Dr. Christopher Rhea, Assistant Professor
237A HHP Building
Greensboro, NC 27402-6170
(336) 334-3023 (office)
(336) 334-3070 (fax)
Dr. Christopher K. Rhea is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He serves as the director of the Virtual Environment for Assessment and Rehabilitation Laboratory (VEAR Lab) and teaches courses in biomechanics and movement variability.
Dr. Rhea received his B.S. in Physical Education from the University of Central Missouri (2002), M.S. in Movement Science specializing in sports biomechanics from Barry University (2004) and Ph.D. in Motor Behavior specializing in biomechanics from Purdue University (2009).
His primary research interest is the control of locomotion. One line of research in the VEAR Lab consists of developing and applying assessment techniques derived from nonlinear dynamics to evaluate locomotor behavior before and after injury. The primary clinical population of interest is those with a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
Dr. Rhea and his collaborators have used analyses such as approximate entropy (ApEn), sample entropy (SampEn), recurrence quantification analysis (RQA) and detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA) to show how gait dynamics change following an ACL injury. Concurrently, assessment of the dynamics of postural control has revealed decrements in both the injured and non-injured limbs of patients with a unilaterally torn ACL. These changes in dynamics are postulated to relate to a person’s ability to adapt their locomotor behavior to the desired task (e.g., walk over uneven terrain) and recover from perturbations (e.g., recover from a trip).
The relation between gait dynamics and functional mobility is currently being studied in the VEAR Lab. The overall goal for research in the VEAR Lab is to develop novel virtual reality applications to restore adaptive movement patterns following injury. These applications are designed to induce particular patterns of movement within locomotor behavior so that a more functional form of gait emerges. The training effect and transferability of these applications are currently being evaluated.
Dr. Rhea and colleagues have published their work in journals such as the Public Library of Science (PLoS ONE), Experimental Brain Research and Neuroscience Letters. He has given over 45 conference presentations to numerous societies, including the Gait and Clinical Movement Analysis Society, American Society of Biomechanics and the North American Society for Psychology in Sport and Physical Activity.