John Mercer

Professor, Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences
Co-director, UNLV Sports Innovation
Expertise: Biomechanics (physics of sports), Kinesiology (study of human movement), Running


John Mercer is a professor for the department of kinesiology & nutrition sciences, which is the study of how the human body moves. He is an expert in kinesiology, biomechanics (the physics of sports), and running. Mercer has trained as a triathlete for more than 25 years.

A prolific researcher, Mercer recently directed kinesiology-focused studies on rehabilitation techniques like running in the water and running with body weight support, how shoe design is important to consider for children runners, and if rocker-bottom styled shoes increase muscle development in the lower legs.

His work has been published in dozens of industry publications including the Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, the Journal of Applied Biomechanics, the European Journal of Applied Physiology, and Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Mercer is also chair of UNLV’s Biomedical Institutional Review Board, which approves, monitors, and reviews biomedical and social/behavioral research involving human subjects in order to protect their rights and welfare. 

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John Mercer In The News

Beachbody on Demand
Finding the motivation to commute to a gym — not to mention working out when you get there — is a struggle. It’s time to take advantage of that little thing we do each time we run errands, park our cars, or take the stairs: walking.
Verywell Health
Aqua jogging, or deep water running, is popular among injured runners since it’s a non-weight-bearing exercise that’s very similar to running. If athletes can’t go on their normal runs because of injuries, they can maintain their aerobic performance for several weeks with aqua jogging.
Las Vegas Review Journal
Emergency physician Nathan Hollister noticed that when a UFC fighter came into the ER, or a member of the Las Vegas Raiders or Vegas Golden Knights, there were special protocols for treating their injuries.
Live Science
From sprinting to long distance, the body uses a lot of energy during running and eventually becomes fatigued. How often the feet hit the ground and at what angle can not only improve running efficiency, but potentially help prevent injury too. This is known as cadence — something that many of the best running watches now have the ability to track. But what cadence is best? And is it possible for someone to change their running cadence? We looked at the science.

Articles Featuring John Mercer

Graduation surprise
Campus News | August 1, 2023

News stories from the summer featuring UNLV students and faculty.

Lake Mead
Campus News | July 11, 2022

A collection of news stories highlighting UNLV experts who made headlines locally, nationally, and around the world.

woman running in pool
Research | May 4, 2022

Kinesiology professor John Mercer turned a love of triathlons into a vector for research into wetsuit technology and underwater running.

Three people stand framed by Allegiant Stadium in the background.
Research | November 3, 2020

UNLV's Sports Research and Innovation Initiative gives a home to the university's sports-related research — and is positioned as a crucial touchstone of a burgeoning sports mecca.