The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) furthers the military healthcare system’s prominence in rehabilitative care with a special focus on service members with combat-related and musculoskeletal injuries. Our research areas include the application of novel technologies in robotics, sensors, orthobiologics, and basic sciences, in order to improve muscle, bone, nerve, and soft tissue functioning in the rehabilitation of service members with extremity trauma, amputation, and neuromusculoskeletal injuries. Advanced study of biomechanics, anatomy, and physiology influences the optimal use of prosthetics, orthotics, and other rehabilitation tools, as well as more effective treatment strategies for axial spine conditions such as neck and back injury. By exploring novel human biomarkers (biomechanical, serum, imaging, or physiologic), we hope to identify short- and long-term health risks of service members with limb loss and neuromusculoskeletal injuries that lead to more effective treatment and preventative strategies. In the future, we envision conducting novel research to intersect physical rehabilitation and regenerative medicine, in order to optimize functional recovery after neuromusculoskeletal injury or disease.


The Center for Rehabilitation Sciences Research (CRSR) was established to advance the rehabilitative care of service members with combat-related injuries, particularly those with orthopedic trauma, limb loss, and neurological complications. CRSR’s goal is to support synergistic research projects that optimize treatment strategies, in order to promote the successful return to duty and community reintegration of injured service members. The center also provides a unique platform for fostering innovative research, incorporating clinical and technical advances in the rehabilitative care of service members.

CRSR also contributes infrastructure and scientific expertise for the study of concussion as a member of the NCAA/DoD Grand Alliance. Dr. Paul Pasquina, Department Chair and Center Director, serves as a lead investigator in the Concussion Assessment, Research, and Education (CARE) Consortium, engaging in prospective longitudinal research to understand the neurobiopsychosocial nature of concussive injury and recovery, in order to enhance the safety and health of service members, student-athletes, and the broader public.

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Musculoskeletal Injury Rehabilitation Research for Operational Readiness (MIRROR) delivers high value research, education, training, and infrastructure for over 40 clinically relevant musculoskeletal injury (MSKI) studies within the Military Health System (MHS). MIRROR supports a broad scope of projects, including epidemiological investigation, investigator-initiated pilots, and prospective multi-site randomized clinical trials. Areas of clinical evaluation comprise general MSKI care process models and highly prevalent anatomically-specific targeted interventions with protocols examining effective return-to-duty activities for back, knee, shoulder pain and more. Results of these studies generate evidence-based approaches for future clinical practice guidelines, as well as educational opportunities for future military and civilian providers.

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Emerging evidence suggests that photomedicine, the application of light for health and disease, has the potential to enhance performance, stimulate healing, and modulate recovery and health. Preliminary data demonstrates that light in various applications enhances wound healing and blood flow, decreases pain, and helps modulate cellular function. Photomedicine has great potential for near-term applications to enhance readiness in military populations, as further advances are made to the physical manipulation of light and its delivery through biomedical laser technology, light-activated drugs, and targeted minimally invasive treatments. 

The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at USUHS formed a partnership with the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, DJO, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, The Geneva Foundation, and the Henry M. Jackson Foundation to support nine clinical and translational projects that harness photomedicine to enhance military performance, reduce injury rates, and improve clinical treatments for the most common injuries sustained by service members.

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The Regenerative Rehabilitation Basic Science Laboratory supports basic and translational research within the Department of PM&R at USUHS. The program investigates the underlying anatomical, physiological, and neuroscience mechanisms in order to guide optimal rehabilitative treatment strategies. Novel research is conducted that intersects rehabilitation and regenerative medicine to promote the successful integration of regenerative tissues (including muscle, tendon, nerve) and optimize functional recovery after injury or disease. The ultimate goal of this research is to promote restoration of normal functioning of injured or diseased tissues and to support the successful return to duty and community reintegration of injured service members.

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Poster and Paper Presentations





Administrative Officer:
Mrs. Felicia Ballard
Office: (301) 319-0654

Vice Chair Research:           
Jenny Yuan, MD, PhD xiaoning.yuan@usuhs.edu