I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science at the University of Iowa. My research focuses on the evaluation and treatment of tendon pain mechanisms, including altered movement strategies, tissue pathology identified on imaging, sensitization of the central nervous system, and psychological factors. I am particularly fascinated in studying experiences when pain alters movement and when movement alters pain. Ultimately, I plan to perform research that can improve clinical care of individuals with persistent musculoskeletal pain, to translate this research to clinical practice, and to train future clinician-scientists.
To expand my research experience into the field of pain science and learn how to implement clinical trials, I joined Dr. Kathleen Sluka’s translational Neurobiology of Pain Laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow (2015- 2019). At the University of Iowa, I secured an appointment on a postdoctoral T32 Interdisciplinary Training in Pain Research Program. In addition, funding from the International Association for the Study of Pain (Collaborative Research Grant) and the American Physical Therapy Association (Orthopaedic Section Grant) contributed to my success in obtaining a highly competitive career development award from the National Institutes of Health to examine a mechanism-based treatment approach to chronic tendinopathy (K99AR071517).
My first postdoctoral position was in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Rochester. I was intrigued by the advanced ultrasound imaging techniques being developed by the BME department during my dissertation work, and I was able to talk Dr. Mark Buckley into hiring me as one of the first members of his Viscoelasticity in Connective Tissues Lab. (2014-15).
I was a PhD student in the School of Nursing’s interdisciplinary program in Health Practice Research at the University of Rochester with Dr. James McMahon, who has expertise in biostatistics and epidemiology, as my advisor. I was fortunate to have mentors from a variety of disciplines, including Dr. Jeff Houck where I used gait analysis in his Foot and Ankle Biomechanics, Ithaca College, Rochester campus. We had a strong collaboration with the Department of Orthopaedics, and I worked closely with Dr. Samuel Flemister, the chief of Foot and Ankle Surgery. My dissertation work was fully supported by a Sproull Fellowship, which is the most prestigious fellowship awarded by University of Rochester, as well as a scholarship from the Foundation for Physical Therapy Research (2010-14)
My first experience in a clinical trial was as an Argentine tango instructor and physical therapist for patients with Parkinson’s Disease. The study was led by Dr. Gammon Earhart, who has a Locomotor Control Lab at Washington University. (2009-10)
Dr. Linda Van Dillen’s Motion Analysis Lab at Washington University is where I first fell in love with research. During my clinical training, I was awarded a pre-doctoral T32 position on an Interdisciplinary Clinical Research Training Program. I started working in the lab at the end of my first year of physical therapy school, and stayed involved in her lab until I moved from St. Louis. (2007-2010)
Volunteer Physical Therapist, St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center, Rochester, NY, 2010-2014
Outpatient Orthopaedic Physical Therapist, The Rehabilitation Institute of St. Louis, MO, 2009-2010
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Iowa, Dept. of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, Iowa City, IA, 2015-2019
Research focus: Chronic pain, Clinical Trials
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Rochester, Dept. of Biomedical Engineering, Rochester, NY, 2014-2015
Research focus: Ultrasound elastography, Soft-tissue mechanics
PhD, University of Rochester, School of Nursing, Rochester, NY, 2010-2014
Dissertation topic: Kinematics/Kinetics, Achilles tendinopathy, Adult Acquired Flatfoot Deformity
DPT, Washington University, Program in Physical Therapy, St. Louis, MO, 2006-2009
Research interests: Low back pain, Parkinson’s Disease, Performing Arts
BA, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, 2002-2006
Major: Spanish, Minor: Dance