As someone interested in pursuing a doctor of physical therapy degree, you may just be starting to explore all of the areas of this great and diverse field. Physical therapy is full of specialties and niches- there are many opportunities to find a career path that best suits you. Whether you want to specialize in certain conditions, modalities, or populations, there is a way to align your career with your personal interests within the field.

There is also a lot of exciting research going on in the world of physical therapy- from gaining more understanding on how pain works, to new modalities, to better educating physical therapy students- there is so much that we can learn more about from a research standpoint. Amazing professionals in universities all over the country are tackling these questions and many more to better what we know about how to manage pain, prevent injury, and best serve our patients. In order to help you explore all of the interesting research that is happening, we interview prominent professors at various universities to gain insight on what they are learning, as well as what advice they have for new students.


Dr. Tonya Apke

Dr. ApkeDr. Apke is currently President of the Ohio Chapter of the APTA and just completed two terms as the Membership Secretary of the APTA Academy of Education Clinical Education Special Interest Group. She has been a DCE for 20 years at two academic programs. Her research interests include clinical education models, impact of student clinicals on clinician productivity and leadership development. She teaches in the areas of professional issues, clinical education and health care policy.


Dr. Amanda Arnold

Dr. Amanda ArnoldAmanda Arnold, PhD, DPT, OCS, SCS is currently in her 3rd year as an assistant professor at the Louisiana State University Health Science Center in New Orleans. She has nearly 10 years of clinical experience, in a variety of sport and orthopaedic settings, with a passion for promoting post-professional education through residency and fellowship training. Her primary research interests include understanding athletic performance and injury risk in overhead athletes with an emphasis in youth and adolescent populations.


Sonja K. Bareiss PhD, PT

Dr. BareissDr. Bareiss’ research has been dedicated to understanding the development and treatment of pain and neurodegenerative disease and injury. Her work aims at understanding mechanisms that regulate nervous system plasticity as it relates to pain following injury (spinal cord injury) and neurodegenerative disease.


Dr. Sarah Blanton

Dr. BlantonDr. Blanton is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Humanities in Rehabilitation, an international and peer reviewed, multi-media journal using a collaborative model with rehabilitation professionals, patients and their families to gain a greater understanding of the human experience of disability through art, literature and narrative.


Dr. Connie Bogard 

Dr. Connie BogardConnie Bogard PT, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Mayo Clinic Doctoral Program in Physical Therapy.  Dr. Bogard has been a physical therapist for 37 years and employed at Mayo Clinic, Rochester Minnesota for her entire career. Her research interests include fall prevention, health and wellness, Parkinson Disease and Pediatrics. She has a long history of involvement in pro bono community based programming for fall prevention with the Rochester area Falls Prevention Coalition, and she is a leader for Matter of Balance and Stepping On.


Ryan Boggs, PT, DPT, DSc(c) Cert. VRS 

Dr. BoggsDr. Boggs is an assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at Daemen College in Amherst NY. He is currently a Doctoral Candidate in the Doctor of Science program at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions where he is investigating retrograde axonal atrophy in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome. He is currently the At-Large officer for the Neuromusculoskeletal Ultrasound SIG of the ACEWM.


Dr. Andrea Bowens, PT, DPT, OCS

Dr. BowensAndrea Bowens has been a physical therapist for over 10 years, spending the first 7 years working in clinical practice. She currently serves as a Delegate and Education Chair for the Alabama Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). Additionally, She is an item-writer for the Orthopaedic Specialist certification exam and spends time outside of the classroom assisting medically underserved populations in the clinical setting alongside DPT students. 


Dr. Shefali Christopher

Dr. ChristopherDr. Christopher is a board-certified clinical specialist in sports physical therapy, who joined the Elon faculty in June 2017. Dr. Christopher enjoys the pedagogical challenges the classroom brings, communicating concepts in a variety of ways to best fit a diverse set of learning styles. She enjoys mentoring students who want to pursue careers in sports. Her clinical passion lies in treating endurance athletes. She enjoys evaluating faulty swimming, biking, and running mechanics as well as performing bike fit evaluations. She has given numerous talks at local and national conferences on treating triathletes. Dr. Christopher ‘s research is focused on postpartum athletes return to their sport safely and is researching pain risk factors and characteristics in postpartum runners as her Ph.D. study plan.


Dr. Susan Effgen

Dr. EffgenSusan Effgen, PT, PhD, FAPTA is Professor Emerita and former Director of the Rehabilitation Sciences Doctoral Program at the University of Kentucky. As co-chair of the APTA’s then Section on Pediatrics Government Affairs Committee, she was active in the authorization and reauthorization process of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The Academy’s Advocacy Award is now given in her name. She has served on several editorial boards, including Physical Therapy, and authored the text Meeting the Physical Therapy Needs of Children.

Dr. Carla Enriquez

Dr. EnriquezDr. Carla Enriquez is an Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy at Stockton University located in Galloway, NJ and has been a practicing clinician for 20 years, specializing in orthopedic conditions and chronic pain. She is a Board-Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties.


Dr. Carol Figuers

Carol FiguersDr. Carol Figuers is currently a Professor in the Duke University Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. She teaches throughout the Professional Practice course series as well as directs the Women’s Health Advance Practice Courses. She served as the director of the Duke Women’s Health Residency Program and provided clinical services to the clinical practice in women’s health. Dr. Figuers’ current areas of research and scholarship interests are in Women’s Health. She has received funding for projects which have resulted in both presentations and publications, particularly focusing on pelvic floor dysfunction in female athletes as well as physical activity in postpartum women.


Dr. Kevin Ford

Dr. FordDr. Ford is a Professor at High Point University in the Department of Physical Therapy and Director of the Human Biomechanics and Physiology Laboratory. His research involves innovative studies, which answer the question of why devastating injuries occur and to determine how they can be prevented. He analyzes the biomechanics of complex movement patterns and sport skills that relate to prevention of injury or enhanced performance in a variety of populations from healthy athletes to patients suffering from traumatic injuries. 


Dr. John Halle

Dr. HalleDr. Halle has been with the Belmont Physical Therapy Program since 1997, serving as Chair and Associate Dean from 2005 through May of 2013.  He is currently a Professor working within the School of Physical Therapy. His professional areas of interest are in anatomy, electrophysiological evaluation, orthopaedics and sports medicine. Dr. Halle also maintains a practice performing clinical electrophysiologic testing at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and has an adjunct appointment within the Department of Medical Education and Administration, at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.  At Vanderbilt, Dr. Halle has taught the first year medical students gross anatomy since 2001.


Dr. Russell Hepple

Dr. HeppleDr. Russell Hepple is a Professor of Muscle Biology in the Department of Physical Therapy, hired under UF’s preeminence campaign. Dr. Hepple leads a lab focused upon understanding the mechanisms of neuromuscular impairment in aging and age-related diseases such as chronic obstructive lung disease, and mechanisms of healthy aging in novel populations such as world-class masters track and field athletes


Dr. Shivayogi V Hiremath

Dr. HiremathDr. Shivayogi V Hiremath is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, College of Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia. He directs the Personal Health Informatics and Rehabilitation Engineering Laboratory (PHIRE) lab, which focuses on studying health patterns and functional outcomes of individuals with disability in the community. Specifically the research focuses on: 1) studying health and physical activity patterns of people with disabilities in the community through wearable sensors and smartphone-based technologies, and 2) developing and applying novel physical activity monitoring and feedback technology, which when combined with behavioral programs would improve the health and physical activity of people with disabilities. 


Dr. Marcey Keefer Hutchinson

Dr. Keefer HutchinsonMarcey Keefer Hutchinson is an associate professor in the School of Physical Therapy. She is the lead instructor for Therapeutic Exercise, Orthopedic Assessment and Rehabilitation and Differential Diagnosis. Her research is focused on the use of diagnostic ultrasound to explore foot and ankle morphology and pathology.


Dr. Becca Jordre

Dr. JordreDr. Jordre is a board-certified clinical specialist in Geriatric Physical Therapy and a Certified Exercise Expert for Aging Adults through the American Physical Therapy Association’s Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy. Dr. Jordre spends her time teaching DPT students at University of South Dakota and conducting research on successful aging. Dr. Jordre is originally from Minnesota and now resides in Vermillion, South Dakota with her husband and two children. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and training to be a senior athlete.


Dr. Cathy Larson

Dr. LarsonCathy A. Larson PT, PhD is an associate professor and the associate director for the Ph.D. in physical therapy program at University of Michigan – Flint.


Dr. Alma Merians

Dr. MeriansDr. Alma Merians, PhD, PT received her degree in Physical Therapy from Columbia University and did graduate studies at New York University, receiving a PhD in Pathokinesiology. She is Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Development and Rehabilitative Sciences at Rutgers University. Her areas of teaching include motor control, motor learning and scientific inquiry.


Dr. Jena Ogston

Dr. OgstonDr. Ogston has worked in sports medicine with various opportunities volunteering and traveling around the world with the US Nordic Ski team. Since starting in full-time academia at the College of St. Scholastica in 2002, she has developed her research agenda focusing on community clinical outcomes and recently delving into foot and ankle biomechanics in the Health Science Sensorimotor lab. She has been a recipient of community awards and was inducted into the Advanced Academy of Item Writers by FSBPT. Her teaching expertise resides in Biomechanics, Orthopedics and Evidence Based Practice. She is currently Program Director of the transitional DPT program that serves physical therapists nationally and internationally.


Dr. Susan Roush

Dr. Roush Dr. Roush joined the University of Rhode Island’s Physical Therapy faculty in 1991 where her focus has been on Professional Issues (in both teaching and research), and disability-related topics. Her experiences have also included 5 years as Associate Dean of the College of Human Science and Services, and a 1-month term as Special Assistant to the Provost. Dr. Roush has participated in two sabbaticals including 6 months as a Visiting Scholar at the University College Dublin (Ireland) Center for Disability Studies, and as a Visiting Scholar at the University of South Australia ((Adelaide) Physiotherapy Department.


Dr. Liang-Ching Tsai

Dr. TsaiDr. Liang-Ching Tsai is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at Georgia State University dedicated to advancing the research in PT with an ultimate goal of better understanding biomechanical injury mechanisms and developing effective interventions to prevent and treat lower extremity injuries.


Dr. Kim Skinner

Dr. SkinnerDr. Kim Skinner joined the Tactile Communication and Neurorehabilitation Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she led the development of the training protocol for PoNS Treatment, a therapy using neuromodulation to enhance rehabilitation for people with neurological disorders.


Dr. Soo Yeon Sun

Dr. SunDr. Soo Yeon Sun is a licensed physical therapist who completed her PhD in Biokinesiology from the University of Southern California and postdoctoral training at the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center at the University of Louisville. With her knowledge in spinal locomotor systems, combined with clinical experience as a pediatric physical therapist in South Korea, she connects knowledge across neuro-motor development, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and principles of physical therapy interventions in the courses she teaches at Alvernia University.