Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Research

PMR_ResearchTeamThe PM&R Research Program exists to advance the science and practice of physical medicine and rehabilitation through clinical and translational research aimed at understanding and reducing impairments and functional disabilities due to disease or traumatic events. Our program includes a wide spectrum of research, including community engagement, clinical and translational, quality improvement, and medical and resident education. Clinicians and researchers in PM&R conduct industry sponsored clinical trials, grant-supported investigator initiated clinical studies, and departmentally supported clinical studies (retrospective and prospective) that significantly contribute to clinical practice.

Research in PM&R is highly collaborative. Our current research areas include spinal cord injury, healthy lifestyle through physical activity, stroke rehabilitation, spasticity management, pain, vascular biology and prosthetics. Current collaborators include other MCW faculty (Neurology, Anesthesiology, Surgery, Medicine), extensive collaborations with Marquette University in Biomedical Engineering and the Stroke Center of Southeastern Wisconsin (SRC), and the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. PM&R at MCW has an excellent research partner, and resource, through the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center. Our community partners include True Skool, Heartlove Place, Wisconsin Adaptive Sports Association and the SRC Community Academic Advisory Board among others.

The PM&R Research Administration Committee oversees departmental research activities. The RAC offers funding for travel to present original data at national meetings for medical students, residents, fellows and staff, and offers a Pilot Award Program for investigator initiated studies available to PM&R faculty members. The RAC supports resident research through this award program.

Our Residency Program includes a research requirement. Two tracks, General and Research Intensive, are available to residents in our program based on their professional interests and career goals. Our unique Research Intensive Track offers protected research time, funding, and significant mentorship opportunities. Please visit the Residency Program page for more information on resident research.

Research Team (right)

Back row, l-r: Moriah Iverson, Matt Durand
Front row, l-r: Jennifer Nguyen, Rachel Minkin

The Stroke Rehabilitation Center of Southeastern Wisconsin

Our partnership with Marquette University has established The Stroke Rehabilitation Center of Southeastern Wisconsin (SRC). The goal of this center is to conduct cutting edge rehabilitation research to improve functional outcomes for stroke survivors. Our research in this area is guided by a Community Academic Advisory Board comprised of clinicians, stroke survivors, caregivers, and academic researchers. Please visit the SRC website to learn more.

View the 2018 SRC Annual Report (PDF)

Funding Opportunity for stroke rehabilitation research

2019 SRC Clinical and Translational Seed Award Program

The Marquette University and Medical College of Wisconsin Stroke Rehabilitation Center of Southeastern Wisconsin (SRC) is dedicated to improving stroke survivors’ functional recovery, independence and quality of life through rehabilitation research. This partnership advances stroke rehabilitation research by bringing together the innovative medical research and clinical practice of the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), renowned biomedical engineering research and education of Marquette University, and stroke survivors, caregivers, and community members to advance patient-centered stroke research and treatments throughout Southeastern Wisconsin.

The SRC is pleased to announce The Stroke Rehabilitation Center of Southeastern Wisconsin Translational & Clinical Seed Award Program. The SRC will fund up to two (2) $50,000 seed awards focusing on advancing functional outcomes in stroke rehabilitation. Seed award funding is provided by Advancing a Healthy Wisconsin. A Letter of Intent is due by January 15, 2019. Please refer to the SRC’s Funding Opportunities page for more details.


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Beyer AM, Freed JK, Durand MJ, Riedel M, Ait-Aissa K, Green P, Hockenberry JC, Morgan RG, Donato AJ, Peleg R, Gasparri M, Rokkas CK, Santos JH, Priel E, Gutterman DD Critical Role for Telomerase in the Mechanism of Flow-Mediated Dilation in the Human Microcirculation. Circ Res. 2016 Mar 4;118(5):856-66.

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Buchanan CE1, Kadlec AO, Hoch AZ, Gutterman DD, Durand MJ. Hypertension during Weight Lifting Reduces Flow-Mediated Dilation in Nonathletes. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2017 Apr;49(4):669-675.

Chen S, Andary M, Buschbacher R, Del Toro D, Smith B, So Y, Zimmermann K, Dillingham TR. Electrodiagnostic reference values for upper and lower limb nerve conduction studies in adult populations. Muscle Nerve. 2016 Sep;54(3):371-7.

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Durand MJ, Zinkevich NS, Riedel M, Gutterman DD, Nasci VL, Salato VK, Hijjawi JB, Reuben CF, North PE, Beyer AM. Vascular Actions of Angiotensin 1-7 in the Human Microcirculation: Novel Role for Telomerase. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2016 Jun;36(6):1254-62.

Freed, J: Durand, M; Hoffmann, B; Densmore, J; Greene, A; Gutterman, D. Mitochondria-regulated formation of endothelial extracellular vesicles shifts the mediator of flow-induced vasodilation. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2017 Feb 17.

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Krajnak K, Raju SG, Miller GR, Johnson C, Waugh S, Kashon ML, Riley DA. Long-term daily vibration exposure alters current perception threshold (CPT) sensitivity and myelinated axons in a rat-tail model of vibration-induced injury. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2016;79(3):101-11.

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McGuire J, Heath K, O'Dell MW. Should Ultrasound Be Used Routinely to Guide Botulinum Toxin Injections for Spasticity? PM R. 2016 Oct;8(10):1004-1010.

Research Committees and Affiliations

Research Administration Committee (PM&R)
The RAC is composed of Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation faculty. The RAC is under the direction of the Research Director. The department sets an annual budget to support research endeavors of faculty, fellows and residents. These funds will support pilot research proposals, attendance at national and regional meetings to present results of research and / or accept awards, and to provide assistance with publication costs.

Orthopedic Rehabilitation & Engineering Center (OREC)
The center was established in 1999 to facilitate research in support of the endeavors of the faculty, fellows, residents and graduate students participating in the programs of the MCW Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and of the MU School of Dentistry and the MU Department of Biomedical Engineering.

The center brings together common threads within the disciplines of engineering, biomedical sciences, materials sciences, and clinical dentistry. The result is a unique environment for interdisciplinary applied research.

Human Motion Analysis Laboratory (Gait Lab)
The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation has collaborated with the Department of Orthopaedic Medicine and Marquette University to establish the Gait Lab. An agreement with the Gait Lab allows for the use of the facility without charge for resident research. Funded research budgets provide for financial support of the gait lab.

Rehabilitation Robotic Research and Design Lab (RRRD)
Established in 2004, the RRRD Lab is dedicated to the design, development and therapeutic use of novel, affordable, intelligent robotic / mechatronic and domotic assistants. It is affiliated with OREC and the Falk Neurorehabilitation Center at Marquette University.

The lab is focused on:

  • Examining underlying causes of upper limb impairment after neural disease, injury or cerebral accident.
  • Discovering effective methods to retrain functional recovery on daily living activities.
  • Developing new ways of facilitating independent living in daily living environments.

Contact Us

For more information on opportunities for collaboration, questions about research at the SRC, or questions on how to support research in PM&R.

Moriah Iverson, MS

Program Manager