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Center for Physical Therapy Research Mission Statement

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The mission of the Center for Physical Therapy Research (CPTR) is to promote military readiness through cutting-edge research and advanced evidence-based practice related to neuromusculoskeletal disorders, the leading cause of disability among members of the Uniformed Services.

The CPTR accomplishes this mission by producing and integrating the results of basic science, translational, and clinical research to develop strategies for the optimal prevention and treatment of neuromusculoskeletal disorders for military healthcare beneficiaries. The CPTR is the primary venue for producing our clinical scientists and leaders of tomorrow through faculty directed, student-assisted research.

Research Focus Areas:

• Develop and optimize neuromusculoskeletal injury prevention and treatment strategies for translation into training and operational environments

• Leverage the use of technology to improve the evaluation and treatment of neuromusculoskeletal disorders

• Investigate physiological mechanisms underlying states of neuromusculoskeletal health and disease

• Identify and target factors associated with primary neuromusculoskeletal disorders in order to mitigate secondary injury and disease

• Explore strategies to improve physical therapy education and practice primarily and through interdisciplinary collaboration

Technologies Available:

The CPTR is continually evolving and expanding the technologies at our disposal in order to maintain a robust research model that provides state-of-the-science, relevant evidence to enhance military readiness and physical therapy practice.

Current Technology Capabilities include:

• Ultrasound Imaging / Shearwave Elastography: These technologies provide a range of dynamic imaging capabilities of the musculoskeletal system, aiding in the diagnosis of neuromusculoskeletal pathology and the design of treatment programs to optimize muscular recovery

• Electromyography (EMG): Diagnostic and kinesiologic EMG capabilities provide the ability to quantify neuromuscular function in injury and disease and identify changes in motor behavior associated with motor learning and skill acquisition

• Wearable Sensors: An array of inertial measurement units and pressure sensors provide the ability to assesses postural control and gait parameters in both laboratory and free-living environments

• Cardiorespiratory Assessment: Pulmonary function analysis provides the ability to assess functional improvements associated with treatment effectiveness

• Vestibular Assessment: video head impulse testing provides the ability to assess the patency of the vestibular system and its contributions to sensorimotor function, balance impairment, and to track the efficacy of treatments designed to improve gaze and postural stability

• Virtual Reality Environments: Provide the ability to develop novel and innovative treatment paradigms for neuromusculoskeletal injury and disease

• Kinematic and Kinetic Assessment: Motion capture and force plate systems provide our lab the ability to investigate injury prevention, human performance optimization, and treatment paradigms across the spectrum of neuromusculoskeletal health and disease states to improve military readiness


The CPTR works vigorously to establish and maintain robust partnersips with military, civilian, and academic collaborators.

Current collaborations include:
• The Military Perofrmance Lab and Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center
• Wilford Hall Medical Center
• Military treatment facilities throughout the Department of Defense
• The University of Kentucky
• The University of Utah
• University of Puget Sound
• University of Pittsburgh

Promoting Readiness Through Research