Dr. Jacob (Jake) Lindheimer, a third-year Post-Doctoral Fellow in Dr. Dane Cook’s exercise psychology laboratory, has been selected by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Research and Development to receive a 5-year Career Development Award (similar to the NIH K99 award).
Currently, Jake holds a dual appointment with the New Jersey War Related Illness and Injury Study Center (NJ WRIISC) and the Madison VA Medical Center (VAMC). Jake also holds an honorary position with the UW-Madison Department of Kinesiology. A majority of Jake’s fellowship period has been spent working with Dane on a federally funded multi-site collaboration between UW-Madison, the Madison VA Medical Center and the NJ WRIISC. The purpose of the study is to investigate patho-physiological mechanisms of Gulf War Illness, a prevalent and debilitating condition that affects ~25-33% of Persian Gulf War Veterans. Dane and Jake are both alumni of the University of Georgia Department of Kinesiology doctoral program and they connected in 2015 via their former advisor, Dr. Patrick J. O’Connor (an alumnus of the UW-Madison Department of Kinesiology doctoral program).
The VA’s Career Development Program was established to provide mentoring for junior researchers so they can learn from renowned, experienced VA researchers – awardees from this program have become national and international leaders in their research fields. The long-term goal of Jake’s research project, “Acute exercise tolerance among Veterans with Gulf War Illness”, is to develop an evidence-based exercise dose that can be prescribed to Veterans with Gulf War Illness. Under the guidance of his mentoring team (Dane, Dr. Michael Falvo, Dr. Christopher Coe, and Dr. Christina Kendziorski), Jake will also acquire additional skills and experience in (1) clinical trial design and biostatistics, (2) psychoneuroimmunology, (3) neuro-imaging, and (4) clinical exercise physiology. These research and training experiences are tailored toward helping Jake achieve his long-term career goal of becoming an independent translational investigator in the VA Healthcare System.
“The identification of effective treatments that can substantially improve Veterans health and quality of life is a major priority in the Gulf War Veteran research community and I look forward to continuing to partner with the Madison VAMC, UW-Madison, and NJ WRIISC to help address that objective”, says Jake.