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Physical therapy student studies a 3D model

Arthur J. Nelson, Jr. Human Performance Lab

Physical Therapy

Faculty and graduate student research is conducted at the Department of Physical Therapy's Arthur J. Nelson Jr. Human Performance Laboratory, named in honor of our esteemed former Department Chair. This state-of-the-art facility includes 2,000 square feet of dedicated research space.

Our primary research focus is in the area of pathokinesiology where motor control, cardiopulmonary, and biomechanical issues are investigated in both healthy and patient populations. Five full-time physical therapy members conduct research with collaborators in the New York metropolitan area and mentor MA and PhD student research.

Lab Director

Wen K. Ling

Chair and Associate Professor of Physical Therapy

Lab Equipment

  • Isokinetic dynamometer (Biodex, Shirley, NY)
  • Three-dimensional motion capture system (Qualisys, Gothenburg, Sweden) with real-time motion capture and analysis capabilities
  • Force plates and amplifiers (Kistler Inc, Amherst, NY)
  • Eight-channel EMG (Delsys, Boston, MA) with bipolar pre-amplified electrodes
  • Two four-channel EMG units (Therapeutics Unlimited, Iowa City, IA) with bipolar pre-amplified electrodes
  • In-shoe pressure measuring system (Pedar Inc, St Paul, MN) and Novel Database software
  • Oscilloscope (Tektonix, Beaverton, OR), Accelerometers (Kistler Inc, Amherst, NY), Foot switches (Manufacturer), Electrogoniometers (Manufacturer), External trigger (custom built), 64 channel A/D Board
  • Metabolic cart (Physiodyne, AEI Technologies, PA) with EKG, calibrated treadmill and bicycle ergometer
  • Infrared timing systems (FarmTek, Wylie, TX)


Specialized Software, Computing, and Other Resources

  • Visual3D (C-motion Inc, Bethesda, MD)
  • Labview 8.6 (National Instruments, Austin, TX)
  • SPSS 19 (IBM, Somers, NY)
  • PASS (NCSS, Kaysville, UT)
  • Desktops and laptops with data acquisition capabilities (NI DAQ)


A Sample of Our Current Projects

  • Virtual Reality Clinical Assessment of Visuomotor Function and Visual Integration for Postural Control for Patients with Vestibular Dysfunction (Anat Lubetzky, PT, PhD; Ken Perlin, PhD)
  • Body Functions, Activity Limitations and Participation Restrictions in Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain Who Choose to Undergo Lumbar Spine Surgery. (Anat Lubetzky, PT, PHD; Marilyn Moffat, PT, PhD, FAPTA)
  • Biochemical and Biomechanical Determinants of Pain in 1st MTP Joint OA (PI: Smita Rao, PT, PhD)
  • Kinematics, Kinetics, and Muscle Function in Women Who Habitually Wear High Heels Versus Women Who Do Not Habitually Wear High Heels (PI: Smita Rao, PT, PhD)
  • SMART-Move — Assessing Fall Risk Using Accelerometer-Based Smartphones (PIs: Smita Rao, PT, PhD; Marilyn Moffat, PT, PhD, FAPTA)
  • The Efficacy of Rocker Sole Shoes in Patients with Venous Ulcers (PIs: Smita Rao, PT, PhD; Louis Iannuzzi, PT, CPed; Miguel Sanchez, MD)


Affiliated Physical Therapy Faculty

Marilyn Moffat

Professor of Physical Therapy

Smita Rao PT, PhD

Inaugural Robert S. Salant Endowed Associate Professor of Physical Therapy

Anat Lubetzky

Associate Professor of Physical Therapy

Our Collaborators

Dr. Peter Walker, PhD

Research Professor
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, New York University School of Medicine
Department of Mechanical Engineering, NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering

Laboratory for Minimally Invasive Surgery

Dr. Howard Hillstrom, PhD

Leon Root M.D. Motion Analysis Laboratory, Hospital for Special Surgery

Dr. Leif Nelson, DPT, ATP, CSCS

VISN 3 Prosthetics Clinical Coordinator, Department of Veterans Affairs