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Christa Marie Nelson, PT, DPT, PhD

Academic Title:

Assistant Professor

Primary Appointment:

Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science

Education and Training

  • Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
  • D.P.T., Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL 
  • B.S. in Industrial & Systems Engineering (Minor in Business), The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

Biosketch

Dr. Nelson is a graduate of the dual DPT/PhD (engineering) program at Northwestern University, in Chicago, IL. After obtaining her DPT in 2010, Dr. Nelson worked at The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago in both the inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation settings, treating patients with a wide variety of diagnoses, including both orthopedic and neurological conditions, amputations, and gait and balance training. She is interested in the adaptation of the musculoskeletal system after injury, and completed her doctoral work investigating the adaptation of muscle fascicle length in the upper extremity in individuals with chronic hemiparetic stroke. Dr. Nelson’s primary teaching responsibilities within the curriculum are in the areas of biomechanics, gait, movement science, and evidence-based practice.  

Research/Clinical Keywords

Muscle adaptation, biomechanics, musculoskeletal modeling, orthopedics, general rehabilitation, gait/balance, amputations

Highlighted Publications

Nelson, CM, Dewald, JPA, Murray, WM, 2016. In vivo measurements of biceps brachii and triceps brachii fascicle lengths using extended field-of-view ultrasound. J Biomech 49, 1948–1952. doi:10.1016/j.jbiomech.2016.03.040.

Nelson CM, Dewald JPA, Murray WM. In vivo measurement of biceps brachii and triceps brachii fascicle lengths using extended field-of-view ultrasound. 25th Congress of the International Society of Biomechanics, Glasgow, Scotland, July 2015 (Oral presentation).

Nelson CM, Dewald JPA, Murray WM. Musculoskeletal Adaption after Hemiparetic Stroke: In Vivo Measurements of Shortened Biceps Brachii Fascicle Lengths and Increased Passive Elbow Stiffness. American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting, Indianapolis, IN, February 2015 (Poster presentation).

Nelson CM, Dewald JPA, Murray WM. Can Extended Field-of-View Ultrasound Imaging Be Used to Measure Differences in Upper Extremity Fascicle Lengths? Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX, October 2014 (Oral presentation).

Nelson CM, Dewald JPA, Murray WM. Musculoskeletal Adaption after Hemiparetic Stroke: Preliminary Evidence for Shortened Biceps Brachii Fascicle Lengths and Increased Passive Elbow Stiffness. 7th World Congress of Biomechanics, Boston, MA, July 2014 (Poster presentation).

Nelson CM, Acosta AM, Murray WM, Dewald JPA. Effect of unilateral brain injury on upper extremity muscle properties: preliminary results. American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting, New Orleans, LA, February 2011 (Poster presentation).

Awards and Affiliations

  • Biomedical Engineering Department Research Progress Award in Neural Engineering, Northwestern University, 2015
  • American Heart Association Midwest Affiliate Predoctoral Fellowship, 2014-2015
  • NIH Pre-doctoral trainee, NIH T32, Interdisciplinary Graduate Education in Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences, 2011-2013
  • Dean of Feinberg School of Medicine DPT/PhD Scholar Award, Northwestern University, 2010.

Lab Techniques and Equipment

EMG acquisition and analysis, signal processing, data analysis, ultrasound image acquisition and processing, musculoskeletal modeling, simulations, force/torque measurements.