Huffines Institute Staff

Institute Director: Dr. J. Timothy Lightfoot
PhD FACSM RCEP CES, Omar Smith Endowed Chair in Kinesiology, Dept. of Health & Kinesiology, Texas A&M University.

Dr. J. Timothy Lightfoot is currently the Omar Smith Endowed Professor of Kinesiology and the Director of the Sydney and JL Huffines Institute for Sports Medicine and Human Performance at Texas A&M University. Dr. Lightfoot received his Bachelors and Masters degrees from University of Louisiana Monroe and his doctorate from the University of Tennessee. He completed a research consultantship with the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at Kennedy Space Center in the Biomedical Laboratory and then a three-year National Institute of Health postdoctoral research fellowship in the Division of Physiology at Johns Hopkins University. Read More

Director of the Texas A&M Coaching Academy: Dr. John Thornton
PhD, Executive Professor, Health and Kinesiology Department

As the inaugural Director of the Texas A&M Coaching Academy, Dr. Thornton brings a wealth of experience as an athlete, coach, and athletic administrator to the position. After playing high school and junior college basketball in San Antonio, Thornton came to Aggieland to play for Coach Shelby Metcalf. Thornton was the 1973-1974 Southwest Conference Newcomer of the Year after being the second-leading scorer and rebounder on the Aggie squad. In 1974-75, Thornton was the team captain and helped lead the Aggies to the 1975 SWC Championship title. Read More

Administrative Assistant: Mr. Blake Crawford
Blake is currently a senior Kinesiology major with business and psychology minors from Mansfield, TX. Blake became involved with the Huffines Institute in 2017 and now works as the Administrative Assistant and Executive Producer over all the Institute's media content. 

Institute Producer: Mr. Troy Briscoe
Troy is a junior Kinesiology major from Coppell, TX. His work as a personal trainer has inspired him to get involved with the Huffines Institute, where he has been since the fall of 2018. Troy is the Executive Producer of the Institute's podcasts and also our text articles.

Institute Volunteer: Mr. Blake Deice 
Blake is a junior Kinesiology major from Forney, TX. Blake has served as a volunteer of the Institute since fall of 2019 and is now the content producer of the Huffines Human Performance Minutes for TexAgs Radio.

Institute Volunteer: Ms. Lauryn Hawkins
Lauryn is a sophomore Kinesiology major from San Antonio, TX. Lauryn has served as a volunteer of the Institute since fall of 2019 and is now the content producer of the Huffines Human Performance Minutes for TexAgs Radio.

Institute Program Aid: Ms. Tatiana Castro Padovani
Tatiana graduated with her B.S. in genetics in the fall of 2019 and is now working as the Program Aid over Institute operations. She will be pursuing her PhD in microbiology starting in the fall of 2020. 

Communications Specialist: Mr. Dell Billings
Mr. Billings, '95 (Agricultural Journalism), is the Communication Specialist for the Dept. of Health and Kinesiology at Texas A&M, but his services are displayed throughout the Huffines Institute's website. Mr. Billings has a long history in local media, having worked at KBTX for 10 years and KWTX for two years before joining Texas A&M's HLKN Department.

  Mr. Jorge Granados, MS 

Jorge is currently a fifth-year doctoral candidate in Exercise Physiology. He received his Bachelors degree in Sports & Exercise Science and Masters degree in Exercise Physiology from West Texas A&M University in Canyon, TX. His research focuses on amino acid metabolism and how it relates to the regulation of physical activity. Upon completion of his doctoral degree Jorge will be transitioning to UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX to start a post-doctoral fellowship. His research will focus on the molecules and mechanisms that cause cachexia-associated adipose wasting associated with cancer.

  Ms. Brianne Breidenbach, MS 

Bri is a second-year doctoral student in Exercise Physiology with interest in neuroenergetics and physical activity regulation. She completed his Bachelor's in Exercise Science from Saint Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa and her masters in Kinesiology and Sport Studies with a clinical emphasis from Eastern Illinois University. After teaching biomechanics for two years at Eastern Illinois, Bri now teaches for PEAP and hopes to combine her passions for research to pursue a post-doctoral experience upon completion of her PhD.

  Mr. Nathan Keller, BS 

Nathan is a third year doctoral student working in partnership with the Bioastronautics and Human Performance research group at the Department of Aerospace Engineering. After finishing his Bachelor’s degree at Texas Christian University, Nathan went straight into the workforce. For years he ran gyms, started businesses, and eventually found his passion for teaching.  As a high school science teacher, Mr. Keller taught Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy, and Physics for five years and considers his time in that role to be his highest honor thus far. Parlaying his life’s experience and education into his love for all things space, his doctoral work focuses on the role of artificial gravity as a countermeasure to muscle atrophy during human spaceflight.

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