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PhD Advisor: Dr. Sara Piva

Reason for pursuing PhD in SHRS:

Over ten years of clinical experience managing her private practice, Cristiane gained relevant experience by treating patients presenting pain, loss of balance, impaired mobility and physical deconditioning. Most of the patients were older adults with chronic low back with a story of ineffective interventions and frustrations for their low back pain. These years of clinical experience taught her how to expand patient care by appraising the scientific evidence and engaging multi-professionals as needed to achieve better outcomes. However, it was not enough to fulfill her aspiration to find better options to help the more challenging cases effectively, so research became her path. Ultimately, the desire to pursue a scientific career and look for answers to the questions had triggered an interest in clinical practice that brought her to the University of Pittsburgh, where she got her master's in Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy and was accepted into the PhD program. She is currently a PhD student in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Pittsburgh, mentored by Dr. Piva, who she considers an outstanding researcher who has advanced rehabilitation by improving functional performance and promoting physical activity in patients with arthritis and other musculoskeletal diseases. She is confident that this well-established research program at the University of Pittsburgh and the mentorship opportunities will give her the skill set needed to be a successful researcher in rehabilitation science.


Department of Physical Therapy


Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation Science


  • Professional Physical Therapist of the Year, “Jornal Semanal,” Tres de Maio, RS, Brazil. 2009 and 2011.

Representative Publications

Research Interests

  • Musculoskeletal Conditions
  • Spine Rehabilitation
  • Chronic Low Back Pain
  • Aging