Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science

Laura A. Frey Law, MPT, MS, PhD


Associate Professor, Department 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
Phone: 319-335-9804

Web: Neuromuscular Biomechanics Laboratory


BSE, Biomedical Engineering, The University of Iowa
MPT, Physical Therapy, The University of Iowa
MS, Bioengineering, The University of Michigan
PhD, Physical Rehabilitation Science, The University of Iowa

Licensure and Certifications

Physical Therapy License, Iowa Board of Physical & Occupational Therapy

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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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. 30(1):1-8.

Frey Law L, Avin K.  Can muscle coordination be precisely studied by surface electromyography?.  J Electromyogr Kinesiol.  2012. 22(2):325-326.

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. 28(6):726-737.

Frey Law L, Krishnan C, Avin K.  Modeling nonlinear errors in surface electromyography due to baseline noise: a new methodology.  J Biomechanics.  2011. 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. 42(1):9-15.

Date Last Modified: 06/06/2016 - 13:17:48