The HHPI team is an interdisciplinary group of scientists and health practitioners, passionately committed to improving the health of the Bay Area Houston community and advancing human performance.
The Health and Human Performance Team
William E. Amonette, Ph.D.
William (Bill) Amonette, Ph.D., is the executive director of the Health and Human Performance Institute (HHPI). In this role he serves as the chief science officer for the institute, leading the vision and the strategic direction for research, programming, and educational outreach. Amonette is also a tenured associate professor and director of the Exercise and Health Sciences graduate program. His research combines physiology and metabolism, biomechanics, and motor control to study the effect of novel exercise and nutritional interventions on health and rehabilitative outcomes in people with chronic disease and long-term injuries.
Prior to his work at UH-Clear Lake, he served at Wyle Life Sciences (NASA-JSC) as an exercise physiologist as well as an astronaut strength conditioning specialist and rehabilitation specialist. He was also a strength and conditioning coach for the Houston Rockets and Chinese National Basketball Team at the Olympic Training Center in Beijing, China. Amonette earned a Ph.D. at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in rehabilitation sciences, with a research emphasis in clinical exercise physiology and endocrinology. Amonette is a senior editor for the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, an ad hoc peer reviewer for many biomedical science journals, and the co-director of the Low Carb Houston Conference.
Joseph B. Hazzard, Ed.D., ATC
Dr. Joseph B. Hazzard, Jr is the Clinical Director of the Health & Human Performance Institute. In this role he serves as a senior leader on the Board of Directors for HHPI, oversees all clinical operations, supervises graduate and undergraduate students, and works to integrate and develop research and clinical programs for the Institute. Dr. Hazzard brings more than 30 years of experience to HHPI as a clinician, teacher, and scholar in sports medicine and rehabilitation. His career includes 31 years as a faculty member and Head Athletic Trainer at the collegiate level; he also served as a site PI for the NCAA/DoD Grand Alliance Concussion Assessment, Rehabilitation, and Education (CARE) Consortium which was the largest longitudinal study of sport-related concussion at NCAA Institutions and the Military Service Academies ever funded. Dr. Hazzard also previously served as the Program Director of a graduate clinical athletic training education program and a graduate certificate program in concussion/TBI studies. He founded the Institute for Concussion Research & Services providing assessment and recovery services following head trauma.
Dr. Hazzard is a nationally certified athletic trainer and a National Board Certified Counselor who holds an M.S. in Counseling and a Doctorate in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Sport & Exercise Psychology. He is a member of National Athletic Trainer's Association, American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, and Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers' Society. Dr. Hazzard currently serves as the Co-Chair of the ACRM's Athlete Rehabilitation Networking Group. His research interests include concussion/TBI rehabilitation, exercise as medicine, neurorehabilitation, and sports medicine.
Nadir Ali, M.D.
Dr. Nadir Ali is a senior scientist and member of the core leadership team in the HHPI. He also holds an academic appointment as a research professor in the Department of Clinical, Health and Applied Sciences. Dr. Ali's primary research interests include the effect of low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets on cardiovascular and metabolic health. An interventional cardiologist with over 25 years of experience, he also serves as the chairman of the Department of Cardiology for a major hospital system in Bay Area Houston, and as a director for the Low Carb Houston Conference.
Before working as a cardiologist, he served as an assistant professor of medicine for eight years at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, where he also received his medical training. He has championed the low-carb lifestyle in the local Clear Lake area since 2013. Dr. Ali organizes a monthly nutritional seminar in the Searcy Auditorium of the Clear Lake Hospital that receives more than 100 visitors every month from the local community. He is a leader in the nutrition community whose research and passion have inspired many to profound health changes.
Anne Anders, Ph.D.
Anne Anders, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of economics in the College of Business and a research scientist in the HHPI. In this role, Anders works to establish the research infrastructure across all projects to tie personal health benefits to health care expenditure savings. Moreover, longitudinally, she is interested in quantifying the effect of preventive versus reactive care on personal health, wellness, quality of life, and productivity with the intention of affecting health care policy.
A former professional and collegiate soccer player, Anders' research also investigates how youth sport participation affects later life outcomes. She holds a B.S. in sports management and marketing from Seton Hall University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from Clemson University. Although her degrees are in business, you will often find her in the laboratory collecting physiologic and biomechanical data or on the floor assisting with strength training and conditioning.
Danny Arnold is a consultant in the HHPI where he collaborates and lends his expertise in the development and implementation of sport science and testing protocols. For over 18 years he has been recognized as an industry leader in human performance offering the highest level of integrated and innovative sports training and sports medicine for anyone regardless of age, sport or skill level. With a proven track record, he is the Founder and Director at Plex and has designed programs that have helped thousands of individuals, from Super Bowl Champions, Olympic Gold Medalists, to developmental athletes learning to play their first sport improve their performance and overall wellbeing.
Arnold's pursuit of excellence and innovative approach to training has received much acclaim from local and national media. He doesn't settle for tradition - he challenges it. Arnold believes that you don't just do things because we've always done it that way. One of his biggest contributions to athletic development is the belief that you do not always need to lift heavy weights to improve strength and power at your position. To Arnold, range of motion, reaction, balance, and exercise velocity play a larger role in functional power development. John McClain, Associated Press and Head of Sports Division at the Houston Chronicle said of Arnold, "I've never seen someone improve athletes in their craft, as much as I’ve seen Danny Arnold do. He's the best in the business."
Jason Bentley, Ph.D.
Jason Bentley is a biomedical engineer in the HHPI with an academic appointment as a senior lecturer. An avid cyclist with multiple state championship time trials awards, he worked previously as an engineer and scientist in the Exercise Physiology Laboratory for Wyle Life Sciences (NASA-JSC). In this role, he investigated exercise countermeasures to mitigate spaceflight induced muscle and bone loss.
Bentley received an M.S. in physiology from the Medical College of Wisconsin and a B.S. in biomedical engineering at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. He earned his Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Sciences from the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas in 2021. His doctoral dissertation explored physical activity motivation among breast cancer survivors; his goal is to identify targets for physical activity interventions aiming to improve long-term physical activity behavior.
Kate Caughlin, B.S.
Kate Caughlin is an Exercise Physiologist in the HHPI and is currently working towards a graduate degree in Exercise & Health Science with a concentration in Clinical Exercise Physiology. Kate holds a B.S. in Aerospace Studies, has experience as a certified personal trainer, and served as a Captain in the United States Army. Kate is passionate about exercise & loves helping others embrace the active lifestyle. She is a nationally qualified bikini bodybuilding competitor and competed in over 60 triathlons, running, and cycling races including Ironman Arizona and the London marathon. In addition to her notable athletic career, she is a Bronze Star Medal recipient in 2009 for her leadership. After completing the graduate program, she is interested in continuing to work with individuals with chronic conditions to improve their overall health and wellbeing.
John Cottingham, M.D.
Dr. John Cottingham, a senior scientist and member of the core leadership team in the HHPI, holds an academic appointment as a research professor in the Department of Clinical, Health and Applied Sciences at UHCL. A primary care physician who is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine, Dr. Cottingham is an active member of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and the American Academy of Family Medicine. His research interest involves the interaction between high intensity exercise, nutrition, and metabolic and musculoskeletal health.
A graduate of Clear Creek High School, Dr. Cottingham earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch and completed his residency in family practice at the Baylor College of Medicine. Outside of his clinical responsibilities, he enjoys strength training, conditioning, surfing and sprinting. Dr. Cottingham's passion for preventive care and wellness leads him to approach medicine in a more natural way. He says, "After all, humans are a species of athletes. When we eat and exercise as we are designed to do, we live happier and healthier lives."
John DeWitt, Ph.D.
John DeWitt, Ph.D., is the senior biomechanist in the HHPI, where he leads projects, mentors students, and uses unique modeling applications to solve complex problems related to human movement. He also serves as an adjunct instructor in the Department of Clinical Health and Applied Sciences at UH-Clear Lake, teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in biomechanics. A senior biomechanist for KBRWyle at NASA Johnson Space Center, DeWitt works in the Human Health and Performance Directorate specializing in the planning for health and technology needs to support human exploration space flight, with a specialization in exercise.
He has conducted numerous biomechanical research studies at NASA, including original research on the International Space Station. DeWitt previously worked as a coach and sports scientist for collegiate, youth and professional soccer teams including the Houston Dynamo Academy, Houston Dash, Trinidad & Tobago Senior Women's National Team, and Afghanistan Senior Women's National Team. He has ongoing collaborations with collegiate and professional sports teams in the area of sports science, data analytics, and performance assessment & improvement. DeWitt earned a Ph.D. at the University of Texas Medical Branch, a M.S. at Arizona State University in biomechanics, and a B.S. in electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Toledo.
Nick Kelling, Ph.D.
Nicholas Kelling is a research psychologist and human factors engineer in the HHPI and an assistant professor in the Applied Cognitive Psychology Program at the UH-Clear Lake. Kelling's focus is the teaching and application of human factors and applied cognitive psychology. Specifically, his research interests include identifying individual differences in object motion perception especially in motion prediction and investigating the use of technology in environments where education and entertainment goals coexist. Kelling is currently working with institute scientist to develop virtual reality applications to enhance the exercise experience and improve health outcomes. In his research, he has collaborated with college athletics, computing companies, amusement parks, and zoos. Kelling previously served on the faculty at Marshall University, University of South Florida – Polytechnic, and the University of South Florida.
Angelica Moore, B.S.
Angelica Moore is an Exercise Physiologist in the HHPI. She graduated with her B.S. in Fitness and Human Performance from the University of Houston-Clear Lake in December of 2020. She is continuing her education through UHCL and is currently working towards her M.S. degree in Exercise and Health Sciences with a concentration in Clinical Exercise Physiology. Angelica began working with the institute during her undergraduate internship where she demonstrated her skills and knowledge; after completion she was offered a full-time position. She is known by the faculty and her fellow workers for being a dedicated and hard worker. As a former recreational gymnastics coach of seven years, Angelica is experienced in working with a wide range of ages, abilities, and disabilities. In her future career she hopes to increase quality of life for children and young adults. She plans on using the practical experience and knowledge received from HHPI and applying it in a clinical pediatric setting. Outside of work she enjoys strength training, studying, and is a lover of all things coffee.
Phonephathep Philavong, B.S.
Phonephathep Philavong (Thep) is an exercise physiologist in HHPI. She graduated from Texas A&M Kingsville with a B.S. in business administration and management. Thep is currently pursuing her M.S. in Exercise and Health Sciences with a concentration in Public Health. She brings a unique perspective to the HHPI as a former elite athlete. A tennis player for almost 19-years, Thep competed nationally in her home country of Laos. In January of 2016, she received a full scholarship to play tennis for Grambling State University (GSU) where she maintained the number one position in both singles and doubles at GSU; she was honored with the most valuable player (MVP) award in 2016-2017. She transferred to Texas A&M University Kingsville in 2018 and maintained position 2 in both singles and doubles during her last 2 seasons of college tennis. Her goals after graduation are to work with a humanitarian organization or healthcare facility to help as many people as she can along the journey.
Sneh Shah, B.P.T
Sneh Shah is an Exercise Physiologist in the HHPI. He earned his B.S. in Physiotherapy from Ashok and Rita Patel Institute of Physiotherapy in India. He is a currently pursuing his Masters in Exercise Science with a concentration in Sports Science, and will graduate in Fall 2022. Sneh brings a solid background of clinical experience to the team. He worked previously in Vadodara, India as an assistant therapist where he treated patients with neurological and musculoskeletal conditions such as Parkinson's, stroke, and osteoarthritis. He is passionate about helping others build strength, manage weight, and providing therapy for multiple disease and disorders. After graduation, Sneh will sit for his physical therapy licensing exam in the United States, continuing his career as a PT and helping others improve their lives with exercise.
Annabelle Truelove, B.S.
Annabelle Truelove is an Exercise Physiologist in the HHPI. She graduated from Texas A&M University in 2017 with her B.S. in Kinesiology and minor in Psychology. She is currently working towards a master’s degree in Exercise Science with a Sport Science concentration. In addition to her work in the institute, Annabelle also serves as a co-investigator in other scientific studies in the department. She is passionate about teaching the importance of movement, injury prevention, and recovering from previous injuries. Annabelle enjoys spending time with her family, her two dogs, being outdoors, and sewing. Her personal goals are to continue to learn and grow in her educational pursuits, help others with her learned experience, and positively impact the lives of others.
Olympia Watts, B.S.
Olympia Watts is an Exercise Physiologist in the HHPI. She will graduate in the Fall of 2020 with a B.S. in Exercise Science from the University of Houston-Clear Lake where she will continue to work in the institute and earn her master's degree. As a student, she was identified by several faculty members for her comprehension of sophisticated physiology and ability to ask and answer in depth questions. Upon joining the institute staff, she made an immediate impact with her leadership and positive attitude. She developed and launched weekly virtual exercise classes, creating an innovative solution to ensure members of the HHPI were continuing towards their health goals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her personal goals are to continue learning how to help individuals, through evidence-based practices, to live a better and healthier life. She is passionate about learning, exercise, jiu jitsu, and food.
HHPI Contracted Employees
- Kyle Hjorth, Chemist, Human Health and Performance Contract, NASA - Johnson Space Center
- JeNale Scarlett, Gateway Human Factors Engineer, Human Health and Performance Contract, NASA - Johnson Space Center
- Binal Bholariya, MS, PT
- Brianne Black, MS
- Tomas Chapman-Lopez, MS
- Meg Choate, BS
- Luis Gonzalez, MS
- Brandon (Ryan) McGee, MS
- Nikhat Jharia, MS
- Randall Sharp, MS