Kelly M. Harrell, Ph.D., M.P.T.

Kelly Harrell

Teaching Assistant Professor
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Medical Education and Teaching Distinction Track Faculty Leader

office: Brody 7N-47
phone: 252-744-1854

B.S., James Madison University
M.P.T., University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences
Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine


I serve as course director and teach in Gross Anatomy and Embryology for first year medical students. I teach these students also in Medical Neuroscience. I teach gross anatomy in the Gross Anatomy course for physical therapy and nurse anesthesia students and in the Clinical Gross Anatomy course for physician assistant students. In collaboration with faculty of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), I am involved with teaching fourth year medical students in the Clinical Neuroscience/ Introduction to PM&R course and PM&R residents in that program's EMG Module.


My primary area of research is medical and anatomical education with a focus on the use of technology in both the classroom and laboratory. Ongoing projects include examining the utility of audience response systems in the classroom and the relationship between pre- and post-lecture quiz performance and exam performance. Additionally, I am involved in a collaborative effort to investigate the effect(s) of basic science topic alignment across first year medical courses on course and clinical performance measures.

In addition to my current research focus, I have previously studied traumatic brain injury with a focus on the role(s) that membrane-bound matrix metalloproteinases play in the process of reactive synaptogenesis. I maintain involvement in the neuroscience research community at this medical school through involvement in the Eastern Carolina Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience.

Selected Publications

Harrell, K.M., T.M. Reeves, and L.L. Phillips. 2012. MT5-MMP, ADAM-10, and N-cadherin act in concert to facilitate synapse reorganization after traumatic brain injury. J. Neurotrauma 29:1922-1940.

Norbury, J.W., J.C. Morris, K.M. Harrell, A.L. Schreiber, C.E. Faulk, D.P. Moore, and S. Mandel. 2012. Diagnosis and management of piriformis syndrome. Pract. Neurol. 11: 24-7.

Norbury, J.W., K.M. Harrell, and D.P. Moore. 2014. Tarsal tunnel syndrome secondary to suture material within the tibial artery. Am. J. Phys. Med. Rehabil. 93: 361.

Norbury, J.W., N. van Alfen, K.M Harrell, C.A. McShane, D.P. Moore, and S. Mandel. 2015. How to know it when you see it: diagnosing neuralgic amyotrophy (Parsonage-Turner syndrome). Pract. Neurol. 14: 58-63.

Norbury, J.W., C.E. Faulk, K.M Harrell, L.E. Lawson, and D.P. Moore. 2016. Impact of a revised curriculum focusing on clinical neurology and musculoskeletal care on a required fourth-year medical student physical medicine and rehabilitation clerkship. Rehabil. Res. Pract. 2016:6197961. PMID: 28025624.

Harrell, K.M. and R.W. Dudek. 2019. Lippincott's Illustrated Reviews: Anatomy. Philadelphia (PA): Wolters Kluwer.

Current Funding

"Cadaver Procurement for Army Personnel Medical Training"; Kelly M. Harrell, Principal Investigator; United States Army (Department of Defense); 7/1/2017 to 3/31/2021.