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Marcel B. Lanza, PhD

Academic Title:

Assistant Professor

Primary Appointment:

Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science


100 Penn Street

Phone (Primary):

(410) 706-7308

Education and Training

  • Bachelor in Physical Education, Federal University of Acre, Brazil; 2005
  • Specialization in Sports Training Methodology, IBEPEX- Brazil; 2006
  • Master in Mechanical Engineering, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil; 2011
  • Ph.D. in Sports, Exercise and Health Sciences. Loughborough University –UK; 2018
  • Post-doctoral fellow at Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil; 2019
  • Post-doctoral Fellow UMANRRT, University of Maryland Baltimore ; 2021
  • Research Associate, University of Maryland Baltimore; 2023


Dr. Lanza received his Ph.D. from Loughborough University (UK), which focused on investigating the underlying neural mechanisms of force production across different muscle lengths in a young, healthy population. As a postdoctoral fellow at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, he established the importance of training configuration on functional performance and found that neuromuscular activation and muscle size were influenced by the type of exercise and the duration of muscle tension. Subsequently, as a Postdoctoral Fellow and later as a Research Associate at the University of Maryland, Dr. Lanza investigated the underlying neural and morphological mechanisms of falls following a loss of balance in older adults and in individuals post-stroke. During his tenure, he focused on understanding the impact of muscle physiology and biomechanics on physical function and the effectiveness of exercise interventions across various age groups and among stroke survivors.

Currently, as an Assistant Professor, Dr. Lanza's research continues to focus on understanding the impact of muscle physiology and biomechanics on physical function, with a particular emphasis on older adults and individuals who have had a stroke.

Research/Clinical Keywords

Muscle activation, muscle structure, physical function, balance, falls, exercise intervention, aging, stroke.

Highlighted Publications

Lanza, MB, Balshaw TG, Folland JP. Do changes in neuromuscular activation contribute to the knee extensor angle-torque relationship? Exp Physiol. 2017 Aug 1;102(8):962-973. doi: 10.1113/EP086343. 2017 Jul 12. PMID: 28594464.

Lanza, MB; Balshaw, TG; Massey, GJ; Folland, JP. Maximum m-wave normalization of voluntary EMG accounts for the influence of electrode location but does not fully remove the influence of subcutaneous tissue thickness. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports. 28(12): 2558-2566. PMCID: 30030921 

Lanza MB, Balshaw TG, Folland JP. Is the joint-angle specificity of isometric resistance training real? And if so, does it have a neural basis?. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2019 Dec;119(11-12):2465-2476. doi: 10.1007/s00421-019-04229-z. 2019 Sep 14. PMID: 31522276.

Lanza MB, Addison O, Ryan AS, J Perez W, Gray V. Kinetic, muscle structure, and neuromuscular determinants of weight transfer phase prior to a lateral choice reaction step in older adults. J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2020 Dec;55:102484. doi:10.1016/j.jelekin.2020.102484. Epub 2020 Nov 2. PMID: 33176230.

Lanza MB, Rock K, Marchese V, Addison O, Gray VL. Hip Abductor and Adductor Rate of Torque Development and Muscle Activation, but Not Muscle Size, Are Associated With Functional Performance. Front Physiol. 2021 Oct 14;12:744153. PMCID: PMC8551702. 

 Lanza MB, Arbuco B, Ryan AS, Shipper AG, Gray VL, Addison O. A systematic review of the importance of hip muscle strength, activation, and structure in balance and mobility tasks. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2022 Jan 5:S0003-9993(21)01771-8.PMID: 34998714. 

Lanza MB, Martins-Costa HC, De Souza CC, Lima FV, Diniz RCR, Chagas MH. Muscle volume vs. anatomical cross-sectional area: Different muscle assessment does not affect the muscle size-strength relationship. J Biomech. 2022 Jan 11;132:110956. PMID: 35033973. 

Additional Publication Citations

Lab Techniques and Equipment

  • Surface Electromyography (EMG), including high-density EMG
  • Ultrasound
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Electrical Stimulation
  • Force measurements (manual and isokinetic dynamometers, force plates, load cells)
  • Vicon