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Message from the Associate Dean of Research

Associate Dean of Research Dave BrienzaFaculty in SHRS have an extensive and excellent record of high-impact, multidisciplinary research. We excel in the important areas of mobility and activity, health services, biobehavioral rehabilitation and wellness in the disability community, among others.

The research questions asked by our investigators lead to high levels of evidence that guide practice, facilitate the translation of knowledge gained in the lab to the clinic, and support development of rehabilitation technology and outcome measurement tools. On a global scale, this research activity contributes to advancing rehabilitation science. On a local level, it creates a culture where students are trained to put cutting edge knowledge into practice.

Dave Brienza
Professor and Associate Dean of Research

Research At a Glance

  • $20.7 million in research funding
  • More than 70 funded projects school-wide
  • Major contributors include:
    • Department of Defense (DoD)
    • Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
    • Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
    • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
    • National Science Foundation (NSF)
    • Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)
    • Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry
    • United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

SHRS Snapshots: International Society of Wheelchair Professionals (ISWP)


In this “SHRS Snapshots” video we share the story of Santiago, a young boy whose life changed thanks to the efforts of the International Society of Wheelchair Professionals (ISWP), an organization started through USAID funds and established by staff and faculty from the Department of Rehabilitation Science & Technology.

Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL)

Students tying chair to HERL Caren System

HERL's extensive research facilities and labs are dedicated to improving the mobility and function of people with disabilities through advanced engineering in clinical research and medical rehabilitation. HERL's research encompasses a wide spectrum of the most up-to-date technology, from virtual reality experiments to electronics work with robotics to 3D computer modeling, printing, and machining.

Neuromuscular Research Laboratory (NMRL)

View of lab inside of the NMRL

The NMRL is the applied research facility of the Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition. Its multidisciplinary research team focuses on optimizing human performance and mitigating musculoskeletal injuries. It currently serves as the preferred laboratory for all of the performance testing needs of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Pitt Athletics.