Research / Research Labs

Human Adaptation Laboratory

Current research study opportunities

This laboratory is directed by Assistant Professor Cara L. Lewis, PT, PhD. The goal of Dr. Lewis’s research is to further the understanding of motor adaptation and to develop interventions to reduce hip pain. Dr. Lewis is pursuing two lines of research. First, she is using a robotic hip exoskeleton to study the way people adapt to walking with assistance or resistance provided at the hip joint. Second, she is studying the way people walk to determine if people with hip pain walk differently from people without hip pain. People with hip pain may benefit from changing the way they walk to reduce the stress on the hip joint. Combining these two lines of research may lead to the effective use of robotics in gait rehabilitation for people with hip pain.


This state-of-the-art gait laboratory includes an instrumented force treadmill, a digital motion capture system, two multi-component force platforms, an electromyography system, a regular treadmill, signal conditioning amplifiers, a real-time robotics control system, pressured air, multiple load cells, and a wide assortment of tools.

Dr. Lewis has been supported by the National Institutes of Health. She has published and presented her research nationally and internationally in biomechanics, physical therapy, and motor control forums.

Recent publications

Lewis CL, Sahrmann SA, Moran DW. Effect of hip angle on anterior hip joint forces during gait. Gait & Posture, 2010;32:603–607.

Lewis CL, Ferris DP. Invariant hip moment pattern while walking with a robotic hip exoskeleton. Journal of Biomechanics, 2011; 44(5):789–93.

Sawicki GS, Lewis CL, Ferris DP. It pays to have a spring in your step. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, 2009;37(3):130–8.

Ferris DP, Lewis CL. Robotic Lower Limb Exoskeletons Using Proportional Myoelectric Control. Conference Proceedings IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, 2009;1:2119–24.

Kao PC, Lewis CL, Ferris DP. Invariant ankle moment patterns when walking with and without a robotic ankle exoskeleton. Journal of Biomechanics, 2010;43(2):203–9.

Lewis CL. Extra-articular Snapping Hip: a literature review. Sports Health, 2010;2:186–190.

Kao PC, Lewis CL, Ferris DP. Joint kinetic response during unexpectedly reduced plantar flexor torque provided by a robotic ankle exoskeleton during walking. Journal of Biomechanics, 2010;43(7):1401–1407.

Kao PC, Lewis CL, Ferris DP. Short-term locomotor adaptation to a robotic ankle exoskeleton does not alter soleus Hoffmann reflex amplitude. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, 2010; 7:33.

Lab Personnel

Cara L. Lewis, PT, PhD

Doctor of Physical Therapy Students
Marc Luko
Alyssa Williamson

Doctor of Science in Rehabilitation Sciences Students
Anne Khuu
Jing-Sheng Li

Undergraduate Students
Sarah Fernandes
Maureen Ogamba
Sneha Patel
Saniya Shah
Amy Singleton