Interdisciplinary Graduate Education in Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences

Project: Research project

Project Details


The goal of this training program is to seek continued support of a relatively new Interdisciplinary Graduate Education in Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences (IGE-MRS) program, created at Northwestern University between the departments of Biomedical, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the departments of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Physiology and Medicine. The mission of the IGE-MRS program is to expose engineering students to a graduate education that combines engineering, neurobiology and physical therapy and human movement sciences course work along with the associated research experiences through a DPT (Doctor in Physical Therapy) - PhD (Engineering) dual degree. The IGE-MRS program is the first program of its kind in the US to combine solid training in fundamental neurobiology and clinical physical therapy with a solid education in various engineering disciplines. This interdisciplinary training allows for the development of the scientific basis required for understanding the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying movement disorders and for designing effective rehabilitation interventions and devices. The program is comprised of mentoring engineers, neuroscientists and clinicians, and contains a broad range of expertise relevant to movement and rehabilitation science and physical therapy. The training faculty have research interests that fall loosely into three main areas: Neurobiology of movement behavior and disorders, Rehabilitation device and interface development, and Musculoskeletal Pathophysiology and Modeling. Northwestern University has a long and recognized history in the study of motor control, motor disability and recovery, and neural reorganization. Extensive research is performed in these areas at various levels, from basic animal and human studies, focused on the control of movement and movement disorders, to the development of novel rehabilitation interventions and devices that address movement disorders. This provides a robust translational environment for our IGE-MRS trainees. In this renewal application, we seek to continue to build our program based on past experience and increase our impact through enhancements designed to formalize the integration between engineering and clinical education in our training program, recruit and enroll a more diverse trainee pool, and strengthen the career development opportunities that facilitate the transition from trainee to independent clinical scientist. Through these innovations and the successful practices we already have in place, we fully expect to continue advancing the science and practice of movement and rehabilitation science by training the next generation of DPT-PhDs in Engineering. We intend to support a total of 6 DPT-PhD students per year during this competitive renewal. The NIH program will provide support for a total of two years of PhD training per trainee. Northwestern will support the first year of training, supplement tuition during the two years of NIH support, and will fully support the DPT training of this unique dual degree training program.
Effective start/end date7/1/166/30/21


  • National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (5T32EB009406-10)


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