Research at SHP

Rutgers School of Health Professions (SHP) has a vibrant and interdisciplinary clinical and translational research program with areas of unique strength in physical and mental health rehabilitation, informatics, technology, epidemiology, nutrition and wellness. Our researchers apply a team-based and patient-centered approach to their investigations across a spectrum of disciplines in the health sciences ranging from physical therapy, rehabilitation counseling, psychology and nutrition to kinesiology, neuroscience, engineering, mathematics and computer science. SHP’s research agenda explores novel interventions to solve clinical dilemmas related to chronic and acute diseases, investigates new methodologies aimed at health promotion and prevention, as well as develops technological strategies that will improve overall health outcomes, including quality of life. We invite you to explore some of our researchers’ websites we have highlighted here, and to contact our Director for Research Administration, Ms. Michele Sisco, to learn more about research being conducted at SHP.

Michele Sisco
Administrative Director, Research
Stanley S. Bergen Building
65 Bergen Street, Suite 128
Newark, New Jersey 07101
Phone: 973-972-4678

Researchers by Area


Jose Centeno – My research directions respond to critical professional challenges in speech-language pathology resulting from national and global demographic and epidemiological trends.

Jean-Francois Daneault – Our research focuses on better understanding motor behavior in health and disease using technology in order to improve/optimize movements of individuals with chronic diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, dystonia, cerebral palsy, and stroke, through physical therapy and exercise. His laboratory tools include motion capture, wearable sensors, electromyography, brain stimulation, and neuroimaging.

Judith E. Deutsch – The RIVERS lab is an inter-disciplinary applied rehabilitation research lab. We study motor control, behavioral and neural plasticity that form the basis of rehabilitation science. We document the validity and efficacy of interventions that will accelerate recovery of mobility and fitness for individuals with neurologic conditions.

Carrie Esopenko – Our lab assesses sex-differences in concussion outcomes using cognitive, psychosocial, physiological (neck strength), vestibulo-ocular, and neuroimaging measures.

Gerard G. Fluet – Our lab has produced several systems utilizing haptically rendered virtual environments that present intensive motor training interventions designed to normalize arm and hand function. We have designed and tested lab-based, hospital based and now home based equipment.

Joseph Zeni – Our research focuses on improving the quality of life for patients with arthritis of the hip and knee joints. We are investigating ways to restore normal movement patterns after hip and knee replacement.


Frederick D. Coffman – Areas of focus include the synergistic enhancement of TNF-mediated tumor cell killing by specific classes of DNA topoisomerase II inhibitors, the function of the chitinase family protein YKL-40 as a tumor cell survival factor, the regulation of DNA replication initiation in leukemia cells, and most recently disease-related informatics projects and laboratory-based investigations into differences in the biophysical properties of low grade and highly malignant cancer cells.

Suril Gohel – Neuroinformatics lab at Rutgers focused on understanding human brain function during resting state and in task conditions, and how it is disrupted by cognitive challenges and in neuro-clinical populations. Specifically, we use multiband neuroimaging data to understand and quantify frequency specific changes in functional brain integration.

Antonina Mitrofanova – My laboratory develops computational algorithms to elucidate genomic, transcriptomic, and epigenomic mechanisms of therapeutic resistance in oncology and to identify optimal treatment strategies for cancer patients.

Suchismita Ray – The mission of the Addiction Neuroimaging Lab is to elucidate the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying addictive behaviors by utilizing cognitive tasks, functional magnetic resonance imaging and computational tools.


Laura Byham-Gray –  Dr. Byham-Gray studies how protein-energy wasting is related to energy expenditure and studies the impact dialysis can have on the energy balance in patients with CKD. Dr. Byham-Gray is studying PEW not only in terms of contributors but also from the patient’s perspective.

Shristi Rawal – My research takes a life-course epidemiological approach to examine the nutritional and biopsychosocial risk factors of cardiometabolic diseases, in particular, obesity and diabetes. One of my primary research interests is to understand how taste and smell perception changes with exposures across the life span (e.g., smoking, viral infections), and act as biological drivers of dietary behaviors and cardiometabolic disease risk. My research also focuses on pregnancy as a critical life event that influences the short-and long-term cardiometabolic health of women and their children.

Community Interventions/Mental Health

Ni Gao – My interests in psychiatric rehabilitation research about individuals experiencing mental illness began during my 15 years of providing and managing clinical services in the community before joining Rutgers. My research focuses on identifying barriers and developing interventions to improve conditions of this population.

Kenneth Gill – Dr. Gill’s research interests encompass a broad range of topics with the psychiatric rehabilitation of persons with serious mental illnesses. These include evidence based and promising practices in terms of employment, education, health and wellness promotion, and techniques to promote community integration, quality of life, and recovery.

Ann Murphy –  Mental Health Interventions: The overall goal of my research is to support individuals with mental illnesses to live fulfilling and complete lives in the communities of their choosing.

William Waynor – My research program has grown out of my vision to determine the nature and relationship of the pursuit of employment or career goals and recovery for people living with serious mental illness.

Michelle Zechner – Dr. Zechner’s research is focused on improving health and wellness of people living with chronic conditions and their caregivers, especially older adults.  It includes the development of programs focused on multi-domain wellness for people with mental health conditions, caregivers of people with dementia, motivation for physical activity for people living with mental health conditions, implementation of best practices in inpatient psychiatric settings and use of peer health coaching strategies.