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Michelle Varnell is an assistant professor in the Athletic Training program. Varnell joined the faculty of the ATP in 2019 and brings her expertise in research methodology and upper extremity injury and evaluation. Varnell completed her bachelor’s degree in athletic training with a minor in Political Science at Grand Canyon University (Phoenix, Arizona) and a master's degree in Sports Health Care at A.T. Still University, Arizona School of Health Science (Mesa, AZ). She completed her PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences within the Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh in 2015. Prior coming to the University of Pittsburgh, Varnell spent four years as a research associate with the SHRI-CORE Orthopedic Research Labs (Sun City West, AZ), where she developed expertise in the motion analysis of activities of daily living in both the upper and lower extremities. She has presented her work at various national conferences. Her research interests include shoulder biomechanics, injury epidemiology, and musculoskeletal characteristics in overhead athletes. In her free time, Varnell enjoys outdoor activities with her family, olympic weightlifting and reading.


Department of Community Health Services and Rehabilitation Science
Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition


Athletic Training
Undergraduate Program in Rehabilitation Science

Education & Training

  • PhD - University of Pittsburgh
  • MS - A.T. Still University, Arizona School of Health Science
  • BS - Grand Canyon University