Christopher Rhea, PhD, Assistant Professor

Director, Virtual Enviroment for Assessment and Rehabilitation Laboratory (VEAR Lab)

Christopher K. Rhea
Department of Kinesiology
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
237-A HHP Building
Greensboro, NC 27402-6170
(336) 334-3023 (office)

Curriculum Vita

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, movement variability, and research methods. 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). Prior to joining the UNCG faculty, Dr. Rhea was a Visiting Scholar at Brown University, while concurrently working as a Research Health Scientist at the Providence VA Medical Center (2008-2010.)

Dr. Rhea's primary research interest is the control of locomotion and balance. Dr. Rhea's research is separated into two themes; assessment and rehabilitation. In the assessment domain, Dr. Rhea's research team is exploring novel ways to quantify a person's functional mobility level. Clinical science is typically confined to subjective, course grained assessment of a patient's ability, making the accurate prescription of a rehabilitation program difficult. To this end, Dr. Rhea's research team is exploring how nonlinear dynamics can be used to index a patient's ability level. Furthermore, Dr. Rhea's team has utilized smartphone technology as an assessment tool by creating an Android-based app to identify neurological dysfunction from movement patterns.

Once the patient's functional level has been identified, Dr. Rhea's research team develops novel rehabilitation practices using virtual reality (VR) technology. Dr. Rhea created the Rehabilitation Engagement Visualized In Virtual Environments (REVIVE) project (patent pending), which uses avatars and other virtual environments to assist in the re-development of a patient's walking ability. The REVIVE project is currently being tested with patients who have a reconstructed anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and patients with chronic stroke. See the video below for a synposis of the REVIVE project.

Dr. Rhea and colleagues have published their work in Gait & Posture, the Public Library of Science (PLoS ONE), Journal of Applied Biomechanics, Experimental Brain Research, Neuroscience Letters, Journal of Vision, and Ophthalmic and Pyhsiological Optics. He has given over 75 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. His work is currently funded by the US Navy (W91CRB-11-D-0001; subcontract P010202825)