Rehabilitation Sciences

Rehabilitation Science is an interdisciplinary field of study that integrates knowledge from the basic and clinical sciences to improve our understanding of human movement, physical function, and disability across the lifespan and to improve outcomes of people living with disabilities.


Rita Patterson Professor Family Medicine


Dr. Rita Patterson’s research focuses on musculoskeletal function and its role in human performance. Her biomedical engineering perspective affords critical insight to a collaborative team of physicians, basic scientists, physical therapists and engineers evaluating rehabilitation treatments associated with abnormal motion. Unique to her research is the V-gait Caren system providing state-of-the-art computer-assisted rehabilitation environments through video motion capture, virtual reality and computational modeling.




Current Projects:

  1. Soft-Robotic Glove for Cerebral Palsy Hand Rehabilitation (REHAB Glove) funded by NSF in collaboration with Nicoleta Bugnariu, UTA professors Muthu Wijesundara, Mahdi Haghshenas-Jaryani and Katie (Wei) Carrigan and Cook Children’s professor Pamela Sherman.

Many children with CP have some form of upper extremity limitations. Reduced function of the hands hinder dressing, personal hygiene, and use of assistive devices, resulting in greater dependency, restricted social participation, and a decreased quality of life. The aim of this study is to use soft robotic technology to develop a rehabilitation device that can provide continuous measurements and data monitoring, characterize the spastic resistance, and accommodate growth as needed. The REHAB Glove will fill an important gap to improve independence and to reduce burden of care.

  1. Evaluation of a more sensitive measure for prediction of changes in dynamic postural stability and fall risk funded by an internal seed grant in collaboration with Dr’s Bugnariu and Papa.

Disordered health does not simply progress in one direction from disease process, to disability, to handicap; rather, the process is a complex interaction between health conditions, body structure and function, environmental and personal factors, and limitations in activity and participation. Falls are the consequence of many factors, thus a system approach is necessary to determine the root cause. Thus there is an interest and need to validate a measure to capture the interplay between postural control and instability as an indicator of disability during functional tasks. We propose to investigate the relationship between the Center of Pressure (COP) and Center of Mass (COM) of the body as a more sensitive measure of this process.