Biosciences Graduate Program

Laura A. Frey Law, MPT, MS, PhD


Associate Professor, Dept of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science
Associate Professor of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science

Contact Information

Primary Office: 1-246 Medical Education Building
Iowa City, IA 52242
Primary Office Phone: 319-335-9804

Web: Neuromuscular Biomechanics Laboratory


BSE, Biomedical Engineering, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
MPT, Physical Therapy, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
MS, Bioengineering, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
PhD, Physical Rehabilitation Science, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

Licensure and Certifications

Physical Therapy License Iowa Board of Physical & Occupational Therapy

Education/Training Program Affiliations

Biosciences Graduate Program

Research Summary

My research follows two primary lines of investigation: 1) Factors that contribute to pain heterogeneity including: sex, psychological traits, genetics, activity level, etc. To study this question, we use experimental pain models in humans: intramuscular infusion of an acidic phosphate buffer into the anterior tibialis muscle, cold pressor task (hand immersion in ice water), or isolated muscle fatigue (isometric contraction to failure). We also utilize surveys of pain perceptions and self-reported personality responses. In particular we are focusing on why women appear to have a higher risk of referred pain with the muscle pain model (~80%) whereas men are less likely to experience referred pain (~45%) despite similar local infusion-site pain. 2) Strength and fatigue research: We are working with the Virtual Soldier Research (VSR) group to develop mathematical models of normal strength and fatigue, using both static and dynamic strength indices. In addition we are studying whether clear differences in fatigue with aging, by muscle group, or between sexes exist, and the potential interactions between these variables.

Selected Publications

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Frey Law L, Laake A, Avin K, Heitsman J, Adel-Malek K.  Knee and Elbow 3D Strength Surfaces: Peak Torque–Angle–Velocity Relationships..  J Appl Biomech.  2012 December. 28(6):726-37.

Frey Law L, Avin K.  Can muscle coordination be precisely studied by surface electromyography?.  J Electromyogr Kinesiol.  2012 April. 22(2):325-6.

Stefanik J, Roemer F, Zumwalt A, Zhu Y, Gross K, Lynch J, Frey Law L, Lewis C, Guermazi A, Powers C, Felson D.  Association between measures of trochlear morphology and structural features of patellofemoral joint osteoarthritis on MRI: the MOST study..  J Orthop Res.  2012 January. 30(1):1-8.

Frey Law L, Krishnan C, Avin K.  Modeling nonlinear errors in surface electromyography due to baseline noise: a new methodology.  J Biomechanics.  2011 January 4. 44(1):202-205.

Frey Law L, Lee J, McMullen T, Xia T.  Relationships between maximum holding time and ratings of pain and exertion differ for static and dynamic tasks..  2010 December. 42(1):9-15.

Frey Law L, Lee J, Watson D.  Lower-order pain-related constructs are more predictive of cold pressor pain ratings than higher-order personality traits..  J Pain.  2010 July 11. 

Date Last Modified: 06/07/2014 - 21:56:23