Joseph Castillo

Mentor: Dr. Joseph Riley
College of Dentistry
"I always had a strong interest on improving the quality of life of others whether if it was simple words of encouragement or helping someone with exercise activities. I wanted to bring this passion to the University of Florida, realizing that the best way was through research. I initially got involved with the Food Science and Human Nutrition department where I assisted two studies that monitored the health and wellbeing of children and adults. Throughout the year, I realized that I have a greater curiosity in the field of exercise science, in which I became a Research Assistant with the UF Inclusive Fitness and Unified Sports Research Program that aims to improve the quality of life of individuals with intellectual disabilities through physical fitness. In addition, volunteering in Dr. Riley’s human pain research laboratory gave me the enthusiasm to learn and understand how exercise may influence pain processing, which is the theme of this project for the University Scholars Program."


Applied Physiology and Kinesiology



Research Interests

  • Pain Catastrophizing
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Human Health

Academic Awards

  • Kiwanis Club Scholarship 2013-2014
  • University Scholars Program 2016


  • Inclusive Fitness and Unified Sports
  • Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Fraternity


  • Pain Research and Intervention Center of Excellence
  • Food Science and Human Nutrition
  • Top Soccer

Hobbies and Interests

  • Exercise
  • Sports
  • Baking/Cooking
  • Travel

Research Description

The Effect of Aerobic Exercise Program on Musculoskeletal Pain
The aim of this project will be to test the effects of a 10-week aerobic exercise program on inflammatory cytokine, neuropeptide, and neurotransmitter production in a sample of persons with musculoskeletal pain. In cases of chronic pain, exercise is often recommended due to its influence on the interactions between the nervous, the endocrine, and the immune systems. Specifically, it is well established that exercise modulates the immune system in healthy individuals. Consequently, testing the effects of exercise on the increased peripheral inflammation due to chronic musculoskeletal pain has scientific and clinical relevance. This study will examine the 2-hour biomarker cascade following administration of a painful experimental stimulus before and following completion of a 10-week aerobic exercise intervention.