Janet Dufek

Professor, School of Integrated Health Sciences
Expertise: Biomechanics, Ergonomics/Human Factors, Exercise Equipment Evaluation


Janet Dufek is a biomechanist and founding advisory board member of the REBEL (Rehabilitation, Exercise Science, Biomechanics, Engineering and Life Sciences) Research Group. Her research focuses on lower extremity function with an eye toward injury prevention. More specifically, Dufek has used a landing model to assess kinematic and kinetic responses to various experimental conditions, but, more so, to examine individual responses to these experimental perturbations. Dufek has also used running and walking protocols to examine similar phenomena. 

She regularly collaborates with colleagues in Physical Therapy, Engineering and Nursing to address questions of clinical concern. She has worked with pediatric populations with cerebral palsy and autism, and adult populations with diabetes. 

Dufek currently serves as a professor within the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences. Dufek has also served as the school's associate dean, and a graduate coordinator for the doctorate programs in kinesiology and interdisciplinary health sciences. She holds associate graduate faculty status in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UNLV and is an adjunct professor in UNLV’s Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine and at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.


  • Ph.D., Biomechanics, Integrated Exercise Science; University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, 1988
  • M.S., Scientific Foundations of Kinesiology; Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois, 1982
  • B.S., Physical Education, University of Wisconsin-Superior, Superior, Wisconsin, 1981

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Janet Dufek In The News

I’ve spent my whole life happily walking in one direction: forward. It was, I believed, the only way to go, so I dutifully logged dozens of miles a month looking like every other person out for a morning stroll.
Canadian Running Magazine
Backwards running may sound ridiculous, but studies show it has benefits for both brain and body
Recent studies validate the benefits of retroactive locomotion in reducing low back pain and pressure on joints. However, doing this activity without following the instructions of a guide or without any supervision can increase the risk of injuries and falls.
Walking, at any level of intensity, is good for you. It has been shown that walking at a slow and steady pace can reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. But there is research to suggest that increasing the distance of your walk can reduce the risk of premature death and diseases such as cancer, and that increasing the intensity has other benefits as well.

Articles Featuring Janet Dufek

The Las Vegas skyline (Josh Hawkins, UNLV).
Campus News | December 4, 2023

A collection of news stories highlighting UNLV’s dedication to community and research.

Graduation surprise
Campus News | August 1, 2023

News stories from the summer featuring UNLV students and faculty.