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Motor Control Lab People


James S Thomas, PhD, PT

Dr. Thomas’ primary research focus is on how the central nervous system controls patterns of movement in a kinematically redundant system in healthy individuals and in those individuals with orthopedic or neurological impairments. Currently Dr. Thomas has three lines of research. First, he examines the roles of fear cognitions on motor behavior in participants with and without low back pain and is trying to develop a model to predict the risk of recurrent low back pain.

Second, he is studying the neurophysiologic mechanisms underlying spinal manipulation treatment in low back pain sufferers. Third, he is examining the physiologic properties of the trunk muscles using a custom designed fatiguing paradigm.  Dr. Thomas has received several research grants from Ohio University, American Osteopathic Association, Osteopathic Heritage Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health to pursue his studies on motor coordination and low back pain and to continue his lines of research.


  • University of Illinois at Chicago - 2000, Ph.D. Kinesiology
  • University of Illinois at Chicago - 1997, M.S. Kinesiology
  • Saint Louis University - 1985, B.S. Physical Therapy


  • Professor

Courses Taught:

  • Multivariate Statistics
  • Differntial Diagnosis
  • Bioinstrumentation



Jacek Cholewicki, Ph.D., Michigan State University

Brian C. Clark, Ph.D.Ohio University

Daniel Corcos, Ph.D.University of Illinois-Chicago

Christopher France, Ph.D., Ohio University

S. Lee Hong, Ph.D., Ohio University

Steve Lavender, Ph.D., Ohio State University

Todd Manini, Ph.D., University of Florida

Masato Nakazawa, Ph.D., Ohio University

Peter Pidcoe, Ph.D., Medical College of Virginia

Guang Yue, Ph.D.Kessler Foundation


Graduate Students


"We conduct assessments on subjects in order to analyze movement patterns. The subjects complete a series of reaching tasks and perturbations while we collect data with the Vicon 3D camera system and Delsys EMG system. Our equipment and software allow us to analyze subjects’ kinematics and muscle recruitment patterns. We complete the assessment, data processing, and data analysis for all research projects in the motor control lab. This experience gives us the unique opportunity to use the lab for our own capstone research project and to present our research at the Combined Sections Meeting."


"I chose Ohio University's Doctor of Physical Therapy program specifically because of the opportunity to work as a graduate assistant in the motor control lab. I had seen motion monitor labs at other institutions and was really interested in learning more. Here I can get involved at a really detailed and useful level. It's above and beyond the norm for most assistantships."



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