Motion Lab
Doctor of Physical Therapy Research

» Engineering therapies through research

+ - Gait Rehabilitation and Research Lab (GRRL)

Gait Rehabilitation and Research Lab (GRRL) investigates intervention solutions for fall prevention. Our research investigates the effectiveness of perturbation training for enhancing postural and dynamic stability in individuals with neurological or musculoskeletal disorders. We also design fall assessment portable tools such as smartphone apps and use inertial sensors in understanding movement characteristics. Our research involves understanding Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s) using inertial sensors. Research in Gait Rehabilitation Research Lab explores stability and stride interval complexity due to controlled gait and postural perturbations and during more complex cognitive and functional tasks while walking. The ultimate goal of our research is to improve quality of life of patient population by introducing interventions for movement disorders.

Dr. Rahul Soangra
Location: Harry and Diane Rinker Health Science Campus

+ - Neuromechanics of Human Movement Laboratory

Dr. Jo Armour Smith’s program of research investigates how postural control of the trunk is adapted in response to pain, aging and skill training, and the mechanisms underlying these adaptations. Her current research focuses on the adaptations in trunk control that are associated with persistent low back pain, as these adaptations may contribute to the recurrence of symptoms. She uses a neuromechanical approach that blends biomechanics and neuroscience to study how the nervous system and musculoskeletal system interact to produce movement in healthy individuals and individuals with back pain. Research in the Neuromechanics of Human Movement Laboratory (NOHMLab) explores trunk muscle activity, trunk motion, and associated cortical function during controlled postural perturbations and during more complex functional tasks like walking and turning.

Initial work in the NOHMLab will examine the relationship between cortical function and impairments in postural control in individuals with persistent low back pain. Translational studies will also quantify changes in cortical function in response to physical therapy intervention. Clinical studies will then investigate the effectiveness of motor learning exercise interventions for enhancing postural control in individuals with acute and persistent low back pain, with the ultimate goal of increasing the understanding of mechanisms underlying the transition from acute to persistent back pain and enhancing physical therapy treatment of this disorder.  

Dr. Jo Armour Smith
Location: Harry and Diane Rinker Health Science Campus

+ - Motor Control and Motor Development Research Laboratory

Dr. Grant-Beuttler’s research has focused on motor control and motor development in the newborn infant and young child.  Specifically, she is interested in how uterine confinement and muscle tendon unit play a role in the development of motor skills.  Use of movement analysis systems have frequently been employed in this research.  Currently, she is working to develop a clinically useful movement analysis system for clinical and research use.  Her research has also addressed youth obesity and youth at risk for obesity and she has participated in developing a school based exercise and nutrition program for middle school students who are at risk or obese.  In addition, Dr. Grant-Beuttler has been involved in Constraint Induced Movement Therapy and the use of movement analysis systems in evaluation of this intervention in both children and adults.  Dr. Grant-Beuttler has received funding from the Department of Agriculture, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and private foundations. 

Dr. Marybeth Grant-Beuttler
Location: Harry and Diane Rinker Health Science Campus

+ - Telerehabilitation, Robotic Therapy, and Augmented Reality Games for Stroke Recovery

As part of a series of collaborative clinical research studies with Dr. Steven Cramer’s Neural Repair Lab at UCI, Dr. McKenzie and DPT students have been involved in the inception and implementation of innovative approaches to stroke rehabilitation that incorporate cutting edge technology into emerging models of neurorehabilitation for stroke.  The interdisciplinary research team includes neurologists, post-doctoral fellows, M.D./Ph.D. and Ph.D. students, physical and occupational therapists, bioengineers and bioengineering graduate students, computer scientists, and undergraduates.

Dr. Alison McKenzie
Location: Harry and Diane Rinker Health Science Campus