Amanda Hayek Featured on LabTV

From: Dec 22, 2015 | kbowman

Amanda Hayek, a native of Dayon, Ohio, has worked in Esther Dupont-Versteegden’s lab for two years. She is an American Physiological Society Stride Fellow. “This summer I worked here full time, and during the school year I’m doing an independent study and actually working as well as going to school and it’s been really fun.”

Hayek came to UK as a voice major. "I had done theater all my life, and I was convinced I was going to be on Broadway, but I did a 180 and switched my major freshman year once I got involved with the sciences." 

Her new major is physical therapy, a field she had personal experience with based on therapy for some complex health problems, including hemiplegic migraine. “It mimics stroke-like conditions. I am on medication so that I can feel the right side of my body and so I can talk to you,” Hayek says. “The people I work with are really understanding and they’ve been able to help me deal with these issues and I wouldn’t have been able to do what I do if it wasn’t for the people that I have in my life that are a supporting system. I want to make sure that I can help other people.”

Hayek is studying the mechanical effects of massage on muscle. “We’re just trying to figure out what massage is doing to the muscle. Is it aiding? Or is it depleting or diminishing?” 

One goal of her research is to find out if massage could prevent muscle atrophy in ICU patients who are too weak to do physical therapy. 

“The reason I really like science so much is I can finally get the answers to questions. If there’s not a reason behind something I try and search for it. I’m like, ‘I want to know why! I want to know why!’” 

Hayek is featured on This website features videos with medical researchers who tell where they came from, how they chose their career, what they do each day in the lab, and why they love it. LabTV’s founder, Jay Walker of TEDMED, said he started the site because if high school students can personally identify with a young medical researcher, they are far more likely to consider becoming one. LabTV’s network features researchers working at dozens of leading universities, corporations, and the National Institutes of Health. 

Produced by Alicia P. Gregory, videography/direction by Chad Rumford and Ben Corwin (Research Communications)

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