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Neuromuscular Research Laboratory
Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Welcome to the Neuromuscular Research Laboratory


Home of the
UPitt Warrior Human Performance Research Center

In 2005 the NMRL research focus expanded from Sports Medicine for recreational and competitive athletes to the study of our military elite, the Special Operator, and the unique injury mitigation and performance optimization needs of these select tactical athletes. Since 2005 the work of the UPitt Warrior Human Performance Research Center of the NMRL has resulted in the operation of six current UPitt Warrior Research Laboratories across the country aligned with components of SOCOM including Naval Special Warfare SEALs (3 Labs), US Army Special Forces Command, US Air Force Special Forces Command, and a soon to be awarded grant for studies with the US Marines Special Forces Command. These laboratories, which total nearly 20,000 square-feet of University of Pittsburgh research space on US Special Operation installations, are staffed by 20 University of Pittsburgh faculty members. This work has been highlighted at the NATO Special Operations Command annual meeting in Brussels, Belgium, and to the  Norwegian Defense University and Norwegian Naval Special Forces. (More)

Current Headlines:

Dr. Scott Lephart Promoted to Distinguished Professor

Scott M. Lephart, PhD was recently appointed as Distinguished Professor in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Lephart serves as Professor and Chair of the Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition and Director of the Neuromuscular Research Laboratory and the Warrior Human Performance Research Center. He also holds a secondary Professor appointment in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. (More)

NMRL at NATA's 64th Annual Meeting

NMRL researchers will be presenting at the NATA Annual Meeting in Las Vegas (June 24th -27th). Three researchers have been selected for platform presentations, and two others for poster presentations.

See abstracts here

"Perfect Fit"Nominated for a Golden Quill Award

Pitt magazine article "Perfect Fit", highlighting the UPitt Warrior research projects, was nominated along with Director of University News Cara Masset for a Golden Quill award for best health feature. This article was published in the Fall 2012 issue of Pitt Magazine.

Download the article here

More about the Golden Quill

NMRL at ACSM's 60th Annual Meeting

NMRL researchers presented at the ACSM Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, IN (May 28th - June 1st).

See abstracts here

Dr. Timothy Sell Promoted to Associate Professor

Timothy C. Sell, PhD, PT has been awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor in the Department of Sport Medicine and Nutrition in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. Dr. Sell currently serves as the Director of Graduate Studies in Sports Medicine and is the Associate Director of the Neuromuscular Research Laboratory (NMRL), where he serves as both PI and Co-PI on several research studies being conducted by the NMRL's Warrior Human Performance Research Center. Dr. Sell received his Master's degree in Human Movement Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed his PhD in Rehabilitation Science at the University of Pittsburgh. The success and advancement of the Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition, the Neuromuscular Research Laboratory, and the field of Sports Medicine are due in large part to Dr. Sell's renowned leadership and expertise.

Dr. Kevin Conley Promoted to Associate Professor

We are very pleased to announce that Kevin Conley, PhD, ATC, has been promoted to Associate Professor in the Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition. Dr. Conley serves as the Vice Chair of Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition, Program Director for Athletic Training Education, and Assistant Dean for undergraduate studies in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. Dr. Conley completed his PhD in Rehabilitation Science as well as his Master's degree in Sports Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. Since joining faculty in 1993, Dr. Conley's service has had a tremendous impact on his profession, students, and community.

UPitt Warrior Research Featured in New Issue of Pitt Magazine

The Fall 2012 issue of Pitt Magazine highlights the pioneering research led by Dr. Scott Lephart and faculty of the NMRL.

Download the article here.

AFSOC Kick-Off Meeting

On November 15, 2012 faculty and staff of the UPitt Warrior Human Performance Research Center met with Members of the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) to kick off a new research relationship focused on the prevention of injuries and performance enhancement of AFSOC Operators. This meeting sought to layout the focus of the new project with Principal Investigator, Timothy Sell, briefing AFSOC Command on the details of UPitt's research process.

Faculty Member Presents at Noraxon Symposium

Dr. Timothy Sell presented "The Role of EMG in Functional Joint Stability and Injury Prevention" at the Noraxon Research Symposium on November 10, 2012 in Las Vegas, NV. (More)

Launch of Sports Injury Prevention Project at the Training Lab in Florence, Italy

Jon Akins recently worked with the Training Lab to launch the Sports Injury Prevention Project. The aim of the project is to reduce injuries and optimize performance using scientifically based protocols. The first group we worked with was Il Bisonte Azzurra San Casciano Volleyball. Based near Florence, Il Bisonte play in the top Italian women's volleyball league. We also evaluated elite waterpolo, tennis, and golf athletes. For photos and more information (in Italian) visit the I1 Bisonte Website.

Dr. Kevin Conley Named Medical Director for Team USA Special Olympics

In January of 2013 the USA Special Olympics Team will travel to Pyeongchang, South Korea for the Special Olympics World Games. One familiar face to the University and the NMRL will be traveling with that group to Pyeongchang. Dr. Kevin Conley is an athletic trainer, director of athletic training education at the University of Pittsburgh and has been volunteering with the Special Olympics for the past 14 years. A recent Trib Total Media report highlighted his recent appointment as the head of the medical team for approximately 151 athletes and dedicating to his passion of sports and volunteering.

Read the full article

Dr. Beals (Crawford) Receives Sir Henry Wellcome Medal & Prize from AMSUS

On November 14th, 2012 Dr. Beals (Crawford) will be awarded the Sir Henry Wellcome Medal & Prize for her manuscript titled "Less Body Fat Improves Physical and Physiological Performance in Army Soldiers" published in the Journal of Military Medicine, the official monthly journal of the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (AMSUS). (More)

UPitt Warrior Human Performance Research Center Expands with Air Force

The NMRL and UPitt Warrior Human Performance Research Center has recently received a grant from the United States Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) to focus on reducing risk injury and increase performance of AFSOC Operators. (More)

NMRL Expands to the NMRL Conference Center

The NMRL and headquarters of the UPitt Warrior Human Performance Research Center has acquired additional space in the Rivertech complex in Southside. This new space includes office space for a growing faculty and a new high-tech conference / class room. (More)

Dr. Lephart Delivers Keynote in Sicily, Italy at International Sports Medicine Meeting

On May 12th, 2012 Dr. Lephart gave the keynote lecture during the Congress Kinecenter's annual International Sports Medicine Meeting located in Sicily, Italy. (More)

Congress Video

NMRL Research Spotlighted in FACETS Magazine

FACETS is the official magazine of the University of Pittsburgh's School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. In this Spring / Summer 2012 issue the NMRL is featured for its international related research with the Norwegian National Defense Institute and the University of Florence, Italy, and its Department of Defense projects. (More)

SEALs Ethos Magazine Features UPitt-NSW Research With Opening of Coronado Lab

The 16th issue of Naval Special Warfare's Ethos magazine was recently released. Among a variety of NSW news articles and stories, this publication features the opening of the UPitt Warrior Human Performance Research Laboratory at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado and discusses the UPitt-NSW collaborative efforts. (More)

Dr. Sell Attended DARPA's Warrior Web Workshop

On February 15, 2012 a multi-disciplinary group made up of faculty members from across West Point Academy and representatives from the University of Pittsburgh (Dr. Sell), DARPA (Army and Air Force), the US Marine Corps, Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center (SRDEC). MEDCOM, KACH and industry took part in a full-day workshop in support of DARPA's WarriorWeb initiative. (More)

Continuation and Expansion of Navy Special Warfare Projects

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has awarded a $5.6M grant to the Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition/NMRL for continuation and expansion of research initiatives with Naval Special Warfare. (More)

Newly Formed Research Relationship Between University of Pittsburgh and Norwegian National Defense Institute

On Tuesday September 13th and Wednesday September 14th, 2011 a group of researchers from the Norwegian National Defense Institute traveled to Pittsburgh to visit the NMRL and discuss the topic of injury prevention in a military environment. The NMRL has used a military specific injury prevention method based on the public health prevention model to help reduce musculoskeletal injuries in various US military populations. The Norwegian group looks to replicate this model in their new injury prevention initiatives. (More)

NMRL Works with Operators from Special Boat Team 22

The Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC) Special Boat Team 22 project has established an injury prevention and human performance research laboratory at Stennis Space Center. The SWCC provide rapid infiltration and exfiltration for Navy SEALs Operators into and out of battlefield. The project will adopt the model previously utilized with Naval Special Warfare Group 2 and the 101 st Airborne (Air Assault) to identify the unique injury risk factors of the SWCC. The aims will include testing the specific task and demands of the SWCC and identifying the biomechanical, musculoskeletal, physiological, and nutritional characteristics which contribute to injury and inhibit optimal performance. (More)

Our New Project with the US Army Special Operations Command

At the request of the Command Surgeon from the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), this research proposal will support development of USASOC's Tactical Human Optimization, Rapid Rehabilitation, and Reconditioning (THOR3) program to identify the priorities necessary for enhancement and change in the current physical training program. The Human Performance Research Laboratory will be established at Fort Bragg, NC later this year for this project. The overall objective of this research project is to scientifically develop an injury prevention and performance optimization program that is culturally specific and dynamically responsive to the unique tactical demands of the Special Forces Soldier. (More)

UPitt Warrior Newsletters

The UPitt Warrior newsletter provides the most updated information of our research with the Department of Defense.

Please download the newsletters with the following links:

Issue 6: Fall 2012

Issue 5: Fall 2011

Issue 4: Spring 2011

Issue 3: Spring 2010

Issue 2: Spring 2009

Issue 1: Fall 2008