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Theresa Marie Crytzer is an assistant professor at the Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL). Her research includes (1) completion of a T32 mentored post-doctoral research project to investigate whether adults with spina bifida who used an exercise video gaming device and received text message reminders to exercise would show an increase in exercise participation, (2) completion of a project funded by the Spina Bifida Association/Ashley Rose Foundation to evaluate the impact of motor level and spina curvature on pulmonary function in people with spina bifida Crytzer also developed and validated a wheelchair rating of perceived exertion scale (WHEEL Scale) for people with spina bifida. She assists her colleagues as a co-investigator on grants to (1) develop and test smart phone applications to improve self-management of health conditions and (2) improve independence with the wheelchair service delivery process, wheelchair skills and maintenance. Crytzer currently serves as a member of the Housing Board of the Western Pennsylvania Spina Bifida Association and a member of the Rehabilitation Engineering Society of North America Standards Committee on Inclusive Fitness. She completed a 3 year term as co-chair of the Pediatric Special Interest group for the Pennsylvania Physical Therapy Association. Crytzer also evaluates clients of all ages with disabilities for wheelchairs and other assistive technology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Center for Assistive Technology.

Becoming a physical therapist was my passion. Through my clinical work, I discovered research questions that I wanted to answer for individuals with complex neurological disabilities. I am excited to pursue a PhD in Rehabilitation Science to create efficacious healthy lifestyle behavior interventions for people with physical, cognitive and sensory disabilities. 


Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology
Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition


Master of Rehabilitation Technology
Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation Science
Rehabilitation Technology

Representative Publications

Crytzer TM, Cheng YT, Bryner MJ, Wilson III R, Sciurba FC, Dicianno BE. Impact of neurological level and spinal curvature on pulmonary function in adults with spina bifida. J Pediatr Rehabil Med. 2018;11(4):243-254. doi: 10.3233/PRM-179451. PMID: 30741703
Crytzer, T.M., Keramati, M., Anthony, S.J., Cheng, Y.-T., Robertson, R.J. and Dicianno, B.E. (2018), Exercise Prescription Using a Group-Normalized Rating of Perceived Exertion in Adolescents and Adults With Spina Bifida. PM&R, 10: 738-747.

Crytzer TM, Dicianno BE, Robertson RJ, Cheng YT. Validity of a wheelchair perceived exertion scale (wheel scale) for arm ergometry exercise in people with spina bifida. Percept Mot Skills. 2015 Feb;120(1):304-22. doi: 10.2466/15.08.PMS.120v12x8. Epub 2015 Feb 4. PMID: 25650508

Research Interests

  • Usability and feasibility testing of novel theory-based technology-supported healthy lifestyle behavior interventions
  • Impact of assistive technology on the pulmonary function of people with neurological disabilities