Department of Physical Therapy

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Faculty and students in physical therapy conduct a wide variety of research in the rehabilitation sciences.

Research Laboratories

The department has three dedicated laboratories on campus:

Clinical Locomotion Neuromechanics Lab

Designed primarily for biomechanical assessments, this Lab is equipped with Vicon motion capture system, a Delsys wireless electromyography system, Bertec instrumented treadmill with force plates, and a Humac isokinetic dynamometer. The equipment allows the measurement of 3-dimensional kinematics, muscle activity, joint kinetics, and muscle strength.

Diagnostics Lab

The Diagnostics Lab contains much of the program’s diagnostic testing equipment, such as handheld dynamometers, pain pressure algometers, goniometers, and blood lactate chemistry analyzers, as well as a Biosound Esaote MyLab25 Gold unit diagnostic ultrasound with a variable 2.5 to 6.6 MHz, 60 mm curvilinear array that can assess soft tissue up to 9 cm in depth.

Gait and Balance Lab

Designed primarily for gait, posture, and balance assessments, the Gait and Balance Lab is equipped with the NeuroCom Smart Equitest portable deweighting harness, overground non-deweighting harness system, and instrumented rehabilitation treadmill. The NeuroCom Smart Equitest balance assessment tool is capable of performing sensory organization testing (visual, vestibular, and somatosensory), dynamic stability with unexpected perturbations, and limits of stability. Additional equipment can assess vestibular-ocular reflexes for assessment of the vestibular system functioning.

Pediatrics Lab

The Pediatrics Lab contains assessment equipment for motor development as well as treatment equipment for clinical studies, including a pediatric treadmill with an overtreadmill portable deweighting harness system.

Evidence-Based Physical Therapy (EBPT)

The following information and links help students engage in or make decisions about physical therapy care based on the evidence, or Evidence-Based Physical Therapy (EBPT). EBPT has three components:

  • The best available research evidence
  • The clinical judgment of the therapist
  • Patients' values and preferences regarding their own physical therapy care.

These links focus on the evidence piece only.

Critically Appraised Topics — Brief summaries of the best available evidence related to specific clinical questions.

Minimal Data Sets — Standardized groups of reliable and valid clinical tests and measures designed to track and enhance outcomes in specific patient populations.


Some of the studies conducted by faculty and their research interests can be found on their biography pages.