Kelli Sharp, DPT
Assistant Professor of Dance Science and Co-Director of iMove Lab
At RIRC, Kelli initially helped to establish and manage Dr. Oswald Steward’s animal research. But she was interested in human research, so at the same time she was working full time in the RIRC, she earned a doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) from Chapman University in 2008. Her role then evolved from Lab direction and animal experiments to research on human subjects. After receiving her DPT, Dr. Sharp launched an NIH-funded research project with Drs Steve Cramer and Suzy Kim. The study involved testing mental visualization and physical practice to determine if it can improve walking function in people with spinal cord injuries. The experiment also used functional magnetic imaging to determine brain function and was carried out at UCI and the University of Cincinnati. Subsequently, she’s collaborated with Drs. Steve Cramer and David Reinkensmeyer on studies of ways to improve motor function after spinal cord injury and stroke, at the same time that she led animal studies in the RIRC. We are pleased to work collaboratively with Dr. Sharp as an Associate of the Reeve-Irvine Research Center. Her appointment as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Dance brings a new dimension to her research. Dance is a highly skilled motor function, and training in dance is in many ways a model for re-training people to improve motor function after SCI and stroke. Her position will provide new links that could lead to incredible new insights.