to feel overwhelmed with the pressure of graduate school at some point during their studies. There is some pressure to constantly think creatively, produce meaningful data, and publish findings while trying to maintain relationships and hobbies outside of a graduate program. While I think the pressure does challenge students to grow and maximize their potential, I have found it helpful to be honest with my capabilities and to be intentional in how I decide to use my time.


    Awards, honors, publications:

    • NIH F31 Predoctoral Fellowship
    • 2022 SHVM Early Investigator Award
    • Graduate Student Travel Award
    • 9 peer-reviewed articles
    • 1 co-authored textbook chapter


    Fun Facts:


    A talent you have always wanted: To be a music prodigy. I love music.


    Favorite book: I enjoy reading any kind of philosophy, self-help, or psychology.


    Favorite quote: “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” - Steve Prefontaine


    Role model: I look up to my parents a lot.


    Favorite vacation destination: San Diego is one of my favorite places.


    If you weren’t in graduate school, what would you be doing now?
    I would probably be working in a gym helping coach athletes in weightlifting.