Patrick J. Sparto , PT, PhD



    Associate Professor

    Office Location

    235 Bridgesidepoint 1

    Office phone


Academic Appointment


  • University of Pittsburgh, Associate Professor, Dept. Physical Therapy


  • University of Pittsburgh, Associate Professor, Dept. Otolaryngology
  • University of Pittsburgh, Associate Professor, Dept. BioEngineering
  • University of Pittsburgh, Associate Professor, Clinical and Translational Science Institute


  • BS, Mechanical Engineering, University of Dayton, 1992                
  • PhD, Biomedical Engineering, Ohio State University, 1998                            
  • MPT, Physical Therapy, University of Pittsburgh, 1999                    

Awards and Honors

  • Ohio State University Presidential Fellowship, 1997
  • American Society of Biomechanics Schultz Travel Award, 1997
  • Patricia J. Leahy Memorial Scholarship, 1999
  • Institute for Clinical Research Education Mentoring Award, 2012

Academic/Research Interests

  • Postural control in older adults
  • Concussion and vestibular rehabilitation
  • Functional neuroimaging of mobility

Refereed Articles

Click here for a list of peer-reviewed publications

Other Scholarly Publication

  • Sparto PJ, Schor RH (2004) Directional Statistics. Innovative Analyses of Human Movement. Ed. by Nicholas Stergiou, Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL.

Courses Recently Taught

  • PT2025: Physiology of Exercise
  • PT2033: Musculoskeletal III: Ergonomics Module
  • PT2063: Neuromuscular III: Lab Instructor for Vestibular Rehabilitation

Funded Research Projects


Role: PI                                 Source of Funding: NIH-R01 AG031118                   Dates: 2008-2012
Project Title:  Influence Of White Matter Damage On Step Initiation
Objectives: The goal of this research is investigate the relationship between damage to white matter tracts and mobility dysfunction, using advanced neuroimaging techniques and performance on a step initiation task.

Role: Co-I                            Source of Funding: NIH- P30 AG024827                  Dates: 2009-2014
Project Title:  Pittsburgh Older American’s Independence Center
Objectives: The specific aims are to develop interventions to improve function and independence in older adults with balance disorders, integrate studies of physiologic, biomechanical and psychosocial mechanisms affecting balance with clinical studies, and foster multidisciplinary research and research training.


Role: Co-I                            Source of Funding: NIH- R01AR048760                    Dates: 2004-2008
Project Title:  Knee Stability Training In Individuals With Knee OA
Objectives: The overall aim of this project is to test the effectiveness of supplementing traditional exercise therapy with knee stability training techniques, tailored for individuals with knee OA, for improving pain, physical function, and lower extremity biomechanics in individuals with knee OA.

Role: Co-I                            Source of Funding: NIH- R01AG029546                   Dates: 2007-2010
Project Title:  Modeling Sensory Integration and Attention in Postural Control of Older Adults
Objectives: The proposed research will investigate the interactions of attention and sensory regulation in older subjects by modifying and applying a validated sensory re-weighting postural control model to include the role of higher cognitive function (i.e. attention), and then perform dual-task balance experiments to validate the model.

Service and Assignments

Service to University

  • 2000-Present: SHRS Doctoral Program - Biomechanics Core Advisory Panel 
  • 2002-Present: SHRS IRB Scientific Review Committee
  • 2004-2005: SHRS Faculty, Secretary
  • 2005-2007: SHRS Faculty, Chair
  • 2008-2011: SHRS Representative to the Faculty Assembly, University Senate
  • 2010-Present:SHRS Doctoral Program - Biomechanics Core Area Chair

Service to National Associations

  • 2002: American Society of Biomechanics – Grants-in-Aid program reviewer
  • 2002-2005: APTA Neurology Section, Vestibular SIG, Secretary
  • 2005-2006: APTA Neurology Section, Vestibular SIG, Web Liaison
  • 2009-2010: APTA Research Section, Abstract Reviewer
  • 2011-2014: Foundation for Physical Therapy, Scientific Review Committee

Grants Reviewer

  • 2006: Arthritis Research Campaign (UK)
  • 2007: Ad Hoc Member of NIH Study Section: F31/F32 Fellowship Review
  • 2010: Ad Hoc Member of NIH Study Section: MRS, Research Project Grant Review
  • 2010: US-Israel Binational Science Foundation
  • 2011-2014: Foundation for Physical Therapy: Scientific Review Committee

Journal Refereeing

  • 1999-Present: IEEE - Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
  • 2000-Present: Physical Therapy
  • 2001-Present: Gait & Posture
  • 2001-Present: Journal of Vestibular Research
  • 2004-Present: Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • 2007-Present: Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Medical Sciences
  • 2007-Present: Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation


  • 2003-Present: Associate Editor IEEE – Trans. on Neural Systems and Rehab. Engineering
  • 2004-Present: Associate Editor Clinical Biomechanics
  • 2007-Present: Associate Editor Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation

Membership in Scientific/Professional/Honorary Societies

  • 1994 – Present American Society of Biomechanics
  • 1997 – Present American Physical Therapy Association, Member of Research and Neurology Sections
  • 2000 – Present  Association for Research in Otolaryngology                                         
  • 2006 – Present  International Society of Posture and Gait Research 
University of Pittsburgh, School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences all rights reserved.