Ericka N. Merriwether, PT, DPT, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy. Dr. Merriwether earned her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She earned her clinical doctorate in physical therapy (DPT) from the Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences, and her PhD in Movement Science from Washington University in St. Louis.
Dr. Merriwether’s research examines mechanisms underlying the pathobiology of obesity and chronic musculoskeletal pain. Her long-term research objective is to investigate how the interaction of multiple systems contributes to the development and progression of chronic musculoskeletal pain and movement dysfunction in obese adults. This research agenda is the culmination of her clinical and research training in biomechanics and pain mechanisms. Dr. Merriwether’s dissertation research studied biomechanical contributors to specific walking patterns, and the impact of modifying these aberrant patterns on foot stresses and loads in adults with diabetes. This work yielded peer-reviewed publications, and was presented at national scientific meetings. Her postdoctoral work examined the role of the immune system and its impact on pain and physical function in women with widespread chronic pain. This work has produced peer-reviewed manuscripts that have been published or in review, and has been presented at national scientific meetings.
Prior to her faculty appointment, Dr. Merriwether was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science at the University of Iowa. Her research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Foundation for Physical Therapy. She is currently a member of the American Physical Therapy Association and the American Pain Society. Dr. Merriwether has received several scholarships and awards, most recently the Wangari Maathai Graduate Service Award from Washington University in St. Louis, and induction into the Edward Bouchet Graduate Honors co-sponsored by Yale University and Howard University.