The study of biology for the benefit of public health
The Covid-19 Hosts Project (led by Erich D. Jarvis, The Rockefeller University) will use genomes to understand the zoonotic origin and life cycle of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. Specifically, this project will create high-quality genome assemblies of different animal species to identify structural differences in the ACE2 receptor, which is used by coronaviruses to infect host cells. The differences in genetic diversity will be compared to explain why some species are resistant to the disease while others are susceptible. By understanding the host pathways used by this coronavirus and the associated immune response genes, the goal is to identify humans who may have natural resistance and to engineer drugs for resistance to various coronaviruses.
Among youth, Sadye has studied active video gaming, specifically Dance Dance Revolution, in a project called, ‘DANCER’. This study found that active video gaming decreased sedentary time among children (Obesity 2008) and that coaching led to better adherence to exercise prescriptions (Games for Health 2012)
Among Latina adolescents, her work, ‘Healthy Daughters, Healthy Futures’, studied positive youth development and the impact of cultural factors to promote healthy physical, intellectual, psychosocial, and emotional development in the transition from adolescence to adulthood (Hispanic Health Care International 2015).
Among adults, Sadye opened the first physical therapy clinic at the Duke Diet & Fitness Center. At this center, she led a study that aimed to assess whether a 1-month, intensive behavioural change, diet and fitness intervention for overweight and obese adults would result in statistically significant and clinically meaningful changes in functional exercise. Significant improvements included decreased BMI and increased 6MWT distance, with greater improvements in the 6MWT significantly correlated with greater weight loss and BMI reduction. Targeting functional exercise capacity is one key strategy for addressing immobility associated with obesity (Physiotherapy Research International 2015).
These research initiatives have also been presented at various conferences including the American Public Health Association, American Physical Therapy Association, European Congress on Obesity, and Annual Meeting of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.