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Anechoic Chamber

SHRS Research at a Glance

  • $21.2 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)
Dave Brienza

Message from the Associate Dean of Research

Faculty 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

SHRS Research Framework

Learn more about our major areas of current research by viewing our Research Framework

Motion Analysis

Mobility and Activity

  • Performance optimization
  • Movement science
  • Injury, illness, and disability prevention
  • Movement and activity-based rehabilitation for disability
  • Biobehavioral rehabilitation to promote health
  • Pain management
Xray Image

Functional Cognition and Communication

  • Cognition and everyday activities with/without impairment
  • Hearing and understanding communication
  • Language, speech and vocal production
Woman on treadmill

Community Wellness and Independent Living

  • Community integration and participation
  • Development, aging, transitions across the lifespan
  • Vocational and life skills training
  • Nutrition and fitness
Robotic Arm

Technology Development and Use

  • Assistive and Rehabilitation Technology
  • Effectiveness of technology
  • Universal design and accessibility
  • Environmental optimization
Telehealth Research

Efficiency and Effectiveness of Care

  • Access, quality, cost of care for all people (including people with disabilities)
  • Value-based care (evidence based practice, outcomes/cost)
  • Health systems safety for patients and providers
  • Telehealth implementation
Faculty with Model of Spine

Prevention and Management of Chronic Conditions

  • Examining the effectiveness and cost of rehabilitation services in the prevention and management of chronic conditions


Researcher with participant on treadmill

Neuromuscular Research Laboratory (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.

Dotoral students working on wheelchair at HERL

Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL)

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.