Anthony Carl Hackney
In recognition of Professor Anthony Carl Hackney’s outstanding contribution to scientific research and building relationships with the University of Tartu, the University of Tartu has conferred on him the degree of the Honorary Doctor of Exercise Physiology.
Anthony C. Hackney is a long-standing Professor of Exercise Physiology and Nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, one of the most prestigious universities in the United States of America.
Anthony C. Hackney was born on 29 January 1956 in Cincinnati, USA. He received a bachelor’s degree in health and kinesiology from Berea College in Kentucky. In 1981 he acquired a master’s degree in exercise physiology and sports medicine at Kent State University in Ohio, and in 1986 received a doctoral degree in exercise physiology and nutrition at the same university. Anthony C. Hackney was a postdoctoral scholar at the United States Department of Defense and NASA. While already employed at the University of North Carolina, he obtained a graduate certificate in public health.
Professor Hackney’s research in the field of exercise endocrinology has provided a more thorough understanding of the role of steroid hormones in adaptation to acute or regular physical load. His research team studies the effect of physical, environment-induced and emotional stressors on the hormonal adaptation in the endocrine system. In recent years, he has focused on researching the energy deficit in male and female athletes and its relations with their general health status and performance. With the participation of Professor Hackney, a successful international research group, encompassing the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Addis Ababa University, Moi University and the University of Tartu, has been established to study East-African athletes. This cooperation involves joint research projects as well as supervising doctoral students. Another research interest of Professor Hackney of recent years is related to clinical exercise physiology and aimed at studying the hormonal aspects of physical activity and inactivity in the context of better understanding the root causes and prevention strategies of, for example, obesity, diabetes and breast cancer.
Anthony C. Hackney’s contacts with colleagues at the University of Tartu began more than 30 years ago, when Professor Atko-Meeme Viru headed the laboratory for the research of hormonal control in the functioning of skeletal muscle here. The research conducted in this laboratory earned Estonian sport sciences international acclaim, and Anthony C. Hackney’s contribution to this was substantial, primarily in terms of the development of research methods and the presentation of research results. Work done in the laboratory laid the foundation for current research in different fields of sport sciences at the University of Tartu. In addition to joint publications with colleagues at the University of Tartu, Professor Hackney has conducted intensive courses here for doctoral students of different specialities at the Doctoral School of Behavioural, Social and Health Sciences, delivered lectures and supervised seminars for master’s students, been a keynote speaker at international conferences organised in Tartu, participated in joint research projects with the University of Tartu colleagues, contributed to the development of research methods applied here and belonged to the editorial boards of the journals Acta Academiae Olympiquae Estoniae and Acta Kinesiologiae Universitatis Tartuensis.
Besides publishing, top scientists are expected to secure research money. Anthony C. Hackney has received grants for his research projects from the governing agencies of the United States of America, for example, from the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, USAID and the National Academy of Sciences. He is an Honorary Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and National Academy of Kinesiology, an Honorary Doctor of the Lithuanian Sports University and an Honorary Professor of Santiago University and Centro Universitário de Brasília. As a visiting professor he has lectured at the universities of several countries: besides Estonia also in Germany, Kosovo, New Zealand, Norway and Uruguay.
During an interview to Elsevier SciTech Connect in 2016, when Professor Hackney was asked how he would explain his current work to a stranger on a bus, he answered, “I try to understand why different forms of stress affect your hormonal system in a negative fashion”. In the same interview Anthony C. Hackney described his motto in research: it should not be safe sailing, doing all the right things to get published; science has to really advance our knowledge or understanding of a topic. And this is exactly what Anthony C. Hackney is continuing to do.