Archive: IEPRS Conference

UCF Institute of Exercise Physiology and Rehabilitation Science

January 27-28, 2023

STRONGER TOGETHER: Uniting the fields of exercise and rehabilitation science


Presented by Jeff G. Konin, Ph.D., ATC, PT, FACSM, FNATA

Cannabis in the forms of euphoric (THC Delta 8 & 9) and non-euphoric (CBD) applications have become more prevalent, more accepting to society of recent, and more questionable regarding the impact they have on exercise and performance. The goals of this presentation are to 1) distinguish between the different cannabinoids and their proposed therapeutic benefit to an individual’s health, 2) identify known risks and complications associated with cannabis use and abuse, and 3) propose future areas of research of most interest to an active population.

Presented by Clara Lau-Rosenow, Ph.D.

This presentation will provide an overview of the Beef Checkoff Nutrition Research Program supported by America’s farmers and ranchers to advance the understanding of beef’s role in a balanced and healthful diet across the lifespan. Specifically, Dr. Lau will review research exploring beef’s role in healthy aging with a focus on the impact on muscle health.

Presented by Katie Hirsch, Ph.D., EP-C, CISSN

Injury is an unavoidable part of exercise and sport participation that, depending on severity, results in short- or long-term abstention from exercise. During this time, nutritional strategies that can be implemented to mitigate loss of muscle mass and strength, facilitate healing, and promote faster return-to-play. The goal of this talk is to provide athletes/exercisers, athletic trainers, physical therapists, and medical professionals with practical information and strategies to nutritionally support the healing process. Topics to be discussed will include, caloric and macronutrient requirements of injury and surgery, pre-post surgery and physical rehabilitation nutrient timing strategies, and how dietary supplements can be used to overcome the many nutritional challenges that occur throughout the entire rehabilitative process.

Presented by Alisa J. Johnson, Ph.D., L.M.T

Chronic pain remains a significant public health challenge, with more than 1 in 5 American adults reporting pain on most days. Chronic pain is associated with reduced quality of life, increased health expenditures, and significant personal and economic costs. Chronic pain frequently occurs in back, hip, and knee regions and is a leading cause of disability in older adults. Non-pharmacological interventions, such as physical therapy and massage, are among the top self-reported pain management strategies. Exercise improves pain, yet adherence remains challenging. Increasing evidence suggests interventions that target both physiological and psychological aspects of chronic MSK pain are required for optimal outcomes. The lecture will provide an overview of chronic MSK pain according to the biopsychosocial model, and present the current evidence and rationale for developing targeted multicomponent non-pharmacological interventions, with an eye toward future research initiatives.

Presented by Eric Ryan, Ph.D.

First responders (e.g. firefighters, law enforcement officers) experience one of the highest rates of occupational injuries. This lecture will detail the current burden of injuries among first responders and discuss novel strategies and lessons learned to maximize health and job performance.

Presented by Joseph Myers, Ph.D., ATC

Over the past decade, there has been a boon of professional sports organizations aiming to integrate the performance (or sports) science discipline in their organization. The various subdisciplines under the performance science umbrella, can contribute to the development, performance, health, and wellness of the organization’s players. But, to truly integrate the discipline, and have it impactful to the organization, it takes more than just adding a performance scientist (or performance science staff) to staff. It requires thoughtful melding of the disciplinary science, into current practices and future processes within the organization. Using professional baseball as a model, this presentation will focus on the practices, challenges and successes associated with integrating a professional sports organization.

Presented by Mark Bowden, PT, Ph.D.

Most individuals post-stroke have dramatically impaired strength, balance, mobility, and endurance, which greatly decreases their ability to participate in physical activity once they have completed rehabilitation. Decreased walking ability strongly contributes to dramatically reduced levels of regular physical activity (PA), and decreased PA is a strong, modifiable risk factor for stroke. The 2021 AHA Secondary Prevention Guidelines strongly recommend that patients who have had a TIA or stroke and who are capable of PA engage in PA three to five days/week to lower the likelihood of major adverse cardiac events. Despite these guidelines, current post-stroke physical rehabilitation does not enable the majority of patients post-stroke to meet these PA recommendations. The proposed treatment framework could fill an important gap in current post-stroke care programs that will enable individuals to engage in physical activity that might prevent further strokes, heart attacks, and death. The supporting data have emerged from years of investigation into walking recovery, highlighting the emergent need for a combination of strength, balance, mobility, and endurance training.

Presented by Gianluca De Luca, M.S.

Advances in sensors measuring electromyographic (EMG) activity have made impactful contributions toward understanding questions of fatigue, locomotion, power output, coordination, control, and metabolic cost in the field of biomechanics. Similar advances in wearable technologies for measuring VO2, NIRS-based muscle oxygenation, and exercise power output have simplified access to complex measures in the domain of exercise physiology. Progress in linking these disparate measures to obtain a comprehensive picture of human performance has been challenging due to the lack of interoperability between wearable sensor technologies, and the absence of a single system for acquiring unified, time-synchronized datasets. We present a case study showing the ability for Trigno Link technology to integrate EMG muscle activation profiles, with system-wide VO2 usage, muscle oxygen usage, breathing rate and heart rate to show how physiological subsystems work together to adapt to changing load requirements.

Presented by Lindsey K. Lepley Ph.D., ATC

Atrophy that occurs after ACL injury continues despite being actively engaged in exercise. Recognizing the multitude of factors and cascade of events that are present and negatively influencing the regulation of muscle mass after ACL injury will likely enable clinicians to design more effective interventions. This session will present the mechanisms by which muscle mass is lost after ACL injury and evidence in support of alternative exercise interventions to optimize muscle recovery after injury.

Presented by Michael Harris-Love, PT, MPT, DSc, FGSA, FAPTA

The assessment of muscle health is critical to maintaining the functional independence of aging adults with chronic conditions. The use of second order texture features to estimate muscle composition is an emerging approach to quantify muscle dysfunction and enhance the sarcopenia diagnostic algorithm. The goals of this presentation are to 1) review the rationale for using texture analysis in the assessment of muscle tissue, 2) compare this approach with conventional forms of musculoskeletal ultrasound image analysis, and 3) determine if texture analysis adds value to the assessment of sarcopenia.

Presented by Adam J. Wells, Ph.D., CSCS*D, SCYM(ASCP)CM

This presentation will define cognitive function and examine the scope of cognitive assessment as it relates to sport and exercise. Dr. Wells will touch on the latest research on cognition and exercise with emphasis on his labs work to establish appropriate testing guidelines for various cognitive assessments. The potential for cognitive enhancement using nutritional ergogenics will also be explored, highlighting some of the most recent research coming from the Kinesiology Labs at UCF.


Presenting Sponsor: Delsys Incorporated
Session Sponsors: Atlas Rehabilitation, International Society of Sports Nutrition, B Physical Therapy Oviedo, AD Instruments, Society for NeuroSports,, Barbell Medicine, Jali Medical
Champion Sponsors: Prevail Strength & Conditioning

February 25-26, 2022

Finding Strength: Drawing synergies from exercise physiology and rehabilitation


Presented by Bridget McFadden, Ph.D., CSCS*D

As the field of sport science has grown, so has the technology available to provide insight into athlete health, readiness, recovery, and performance. From both a basic and applied science standpoint, endocrine, biochemical, and nutritional markers have established utility for examining mechanisms underlying the effects of exercise and diet on health and performance. Fortunately, the use of these fundamental scientific measures is not limited to the laboratory bench. By incorporating their assessment into exercise and dietary programs, individuals and athletes can not only quantify progress and changes in overall health, but they can also help determine the effectiveness of training programs and recovery strategies to optimize performance. This presentation will focus on identifying athlete assessment strategies including timing, chosen markers, and application of the results to enhance training and overall health in both males and females. Finally, we will touch on unique biomarker responses in female athletes in relation to oral contraceptive use, the association between training loads and iron status, and the role of nutrition to improve recovery.

Presented by Janet Simon, Ph.D., AT

Annually, ~8.5 million high school and collegiate athletes participate in competitive sport. While physical activity offers many benefits, it also poses risks to long-term health. Competitive sport increases risk for injury (e.g., knee injury) and may increase the risk of early onset of chronic diseases (e.g., osteoarthritis), chronic pain, poor health-related quality of life, and disability. Evidence indicates former athletes in mid-life perform worse on functional tests and have reduced health-related quality of life compared to non-athlete peers. This talk will cover injury epidemiology, measuring health-related quality of life, the impact of participating in sport on future health-related quality of life, and how to improve future outcomes following an athletic injury.

Presented by Brian Pietrosimone, Ph.D., ATC

Individuals with an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury and reconstruction are at high risk of developing osteoarthritis which leads to chronic disability and eventually joint replacement early in life. Changes in the way patients move early after injury impacts biological changes to the joint that hasten the development of osteoarthritis. This lecture explains how movement biomechanics influence biological changes at the joint and how we can modify movement biomechanics to maximize long term joint health following injury.

Presented by Catherine Saenz, Ph.D., RD, CSCS

As performance nutrition evolves, we continue to learn more details about how to optimize performance plates for female athletes. In this talk, we’ll dive deeper into specific areas of female physiology that nutrition may help support and the emerging scientific works to better understand the nutrient metabolism and underlying mechanisms involved. Finally, we’ll focus on how to translate this information to help optimize and personalize dietary prescription for female athletes to support their health, performance, and recovery.

Presented by Mark D. Bishop, PT, PhD, FAPTA

Pain is vital to homeostasis and survival. Pain also has the dual aspects of a symptom and a disease. Such duality has been challenging to incorporate into management strategies typically used in allopathic healthcare. Broader understanding of the differences between pain the symptom and pain the disease is expected to improve outcomes for the millions of people who experience painful conditions.

Presented by Summer Cook, Ph.D.

Blood flow restricted resistance training employs the use of low-loads while wearing a compressive cuff around the proximal limb to reduce blood flow to the exercising muscles. This presentation will focus on the acute changes and long-term adaptations associated with blood flow restricted resistance training in various populations. Special emphasis will be placed on the feasibility and acceptability of this type of training in clinical and fitness environments.

Presented by Lori Ploutz-Snyder, Ph.D.

It is well known that muscle size, strength, and endurance decline during periods of disuse and that exercise can, at least theoretically, mitigate the declines. Dr. Ploutz-Snyder will delve into the complex relationship among muscle function, disuse, resistance and aerobic exercise training. She will discuss how NASA funded spaceflight and bed rest exercise studies can provide insight to better target exercise interventions for clinical populations.

Presented by Christopher Fry, Ph.D.

Proper remodeling of the extracellular matrix is essential to support overload-induced skeletal muscle hypertrophy. Reciprocal interaction between muscle fibers and their associated matrix encompasses mechanical, biochemical and paracrine signaling during periods of adaptation. Additionally, crosstalk between the extracellular matrix and skeletal muscle stem cells further facilitates exercise responsiveness.

Presented by Michael D. Twardowski, Ph.D.

Throughout the history of neuroscience, the understanding of human movement has depended, in part, on our ability to measure the firings of α motoneurons, the final common pathway of inputs from the central nervous system to the muscle fibers they innervate. The study of these anatomical pathways, collectively referred to as the motor unit, and their resulting action potentials in the electromyographic signal has been established as a viable means of interrogating the neuromuscular system. Historically, the process of identifying these action potentials – whether visually or by means of computer algorithms – has generally been limited to low force isometric or cyclo-stationary contractions, due to the computational and algorithmic intractability of processing dynamic surface EMG signals, which are nonstationary and contain larger numbers of motor units. In this talk, we will present recent advances in neural interface technology that provides access to real-time motor unit information during dynamic movements and their applications in exercise and rehabilitation.

Presented by Robert Newton, Ph.D., DSc, AEP, CSCS*D, FACSM, ESSAF, FNSCA

The relationship between physical activity, cancer progression and survival is well-established and we are rapidly increasing knowledge of the mechanisms underlying exercise as a medicine for neoadjuvant, adjuvant and rehabilitation therapy within cancer supportive care. Such understanding is essential to optimally describe exercise mode, intensity, volume and timing as well as potentially inform development of new exogenous pharmaceutical agents. Targeted exercise ameliorates many side effects of traditional cancer treatments and actually enhances the effectiveness of radiation and chemotherapy. In this presentation we will explore some of the mechanisms by which exercise directly influences cancer biology as well as the pragmatic implementation of exercise medicine for patients with cancer.

Presented by Richard B. Kreider, Ph.D., FACSM, FASEP, FISSN, FACN, FNAK

Creatine supplementation is one of the most studied and effective ergogenic aids for athletes. The multifaceted mechanisms by which creatine exerts its beneficial effect include increasing anaerobic energy capacity, increasing protein synthesis, and decreasing protein breakdown, leading to increased muscle mass and physical performance. While these well-recognized creatine effects benefit the athlete, creatine may also serve as a potential clinical and therapeutic supplementary treatment to conventional medical interventions. Several studies have examined the effects on conditions such as diabetes, sarcopenia, osteoporosis, cancer, rehabilitation, and pulmonary and cardiovascular health. This lecture aims to provide comprehensive reviews of creatine supplementation effects for health and clinical diseases.

Presented by François Billaut, Ph.D.

Oxygen is critical to human survival; therefore, our bodies have developed sophisticated multicellular mechanisms and organismal reflexes to adapt to oxygen deficiency – hypoxia. Research has shown that exposure to moderate doses of hypoxia can enhance several physiological functions as well as physical fitness. This presentation will discuss the scientific bases for hypoxic and ischemic conditioning modalities as they relate to health and sport performance, and provide practical applications for safe and efficient implementation.

Presented by William McCormack, Ph.D., ACSM-CEP

This presentation will review the 5-plus years of research conducted with the Loyola Marymount University Men’s and Women’s Cross-Country Team. Research included an examination of performance factors predicting 3,000 meter run performance and the relationship between neuromuscular economy and aerobic fitness. The health analysis included tests of bone mineral density across a two-year timeframe and dietary analysis to analyze energy availability and dietary restraint.


Presenting Sponsor: Delsys Incorporated
Session Sponsors: Atlas Rehabilitation, International Society of Sports Nutrition, Biodex Medical Systems, B Physical Therapy Oviedo, Track Shack
Champion Sponsors: F.A. Davis, Jali Medical, NextStep Orlando, Prevail Strength And Conditioning

March 26, 2021

Celebrating Resilience: Testing the Limits of Human Performance


Presented by Dustin Grooms, Ph.D. ATC, CSCS – Ohio University

A commonly overlooked aspect of musculoskeletal injury is the nervous system’s contributions to primary injury and how the nervous system responds after injury. This is due in part to limitations in technology to directly measure the nervous system in relation to orthopedic injury and motor control. Over the past several years our lab and others have had breakthroughs to quantify the nervous system contributions to orthopedic injuries, such as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury and implications on sensorimotor function. The neuroplasticity associated with musculoskeletal trauma includes increased cortical and depressed cerebellar activity and connectivity to regulate movement and altered sensory integration, allowing compensatory nervous system reorganization that can impair performance when attempting return-to-sport. Rehabilitation techniques will be discussed that include: motor learning methods, low-cost smartphone virtual reality, sensory reweighting, augmented reality biofeedback, and enriched environment techniques that leverage the neuroplastic capacity of the nervous system to facilitate motor control improvement, reduce injury risk and improve patient outcomes.

Presented by Sandra A Billinger, PT, Ph.D., FAHA – University of Kansas Medical Center

Aerobic exercise benefits cardiovascular health and walking performance after stroke. We lack understanding in how exercise interventions may support brain health and secondary stroke prevention. Our current work studies the cerebrovascular response to an acute bout of exercise. Understanding the acute exercise response may inform benefit after longer exercise interventions. Our long-term goal in this line of research is to fully understand the role of exercise prescription parameters on stroke recovery and translate this knowledge into effective therapeutic strategies for stroke rehabilitation.

Presented by Adriaan Louw, PT, Ph.D. – Evidence in Motion/University of Nevada, Las Vegas

In recent years, pain neuroscience education (PNE) emerged as a viable treatment for persistent pain. Current best-evidence supports its ability to ease pain, disability, fear-avoidance, catastrophizing and limited movement. Additionally, it has been shown that PNE’s efficacy increases with the addition treatments commonly used by rehabilitation providers including exercises, manual therapy, mindfulness, relaxation, sleep hygiene and more. This presentation will showcase the evolution, evidence and clinical application of pain neuroscience education. This presentation is applicable to all healthcare providers treating people experiencing pain in all clinical settings. Know pain; know gain.

Presented by Riann Palmieri-Smith, Ph.D., ATC – University of Michigan

Dr. Palmieri-Smith will discuss the common neuromuscular and biomechanical sequelae that result after ACL injury and reconstruction.  She will also present interventions and/or treatment approaches that may be used to target these consequences.

Presented by Ciaran Fairman, Ph.D., CSCS, CET – University of South Carolina

Cancer and its treatments are associated with a variety of physiological and psychosocial impairments such as the loss of bone and muscle. Left untreated, these result in an exponential decline in physical function and an increased risk of developing comorbidities and ultimately, mortality. It has been increasingly recognized that the distinct physiological impairments from different tumor and their anti-cancer therapies, require targeted interventions to arrest and reverse these changes. The lecture will cover provide an overview of the current evidence and rationale for the investigation of resistance training in cancer and present areas of future research.

Presented by Meghan Downs, Ph.D. – NASA Johnson Space Center

Microgravity is an atrophic environment and significant losses in aerobic fitness, muscle strength, and bone health occur if exercise countermeasures are not adequate. In the next few years astronauts will return to the lunar surface where they will live and explore for increasingly longer durations. Space exploration beyond low-earth orbit will be more physically and cognitively demanding due to the partial gravity environment, more frequent extravehicular activity (EVA), communication delays, food systems, and landing scenarios. The current International Space Station (ISS) exercise hardware is not fully protective but is sufficient to maintain ISS microgravity task performance requirements. New exploration vehicles and habitats will be smaller than ISS and will not have the space for the ISS hardware. As a result, new more robust and smaller exercise hardware and software systems are needed to support human performance in exploration spaceflight. This presentation will provide an update on the current state of knowledge of physiological adaptations to spaceflight and the challenges to optimizing astronaut performance capabilities as we enter the exploration era of spaceflight.

Presented by Duncan French, Ph.D., CSCS,*D – UFC Performance Institute

Mixed martial arts (MMA) represents one of the most complex challenges in athlete preparation with respect to the technical, tactical, physical, physiological, psychological and nutritional requirements needed for success. For these reasons, preparing MMA athletes for competition requires a comprehensive understanding of not only the competition itself, but the respective attributes of each athlete and the means by which they can succeed. This includes a comprehensive awareness of both strength/power characteristics as well as energy systems and bioenergetics, and the sensitivity to make acute physiological adaptations via appropriate training interventions necessary for competition (e.g., opponent fight style, fight tactics). This presentation will explore the complexity of the physiological considerations that need to be made in supporting the world’s best combat athletes for the most demanding competition arena in all of sport.

Presented by Abbie Smith-Ryan, Ph.D., FNSCA, FACSM, FISSN – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The scientific basis for high intensity interval training (HIIT) will be discussed as it relates to rehabilitative potential, metabolic adaptations, and performance. With the growing knowledge of HIIT, an important look at the impact of nutritional intake and sex-based considerations will be presented.


Presenting Sponsor: Delsys Incorporated
Session Sponsors: Atlas Rehabilitation, Biodex Medical Systems, NeuLife Rehab, B Physical Therapy Oviedo, TriPT
Champion Sponsors: COSMED, Jali Medical, Prevail Strength And Conditioning

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