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Troy Blackburn, Ph.D, ATC
Assistant Chair and Professor, Exercise and Sport Science
Associate Director, MOTION Science Institute
Associate Dean, Undergraduate Research College of Arts and Science

Contact Information:
Email: troyb@email.unc.edu
Twitter: @BlackburnTroy

 

 

Dr. Blackburn’s research is focused on neuromuscular and biomechanical contributors to orthopaedic injury and disease, particularly knee pathologies. His current research efforts are aimed at understanding neuromechanical factors that influence the risk of developing post-traumatic knee osteoarthritis following ACL injury and novel rehabilitation approaches for reducing this risk.

 

Education
B.A. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
M.S. University of Pittsburgh
Ph.D University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

 

PubMed Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/1B9Unqs-o-7QP/bibliography/public/

Awards and Honors:

Fellow, National Academy of Kinesiology (2022)
Fellow, American College of Sports Medicine (2020)
Fellow, National Athletic Trainers’ Association (2020)
American College of Sports Medicine Biomechanics Interest Group Career Achievement Award (2022)
National Athletic Trainers’ Association Research & Education Foundation Freddie H. Fu New Investigator Award (2009)
National Athletic Trainers’ Association Research & Education Foundation David H. Perrin Doctoral Dissertation Award (2007)


Postdoctoral Fellows

Tom Birchmeier, PhD, ATC, CSCS

Education
BA Hope College
MS Indiana University
PhD Michigan State University

 

Tom Birchmeier is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Exercise and Sports Studies. He is the Research Coordinator for Dr. Troy Blackburn’s Department of Defense-funded clinical trial investigating the effects of vibration embedded in ACL reconstruction rehabilitation on quadriceps function and cartilage composition. Tom earned a Bachelor’s degree in athletic training from Hope College (2010) and completed his post-professional Master’s degree in athletic training at Indiana University (2012). He was the assistant athletic trainer and sports performance coordinator for strength and conditioning at Benedictine University (Lisle, IL) for 5 years before pursing his doctoral training at Michigan State University. Tom’s research focuses on risk factors for secondary traumatic knee injury after ACL reconstruction. He recently received a F32 Fellowship from the National Institute of Health National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. During the fellowship, Tom will be investigating the effects of vibration and ACL rehabilitation on jump landing biomechanics and quadriceps function after ACL reconstruction.

PubMed Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/1lU-y2ugPylspg/bibliography/public/

 


PhD Students

 

Alex Nilius, MS

Education
BS Southeastern University
MS University of Illinois at Chicago

Alex completed her MS in Kinesiology (Biomechanics) from University of Illinois at Chicago (2020) and her BS in Kinesiology (Exercise Science) from Southeastern University (2017). Alex’s research aims to decrease PTOA risk as athletes return to sport post ACLR.

 

 

Justin Dennis, MS, CSCS

Education
BS California Baptist University
MS California State University, Fullerton

Justin completed his MS in kinesiology-biomechanics from California State University, Fullerton (2022) and his BS in kinesiology-sports medicine from California Baptist University (2020). Justin’s research aims to optimize lower extremity coordinated strategies to mitigate primary and secondary ACL injury risk.


Undergraduate Research Assistants:

Macey Balk ‘24

Macey is a junior undergraduate student majoring in Biology. She enjoys being outdoors, exercising, and hanging out with friends.

 

 

 

 

 

Matt Ferreira ‘23

Matheus is a senior undergraduate student majoring in Biomedical Engineering. He enjoys playing soccer, hanging out with friends, and cheering on Liverpool in his free time.

 

 

 

 

Abigail Hamrick ‘23

Abigail is a senior undergraduate student double majoring in Exercise and Sport Science and Biology, with a minor in Neuroscience. She enjoys lifting weights, taking her dog on hikes, and going on adventures with her friends in her free time.

 

 

 

 

Nate Lopus ’24

Nate is a junior undergraduate student majoring in Biomedical Engineering and minoring in Neuroscience. He enjoys playing soccer, attending UNC sporting events, spending time at the lake, and hanging out with friends.

 

 

 

 

Lexi Rudolph ‘24

Lexi is a junior undergraduate student majoring in Exercise and Sport Science and double minoring in Neuroscience and Chemistry. She is on the swim team here at UNC and loves to compete and travel.

 

 

 

 

Patrick Smith ‘23

Patrick is a senior undergraduate student majoring in Exercise and Sport Science and Biology with a minor in Chemistry. He enjoys playing soccer and cheering on the Atlanta Braves during his free time.

 

 

 

 

Emma Tyndall ‘25

Emma is a sophomore undergraduate student double majoring in Exercise and Sport Science and Psychology. She is also a member of the Marching Tar Heels where she plays mellophone and serves on the leadership team as a social media manager.

 

 

 


Lab Group Alumni

Marc Norcross, PhD, ATC (2011), Associate Professor, College of Public Health and Human Sciences, Oregon State University.

Derek Pamukoff, PhD, ATC (2015), Assistant Professor, School of Kinesiology, Western University.

FJ Goodwin, PhD, DPT (2018), Assistant Professor, Physical Therapy Education, Elon University.

Chris Johnston, PhD, ATC (2020), Assistant Professor, Department of Athletic Training, High Point University.

Derek Dewig, PhD, ATC (2022), Research Scientist, Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, West Virginia University

 


Current Research Projects

The effects of vibration on indictors of post-traumatic knee osteoarthritis risk following anterior cruciate ligament injury

Effects of local muscle vibration on hamstrings function and landing biomechanics in individuals with ACL reconstruction using hamstrings tendon grafts

Effects of footwear on aberrant gait biomechanics in individuals with ACL reconstruction

Effects of local muscle vibration “prehabilitation” on quadriceps function, functional ability, and patient-reported outcomes in individuals scheduled for total knee replacement


Current Grant Funding

Blackburn (PI) (7/2021 – 6/2024)
The effects of vibration on indictors of post-traumatic knee osteoarthritis risk following anterior cruciate ligament injury
United States Department of Defense
Congressionally Directed Joint Warfighter Medical Research Program (JWMRP)
Funding Requested: $2,582,992

Birchmeier (PI) (9/2022 – 8/2024)
The effects of vibration on quadriceps function and landing biomechanics in individuals with anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction
National Institutes of Health
Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Postdoctoral Fellowship (F32)
Funding Awarded: $141,725