A person conducts a scan on another person laying on a table


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

The University of Las Vegas Physical Therapy Department is led by distinguished faculty who are advancing the science of physical therapy. We focus on understanding human movement, how the body works, and how to manage disabilities throughout life. Our research is supported by advanced labs on campus, creating new knowledge in physical therapy.

We thrive on collaborating with scientists locally and nationally to foster interdisciplinary and translational research that seamlessly connects theoretical foundations with clinical application. Such a dynamic research atmosphere is propelled by support from prestigious funding sources, including the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, and the Nevada INBRE.

Our work is recognized globally, with our faculty often featured in scientific journals and speaking at conferences. This recognition underscores our commitment to enhancing physical therapy practices and outcomes worldwide, demonstrating our unwavering dedication to research excellence and its significant impact on the field.

Please visit our website to learn more about our research, or contact us at physical.therapy@unlv.edu.

The department has four dedicated laboratories on campus:

Clinical Locomotion Neuromechanics Lab

Designed primarily for biomechanical assessments, the Clinical Locomotion Neuromechanics 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.

Neuroplasticity and Motor Recovery Lab

The Neuroplasticity and Motor Recovery Lab is equipped with Magstim single and dual pulse transcranial magnetic stimulators and magnetic coils (figure-of-eight, double cone coils) to safely deliver single and paired-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). The system also includes a frameless stereotaxy neuronavigation software, Brainsight (Rogue Research Inc), which allows for MRI-referenced delivery of TMS, enabling us to visualize the precise site of stimulation in the brain. The lab also features equipment capable of collecting spinal cord physiology and electromyographic data that is used for operant conditioning of spinal reflexes.

Gait and Balance Lab

Designed primarily for gait, posture, and balance assessments, the Gait and Balance Lab is equipped with cutting-edge balance and gait assessment tools. The Bertec Balance Advantage (Dynamic Computerized Posturography) utilizes an immersive virtual reality world to assess balance. It is embedded with two force platforms and is capable of assessing balance-related sensory organization (vestibular, vision, and proprioception), limits of stability, adaptation, motor control, and vestibular-ocular reflexes. The Protokinetics Zeno Walkway System is a 4 foot by 20 foot walking mat that detects and collects pressure data during static and dynamic balance and gait assessment, including measuring instantaneous COP, integrated pressure, COMe, and temporal spatial measures (e.g., step/stride length, swing/stance time, velocity, cadence, path efficiency). The Virtubalance VST System is a markerless mobile quantification system that utilizes an infrared camera to detect body movement to within 1 mm error. This portable system is used to quantify temporal spatial gait characteristics, static and dynamic balance, CTSIB balance test, Tinetti Balance Test, and functional reach. The Gait and Balance Lab is also equipped with the following equipment: Biosway portable balance system (CTSIB and LOS), Adult LiteGait partial weight bearing device, 30 foot overground non-deweighting harness system, Biodex Gait Trainer II instrumented rehabilitation treadmill with real time feedback, APDM Mobility Lab, GTX3XPD Actigraphs (activity monitors), and ActivPAL activity monitors.

Cardiovascular Research and Exercise Lab (CARE lab)

The Cardiovascular Research and Exercise (CARE) lab is designed to assess cardiovascular function and autonomic regulation during rest and during exercise. The CARE lab is equipped with a BIOPAC data acquisition system and Finapres NOVA blood pressure, a tilt table and lower body negative pressure chamber for basic and clinical autonomic testing, a Trackmaster TMX428CP rehabilitation treadmill, a Parvo Medics TrueOne 2400 integrated metabolic measurement system with Polar heart rate monitors for maximal and submaximal exercise testing, and for (cardio-)vascular testing the lab is equipped with a Complior Analyse for arterial assessment, a Mobil-O-Graph for brachial and central blood pressure, and a state-of-the-art Hitachi Arietta 70 Ultrasound device for echocardiography, arterial structure and blood flow in rest and during exercise. In addition to this, the lab is equipped with the Oxiplex TS, a device using near-infrared spectography to non-invasively measure tissue and muscle oxygenation.

Students within the DPT program participate in research studies and service-learning projects throughout the three-year program. The Digital Scholarship list hosted by the university library contains information about these studies since 2011.

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