CURRENT PROJECTS
(since 2014)

Shoulder

Title: USA Baseball Long Term Athlete Development
PI: Joseph Myers
Research Team: Avery Faigenbaum, JD Defreese, Lindsay DiStefano, James Onate, Elizabeth Hibberd, Brett Pexa
Description: The research team will put together recommendations for USA Baseball’s Long Term Athlete Development program. The interdisciplinary approach will use research from various disciplines to address athlete well-being, overuse injury, development of strength, power, and endurance and lifetime success in the sport of baseball.

Title: Tart Cherry drink effects on recovery following baseball pitching
PI: Joseph Myers
Research Team: Eric Ryan, Anthony Hackney, Brett Pexa
Description: Previous work demonstrates that eccentric load associated with baseball pitching results in swelling of the infraspinatus, with accompanying change in glenohumeral flexibility. Infraspinatus swelling and flexibility measurements provide markers for both trauma that results from pitching and a means to monitor recovery following pitching. The use of tart cherry juice has shown to help in recovery of musculoskeletal trauma following eccentric activity. The purpose of this study was to compare changes in measures of infraspinatus swelling, biomedical markers, and humeral rotation flexibility daily, up to 7 days following a bout of pitching in pitchers that drink tart cherry juice versus those that drink a placebo.

Title: Recovery of Infraspinatus Cross-Sectional Area, Echo Intensity, and Glenohumeral Range of Motion Following Baseball Pitching
PI: Brett Pexa
Research Team: Joseph Myers, Eric Ryan, Liz Teel, Elizabeth Hibberd, Terri Jo Rucinski
Description: Previous work demonstrates that the eccentric loads associated with baseball pitching result in swelling of the infraspinatus, with accompanying change in glenohumeral flexibility. Infraspinatus swelling and flexibility measurements may provide markers for both trauma that results from pitching and a means to monitor recovery following pitching. The purpose of this study was to longitudinally track changes in measures of infraspinatus swelling (cross-sectional area and echo intensity) and humeral rotation flexibility daily, up to 7 days following a bout of pitching.

Knee

Title: Vibratory stimuli: A novel rehabilitation method for preventing post-traumatic knee osteoarthritis
PI: Troy Blackburn
Research Team: FJ Goodwin, Matt Harkey, Isaac Durrington, Andrew Allen, Brian Pietrosimone, Darin Padua, Paul Weinhold, Joanne Jordan, Yvonne Golightly, Jeff Spang, Todd Schwartz, Kelli Allen
Description: Quadriceps dysfunction and compromised sensorimotor function following anterior cruciate ligament injury and surgical reconstruction are thought to contribute to development of post-traumatic knee osteoarthritis. Vibratory stimuli have been demonstrated to enhance muscle function and proprioception. This study will evaluate the effects of indirect (whole body vibration) and direct (local muscle vibration) vibratory stimuli on knee proprioception and gait biomechanics linked to cartilage degradation in individuals who have undergone anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.
Funding Agency: US Department of Defense

Title: Biomarkers and Biomechanical Predictors of Osteoarthritis in ACL-Injured Patients
PI: Joanne Jordan
Research Team: Brian Pietrosimone, Darin Padua, Troy Blackburn
Description: Longitudinally collecting biomarker, biomechanics, and MRI outcome measures in patients following ACL injury prior to, 6 months, and 12 months following reconstruction surgery.

Title: Physical Readiness and Integrated Movement Efficiency Testing (PRIME)
PI: Darin Padua
Research Team: Padua DA, Mauntel TC, Frank BS, Stanely LE, Goto S
Description: The aim of this project is to develop movement and range of motion profiles of incoming collegiate varsity athletes. Once these profiles are developed they can be used to track recovery following musculoskeletal injury, help identify prospective injury risk factors, and aid in the development of injury prevention strategies to minimize the risk and consequences of sport related musculoskeletal injuries.
Funding Agency: None.

Title: Relationships between measures of muscle function, neural excitability and physical performance in healthy individuals.
PI: Brian Pietrosimone
Research Team (if applicable): Troy Blackburn and Matthew Harkey
Description: The purpose of this study is to determine if quadriceps strength, activation, and isokinetic power are associated with physical performance in healthy adults. Additionally spinal reflex and corticospinal excitability will be assessed to determine the contribution of neural excitability to muscle function. Identification of which factors are most associated with physical performance may allow for identification of targets for future interventions that seek to improve physical performance in those with lower extremity injury and pathology.
Funding Agency: N/A

Title: Feasibility of implementing a 6-week maintenance program in individuals who have undergone anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: a pilot study.
PI: Brian Pietrosimone
Research Team: Darin Padua, Troy Blackburn, Abbie Smith-Ryan, Laura Stanley
Description: The purpose of this study is to determine the effects of an intervention which simultaneously targets aberrant lower extremity biomechanics and lower extremity muscle strength and power in individuals who have returned to physical activity following ACL reconstruction. Lower extremity biomechanics, muscle function and muscle quality will be assessed before and following completion of the intervention.
Funding Agency: N/A

Title: The KNEEhabilitation Study: Improving Disability in Individuals with Knee Osteoarthritis
PI: Brian Pietrosimone
Research Team: Brian Pietrosimone, Troy Blackburn, Brittney Luc
Description: Utilizing disinhibitory TENS to improve disability outcomes in patients with knee osteoarthritis.

Title: Investigation of the Influence of Injury Biomechanics on Training Load Responses to Controlled Exercise Exposure
PI: Barnett Frank
Research Team: Darin A. Padua. Steven Marshall. Anthony Hackney, DSc. Claudio Battaglini, Troy Blackburn, Laura Stanley, Hanna Giermann, Megan Brunnemer, Stacey Cutrell, Kathleen Connell
Description: The aim of this study is to determine the effects of lower extremity movement profiles linked to injury on the body’s physiological response to exercise. Circulating biomarkers of musculoskeletal and systemic stress will be compared between individuals with high and low injury risk movement profiles prior to and after sport-like exercise exposure.

Title: The Influence of Biomechanics on Biomarkers of Skeletal Stress During Army Cadet Basic Training
PI: Tim Mauntel
Research Team: Mauntel TC, Cameron KL, Hackney AC, Marshall SW, Pietrosimone BG
Description: The aim of this project is to characterize the effects of lower extremity biomechanics on biomarkers representing skeletal stress during military training. We hypothesize individuals with aberrant biomechanics will have biomarker profiles more indicative of high skeletal stress following military training than individuals without aberrant biomechanics. Our approach will be to measure lower extremity biomechanics using a field expedient movement assessment (Landing Error Scoring System) and biomarkers of bone synthesis and resorption (turnover) in United States Army cadets completing basic training at the United States Military Academy. We anticipate individuals with aberrant biomechanics to have biomarker profiles more indicative of bone resorption than synthesis. The findings of this project will help guide interventions to reduce injury risks and positively impact our military’s physical readiness.
Funding Agency: National Athletic Trainers’ Association Research & Education Foundation – Doctoral Research Grant Program.

Ankle

Title: Dynamic Reweighting in those with Chronic Ankle Instability
PI: Wikstrom
Research Team: KT Song
Description: Dynamic reweighting within sensory inputs is a hallmark of a healthy sensorimotor system. Preliminary evidence suggests that those with chronic ankle instability have altered reweighting strategies relative to uninjured controls. This investigation aims to better understand the shifts between sensory inputs (visual, vestibular, and somatosensory) as well as within the somatosensory inputs.
Funding Agency: NA

Exercise Science

Title: Neuromuscular determinants of functional balance performance in firefighter personnel
PI: Eric Ryan, PhD
Research Team (if applicable): T.J. Barnette, BA; Gena Gerstner, MPH, MS; Andrew Tweedell, MA; Craig Kleinberg, MA
Description: The purpose of this study will be to examine the influence of lower extremity neuromuscular function on functional balance performance in career firefighters (ages 18-50).
Funding Agency: NC Occupational Safety and Health Education and Research Center (NIOSH Parent Grant #T42OH008673)

Title: The influence of obesity on motor unit behavior in children
PI: Eric Ryan, PhD
Research Team (if applicable): Martin Kohlmeier, MD, PhD; Trent Herda, PhD; Michael Trevino, MS; Gena Gerstner, MPH, MS; Erica Roelofs, MA; Andrew Tweedell, MA; Craig Kleinberg, MA
Description: The primary purpose of the present study is to determine if motor unit behavior is different between obese and lean children using surface electromyography (EMG). However, given the quantity of information from surface EMG may be influenced by subcutaneous fat thickness, the secondary aim is to determine which lower extremity muscle provides the most detectable motor units with surface EMG in obese children (ages 7–10).
Funding Agency: UNC Nutritional Research Institute

Title: The effect of a meal replacement shake on energy intake, body composition, blood lipids, skeletal muscle characteristics, simulated performance and quality of life in overweight and obese firefighters
PI: Eric Ryan, PhD
Research Team (if applicable): Andrew Tweedell, MA; Abbie Smith-Ryan, PhD; Anthony Hackney, PhD; Craig Kleinberg, MA; Harry Stafford, MD; T.J. Barnette, BA; Gena Gerstner, MPH, MS
Description: The purpose of this study will be to examine the effect of a 14-week commercially available meal replacement shake intervention on energy intake, resting heart rate and blood pressure, body composition, blood lipids, skeletal muscle characteristics, stair climb performance and quality of life, hunger and satiety in overweight and obese firefighters.
Funding Agency: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill