Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science

  • Research

    PT LabPart of the mission of the Department of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Scienceis to develop new knowledge that aids in the advancement of human health. This is the central focus of the faculty’s research.

    Ongoing investigations cover a variety of topics (e.g., pain, neuromuscular plasticity, fatigue, gait) in a number of patient populations including spinal cord injury, stroke, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and ACL injury. The work is accomplished through basic, applied, and/or clinical approaches, and is funded by a variety of sources including the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, industry, and several prominent research foundations (e.g., the Foundation for Physical Therapy, International Association for the Study of Pain, the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation). A unique feature of the program is its integration with both the Carver College of Medicine and the Graduate College, fostering broad collaborations that span departments and disciplines such as neuroscience, pharmacology, anesthesia, internal medicine, engineering, orthopaedics, and radiology.

    Seven research laboratories are directed by Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science faculty members: 

    Human Movement Control/Performance Laboratory

    Director: Richard K. Shields, PT, PhD 

    Neuromuscular Biomechanics Laboratory

    Director: Laura A. Frey Law, PT, PhD 

    Neurobiology of Pain Laboratory

    Director: Kathleen A. Sluka, PT, PhD 

    Orthopedic Gait Analysis Laboratory

    Director: H. John Yack, PT, PhD 

    Musculoskeletal Biomechanics and Sports Medicine Laboratory

    Director: Glenn N. Williams, PT, PhD, ATC, SCS

    Human Integrative and Cardiovascular Physiology Laboratory

    Director: Darren P. Casey, PhD

    Applied Neuroplasticity Laboratory

    Director:  Stacey L. DeJong, PT, PhD

    The PhD Program in Physical Rehabilitation Science is focused on preparing students for a career in research and teaching. In addition to discovering new knowledge, the Program offers an exceptional opportunity for graduate students to train and conduct their own original research under the mentorship of an experienced faculty member.