PhD Mentors

In addition to meeting basic admissions requirements, there must be a fit between a candidate’s research interests and one or more RAPS PhD faculty members who are willing to guide the student’s program.

An available and interested mentor will be determined prior to admitting a student. The mentor will assist the student in forming a Research Advisory Committee (RAC). The mentor and RAC will play a primary role in the selection of courses, mentoring of research, independent study and preparation of the dissertation.

Applicants will be asked to identify one or more potential mentors from the following list in their application packet.

We are admitting a Fall 2019 class and welcome interested applicants to apply.

Program in Occupational Therapy Faculty Mentors

The following mentors have a primary faculty appointment in the Program in Occupational Therapy.

Photo of M. Carolyn Baum

M. Carolyn Baum, PhD, OTR, FAOTA

Elias Michael Executive Director, Program in Occupational Therapy, Professor of Occupational Therapy, Neurology and Social Work (RAPS Interim Chair)

Occupational Performance in Neurorehabilitation Laboratory

Photo of Erin Foster

Erin Foster, PhD, OTD, OTR/L

Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy, Neurology and Psychiatry

Dr. Foster's research focuses on cognition and its relevance to daily function and well-being among people with chronic neurological conditions. Her studies employ rigorous translational approaches to understand functional cognition, occupational performance, and participation in these conditions and to develop and test complex behavioral interventions to support them. This work generates knowledge to guide the development of more comprehensive and effective rehabilitation programs for people with neurological disorders and cognitive dysfunction.

Cognitive and Occupational Performance Laboratory

Photo of Allison King

Allison King, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy, Medicine, Pediatrics, Surgery (Prevention and Control) and Education

For the past 10 years, Dr. King has investigated factors that influence cognitive and educational outcomes of children with sickle cell disease. Her lab is one of the first in pediatric hematology to focus on parenting and the family’s social environment. Dr. King and her associates have reported that the family environment has an equal, if not greater, impact on cognition and educational attainment of this vulnerable population. She also collaborates with a multidisciplinary team to study cognitive and educational outcomes of students with sickle cell disease and has contributed to assessments and interventions to improve educational outcomes of this vulnerable population.

Child Health and Education Laboratory

Photo of Kerri Morgan

Kerri Morgan, PhD, OTR/L, ATP

Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy and Neurology

The focus of Dr. Morgan’s research is to generate empirical knowledge helpful for guiding community-based and person-based interventions that improve the participation of people with mobility impairments. Her work ranges from community-based participation studies to basic mechanistic studies of biomechanics of the upper extremity for manual wheelchair users during propulsion. Earlier in her career, Dr. Morgan assisted with the development testing of standardized measures that assess a person’s with a disability quality of participation in major life activities and the environmental facilitators and barriers impacting participation.

Enabling Mobility in the Community Laboratory

Photo of Benjamin Philip

Benjamin Philip, PhD

Instructor in Occupational Therapy, Neurology and Surgery (Plastic and Reconstructive)

Dr. Philip’s research program is aimed toward developing effective rehabilitation strategies for patients with impairments to their dominant hands. Studies will identify movement characteristics that affect hand usage and participation, identify underlying neurophysiological mechanisms, and use those mechanisms to develop interventions to facilitate learning of rehabilitation-relevant behaviors and skill.

Neuroscience and Rehabilitation Laboratory

Photo of Bobbi Pineda

Bobbi Pineda, PhD, OTR/L

Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy and Pediatrics

Dr. Pineda’s current research focuses on the effects of the NICU environment on preterm infant development and proposes an intervention to address disparities in outcome related to different environmental exposures. Her other work has aimed at understanding different factors within the NICU that can impact developmental outcomes by determining that different types of neonatal positioning, increased amounts of stress, and the amount of parent engagement can impact the outcomes of preterm infants in the NICU. Dr. Pineda’s research has also focused on defining appropriate tools for early assessment of function and relating those tools to developmental outcomes. Her earlier work focused on educational interventions to improve breastfeeding preterm infants in the NICU, which laid the foundation for the focus on the parent’s role in NICU.

Occupational Therapy NICU Laboratory

Photo of Susy Stark

Susy Stark, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy, Neurology and Social Work

Dr. Stark’s work in the community focuses on the development and implementation of evidence-based behavioral interventions to prevent falls and improve community participation. Her federally and privately funded studies explore how functional decline and environmental barriers interact to influence the performance of frail older adults with chronic conditions. The interventions she develops from these studies allow older adults to age in place independently and safely at home.

Participation, Environment and Performance Laboratory

Photo of Alex Wong

Alex Wong, PhD, DPhil, BSOT

Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy and Neurology

Dr. Wong’s research focuses on using mobile technologies, standardized clinic and patient-reported assessments, and data science methods to understand neuro-recovery as a set of dynamic processes, in which cognition, mood and daily behaviors are individually organized and vary across time. Understanding these complex connections within and across individuals with neurological conditions and cognitive impairments, particularly individuals with stroke, will guide the development and testing of personalized interventions for precision targets in rehabilitation.

Connected Health and Innovative Rehabilitation Laboratory

Additional PhD Mentors

The following mentors are Washington University faculty dedicated to rehabilitation science.

Photo of John Constantino

John Constantino, MD

Blanche F. Ittleson Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics Director,
William Greenleaf Eliot Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Dr. Constantino’s research focuses on social development in children (infancy through early adulthood) including autism, abnormally aggressive behavior, personality disorder, and psychiatric complications of neurodevelopmental disorders.

Photo of Nico Dosenbach

Nico Dosenbach, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Pediatric Neurology and Occupational Therapy

Dr. Dosenbach is a pediatric neurologist and systems neuroscientist who treats children with brain injury at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, as part of the Pediatric Neurorehabilitation Program. Dr. Dosenbach’s research focuses on using multimodal MRI to study use-dependent neural plasticity following pediatric brain injury; he is particularly interested in identifying unique movement patterns in the child’s life to serve as an early marker for neurological impairment.

Dosenbach Laboratory

Photo of Gammon Earhart

Gammon Earhart, PT, PhD

Director, Program in Physical Therapy, Professor of Physical Therapy, Neurology and Neuroscience

The goal of Dr. Earhart’s work is to investigate how the human nervous system controls movement in health and in neurological and neurodegenerative disease. She employs kinematic, kinetic, electromyographic, videooculographic and neuroimaging techniques to study the neural control of movement.

Movement and Neurodegenerative Disease

Photo of Catherine Lang

Catherine Lang, PT, PhD

Professor of Physical Therapy, Neurology and Occupational Therapy

Dr. Lang’s research is aimed at developing effective and efficient, individualized rehabilitation for people with neurological injury, particularly those with stroke. Her studies focus on characterizing neurobehavioral changes over the course of stroke recovery, developing new and optimizing current motor interventions, and improving clinical practice.

Stroke Recovery and Rehabilitation

Photo of Eric Lenze

Eric Lenze, MD

Professor of Psychiatry

The focus of Dr. Lenze’s research in the Healthy Mind Laboratory is to enhance medical rehabilitation, a new approach designed to encourage patients to more intensely engage in physical and occupational therapy; to investigate the benefits of mindfulness, health education and exercise (MEDEX) for older adults; and to examine new medications for patients with treatment-resistant depression.

Healthy Mind Laboratory

Photo of Joel Perlmutter

Joel Perlmutter, MD

Professor of Neurology, Radiology, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy

The Perlmutter Laboratory is engaged in several studies of Parkinson disease (PD) ranging from patient-oriented research to translational preclinical studes in animal systems. The lab also investigates mechanisms of action of deep brain stimulation, a dramatic symptomatic treatment for motor manifestations of PD.

Perlmutter Laboratory

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Current, future, and accepted applicants are encouraged to visit. We also welcome people who are exploring career options and considering occupational therapy. Dr. Kathy Kniepmann, one of our faculty members, opens our visit sessions with an informal presentation and discussion, followed by a tour that’s led by one of our current occupational therapy students.

Upcoming visit sessions*:

*At least two to three visit sessions are scheduled every month. All times are Central Standard Time (CST). Click here for more info.

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Call Dr. Kniepmann at (314) 286-1610
or Robin Hattori at (314) 286-1653