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Bouvé College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University

Physical Therapy

Department of Physical Therapy, Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences Research


The Department of Physical Therapy, Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences' research mission is to build the evidence for best practices to maintain and improve the health and wellbeing of the local, national, and global community members.

Drs. CJ Hasson and Sheng-Che Yen in collaboration with Dr. Robert Platt in the College of Computer and Information Science, recently received an Interdisciplinary Tier 1 Seed Grant to fund their project titled “A New Paradigm for Robotic Gait Rehabilitation Based on Reinforcement Learning”.  The goal of this project is to improve the effectiveness of robotic gait training for patients after stroke – a leading cause of long-term disability. In this project we introduce a new approach based on reinforcement learning principles. The study aims to show that this approach produces superior learning of a new gait pattern compared to the current state-of-the-art approach.  Other Tier 1 grants awarded are listed here.


Early PT education for pre-surgical breast cancer survivors: A pilot study
Marin Little Emily Nasson Gallagher Lucy Burrage, PI Ann Marie Flores Working with Rebecca Stephenson in the Rehabilitation Services and Mehra Golshan of the Breast Surgical Services at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana Faber Cancer Institute, this pilot project evaluated the effects of early physical therapy on functional outcomes for cancer pre-surgical breast cancer survivors. The project was funded by a small grant from the America Physical Therapy Association Section on Women’s Health.  Other winners of RISE awards can be found online through the RISE website here at


In 2013, the faculty published over 42 peer reviewed journal manuscripts.  The published works of the faculty were cited over 450 times.  In addition, faculty members submitted proposals to external agencies totaling over $6.9 million in direct costs.  The department’s budgeted research activities for FY14 totaled over $1.4 million.



Analysis of Dance and Movement
PI: Shaw Bronner

Neuromotor Systems Laboratory
PI: C.J. Hasson

Laboratory for Locomotion Research
PI: Sheng-Che Yen

Cancer Survivorship Center
PI: Ann Marie Flores

Biomotion Research Laboratory
PI: Amee Seitz

Neurorehabilitation Laboratory
PI: Maureen K. Holden

Rehabilitation and Epidemiology Trainee Program
PI: Maura D. Iversen

Occupational Biomechanics and Ergonomics Laboratory
PI: Jack Dennerlein

Neurophysiology Laboratory
PI: Robert Sikes

Teaching and Learning Innovation Laboratory
PI: Lorna Hayward


Bronner S, Pinsker R, Noah JA. Energy cost and game flow of 5 exer-games in trained players. Am J Health Behav. 2013 May;37(3):369-80. PMID: 23985184 [PubMed - in process]

Eijckelhof BH, Bruno Garza JL, Huysmans MA, Blatter BM, Johnson PW, van Dieen JH, van der Beek AJ, Dennerlein JT. The effect of overcommitment and reward on muscle activity, posture, and forces in the arm-wrist-hand region - a field study among computer workers. Scand J Work Environ Health  2013;39(4):379-389. PMID: 23377125.

Esbjörnsson AC, Rozumalski A, Iversen M, Schwartz M, Wretenberg P, Broström E. Quantifying gait deviations in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis using the Gait Deviation Index. Scand J Rheumatol. 2013 Oct 4. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24090053

Ferris CF, Johnson M, Sikes RW, Stolberg T, Prendergast R, Nedelman M, Paskavitz J. 2012, Neural circuits involved in capsaicin-induced pain in awake rats: Imaging temporal changes in activation and deactivation, Soc for Neurosci Abstr.

Flores AM, Nelson J, McCarthy M, Bienenstock K, Caravana C, McCarthy S, Smith B, Blot WJ. Late effects after breast cancer among low income women in the southern United States. 6th Biennial Cancer Survivorship Research Conference, “Cancer Survivorship Research: Translating Science to Care," NCI/CDC/ACS/LiveStrong.Arlington,VA, June 14-16, 2012. 

Hasson CJ, Caldwell GE. Effects of age on mechanical properties of dorsiflexor and plantarflexor muscles. Ann Biomed Eng. May 2012;40(5):1088-1101.  PMID: 22187136.

Hasson CJ, Shen T, Sternad D. Energy margins in dynamic object manipulation. J Neurophysiol. Sep 2012;108(5):1349-1365.  PMID: 22592302.

Hayward LM, Black LL, Mostrom E, Jensen GM, Ritzline PD, Perkins J. The first two years of practice: a longitudinal perspective on the learning and professional development of promising novice physical therapists. Phys Ther. Mar 2013;93(3):369-383.  PMID: 23064736.

Hayward LM, Charrette A.  Global Education: Preparation for Study Abroad and the Provision of Physical Therapy Services to Ecuadorian Orphans Journal of Physical Therapy Education. 2012. 26(1):78-89.

Iversen MD. Rehabilitation interventions for pain and disability in osteoarthritis: a review of interventions including exercise, manual techniques, and assistive devices. Orthopaedic nursing / National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses. Mar-Apr 2012;31(2):103-108.  PMID: 22446803.

Kardouni JR, Seitz AL, Walsworth MK, Michener LA.Neovascularization prevalence in the supraspinatus of patients with rotator cuff tendinopathy.Clin J Sport Med. 2013 Nov;23(6):444-9. PMID: 23732364

Michener LA, Subasi Yesilyaprak SS, Seitz AL, Timmons MK, Walsworth MK. Supraspinatus tendon and subacromial space parameters measured on ultrasonographic imaging in subacromial impingement syndrome. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2013 Jun 5. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 23736252 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Ono Y, Nomoto Y, Tanaka S, Sato K, Shimada S, Tachibana A, Bronner S, Noah JA. Frontotemporal oxyhemoglobin dynamics predict performance accuracy of dance simulation gameplay: Temporal characteristics of top-down and bottom-up cortical activities. Neuroimage. 2013 May 24. doi:pii: S1053-8119(13)00571-5. 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.05.071. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 23707582

Örtqvist M, Roos EM, Brostrom E, Janarv P, Iversen MD. Development of the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score for Children (KOOS-Child): Comprehensibility and Content Validity. Acta Orthopaedica 2012;83(6):666-73

Seitz AL, Michener LA, McClure PW, Lynch SS, McKinney JL. Effects of Scapular Dyskinesis and Scapular Assistance Test on Subacromial Space during Static Arm Elevation.Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery.2012; 21(5):631-40. PMID: 21444218.

Tanaka T, Aria H, Sugihara S, Ito R, Izumi T, Holden MK (2012). A study of upper extremity training using a virtual environment system as a computer therapy. Accepted for Publication, Journal of Physical Therapy Science.

Timmons MK, Thigpen CA, Seitz AL, Karduna A, Michener LA. Scapular Kinematics and Shoulder Impingement Syndrome: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation. 2012;21(4):354-70. PMID:22388171 

Trudeau M, Catalano PJ, Jindrich Dl, Dennerlein JT.  Tablet keyboard configuration affects performance, discomfort and task difficulty for thumb typing in a two-handed grip. PLoS One. 2013;8(6):e67525. Print 2013.PMID: 23840730.  Open Access

Yen SC, Gutierrez GM, Ling W, Magill R, McDonough A. Coordination variability during load carriage walking: can it contribute to low back pain? Hum Mov Sci. Oct 2012;31(5):1286-1301.  PMID: 22698836.

Yen SC, Schmit BD, Landry JM, Roth H, Wu M. Locomotor adaptation to resistance during treadmill training transfers to overground walking in human SCI. Exp Brain Res. Feb 2012;216(3):473-482.  PMID: 22108702.

Contact Info

Jack Dennerlein, PhD
Director of Research, Department of Physical Therapy, Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences
308 Robinson Hall
Boston, MA 02115
Tel: 617.373.5428
Fax: 617.373.3161

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