After almost 30 years of service, we bid a fond farewell to Stephen Dodd, Ph.D., who has made an immense impact on the College of Health and Human Performance through his remarkable career and countless contributions.
By Erika E. Nelson | July 30, 2020
Dr. Dodd’s extensive research in the field of exercise physiology was primarily centered on trying to determine the mechanisms that control skeletal muscle mass in conditions that cause muscle wasting. His lab made major contributions in determining these mechanisms and how they might be manipulated to prevent atrophy. Most recently, the lab has shown that there are proteins in muscle that, when increased, can act to protect from the “stress” that causes wasting. The lab used research models like unweighting (which mimics the reduced use in conditions like hospitalization or the microgravity of space flight) and immobilization (mimics the reduced use of conditions like limb casting). Importantly, the lab has shown that, when these stress proteins are increased by heat stress, via drug inducement or through genetic manipulation, they can protect the muscle from deteriorating.
Dodd began his career at LSU where he worked alongside Scott Powers, Ph.D. In 1991, Dodd saw an opportunity to again work with Powers here at UF in the Department of Applied Kinesiology and Physiology (APK).
“My friendship with Steve Dodd dates back to 1981 when we were colleagues at Louisiana State University (LSU). During our time together at LSU, we formed a research collaboration that has continued over the past four decades resulting in a total of 49 co-authored research publications,” said Powers.
Powers went on to share that Dodd was always a popular teacher, excellent mentor and administrative leader.
“I actually started out as a business major, but because I had played sports in high school, I developed an interest in the emerging field of ‘sports medicine,’” said Dodd. “After graduating in business, I went back for another degree. At that time, the only courses related to sports medicine were in physical education departments. After that, I went on to get a master's and doctorate focusing on exercise physiology.”
He primarily taught many of the physiology related courses in APK. The undergraduate and graduate students always served as motivation and inspiration in Dodd’s quest for pushing back the frontiers of the field. He attributes much of what he did in the research arena to his talented doctoral students who spent long hours in the lab.
“Most of them have gone on to attain positions at major research universities,” said Dodd.
Dodd credits his students for providing him with the greatest sense of satisfaction in his career.
Dr. Dodd served on the HHP leadership team in several roles. He first served two terms as department chair of APK, and then later, the Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management. Lastly, he served as interim chair of the newly formed Department of Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management.
“Dodd navigated the challenging transition that divided the old Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management with grace and poise,” said Michael Sagas, Ed.D. “The changes necessary to create the two departments were substantial and could have been extremely disruptive to faculty, staff and students. He was clearly the right leader at the right time for the department as he skillfully birthed the two departments with minimal distraction to my colleagues and our students. We are grateful for all he did for us that year.”
After Dodd closes this three decades long chapter on July 31, he is looking forward to spending time sailing on his boat “Free Bird.” An avid fisherman, he plans to go sailing around the Caribbean and Virgin Islands with friends and family in search of that ever illusive big fish.
HHP Leadership Share Their Thoughts
“The college is hugely indebted to Dr. Dodd for his extraordinary leadership over the years. Steve has chaired multiple departments at HHP, successfully managing a range of academic programs while earning the trust of faculty and staff. Steve also oversaw the first ever dissolution of one department to create two new departments, an unprecedented achievement in our college. As the Dean, I am honored to call Steve a colleague and a friend.” — Dean Michael Reid
“In the spring of 1991, Steve Dodd interviewed with the Exercise and Sport Sciences department. Since his interview and memorable dinner, he became a fantastic faculty member, impactful contributor to muscle physiology, and one of my best friends. Steve is a person you can always count on for thoughtful discussion and a critical perspective. Indeed, his leadership and faculty/student advocacy approach served the College extremely well as he became chair in three different departments. Regardless of department name changes or realignments, his insight helped each one attain new heights.” — James Cauraugh, Ph.D., professor and associate dean of research
Congratulations, Dr. Dodd! We wish you all the best in your retirement!