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Featured Researcher - Spring 2014

Jill Campbell Stewart, PT, PhD

"It is an exciting time in the area of neurologic physical therapy research.  Advances in technology and basic science have created many opportunities for the development of translational, patient-focused interventions.  My doctoral training in the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy at the University of Southern California provided me with the necessary skills to actively participate in these new developments.  The CAL-PT-FUND Grant I received supported my doctoral research project on the use of planning to control reach distance after stroke.  The grant provided me with the funds needed to successfully complete this project including the acquisition of structural brain images which proved vital to successful publication of the project results (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24718494).  

After completing a postdoctoral research fellowship in Neurology at University of California, Irvine, I started a faculty position in the Program in Physical Therapy at the University of South Carolina in January 2014 (http://www.sph.sc.edu/dpt/facultystaffdetails.php?ID=970).  The overall goal of my research lab, the Motor Behavior and Neuroimaging Laboratory, is to develop novel, effective, and individualized treatments to improve motor function and quality of life after stroke.  To achieve this goal, the research in the lab focuses on brain-behavior relationships during the control and learning of skilled motor tasks using detailed measures of movement (kinematics, EMG) and brain structure and function (functional MRI, diffusion tensor imaging) combined with clinical measures of impairment, function, and quality of life.   

I am very grateful to the CAL-PT-FUND for its support during the beginning stages of my research career.  It not only provided me the funds needed to complete the project but also gave me valuable experience in grant writing, project budgeting, and overall project management, important skills for success in research that generally can’t be taught in a classroom.  These skills combined with the results generated from the project have helped set me on a path to become on independent researcher and will have positive effects for years to come.  The existence and history of the CAL-PT-FUND demonstrates the importance that clinicians, educators, and CPTA leaders in California have placed on research in moving the physical therapy profession forward.  I know many future researchers will benefit from continued support of the CAL-PT-FUND."

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