ECU Biomechanics Laboratory - Faculty

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Paul DeVita


B.A. Biology, State University of New York at Binghamton, 1977

M.S. Biomechanics, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, 1984

Ph.D. Biomechanics, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, 1986

Dr. DeVita currently holds the position of L.T. Walker Distinguished Professor in the College of Health and Human Performance.

Dr. DeVita has been investigating the biomechanics and motor control of human locomotion for the past 25+ years. He has published in the areas of ACL injury, knee osteoarthritis, aging, obesity, and locomotion in healthy people.

Dr. DeVita teaches a variety of courses in the areas of structural kinesiology, biomechanics, and research procedures.

Dr. DeVita serves as President of the American Society of Biomechanics and also serves on several study sections for the NIH including the Musculoskeletal and Rehabilitation Sciences (MRS) study section. He is currently on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Biomechanics and is a Fellow of the American Society of Biomechanics, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the National Academy of Kinesiology. He is also a member of the International Society of Biomechanics.

Sometimes he plays a good game of ping pong.
Link to CV
Current Projects
Mechanical Plasticity In Locomotion With Age (Co-Investigators: Hortobagyi and Rider): The premise of this work is that healthy human aging involves mechanical plasticity in locomotion that produces a distal to proximal shift in muscle function. We express this idea in this manner also: aging produces a redistribution of joint torques and powers such that greater hip torque and power is used to compensate for reduced knee and ankle torque and power during gait. One current study along this line investigates the biomechanical phenomenon of accelerating while walking. We are investigating the redistribution of joint torques and powers in older adults as they increase their walking velocity. We expect that older adults accelerate by increasing hip torque and power more so than young adults and ankle torque and power less so than young adults.

Locomotion comparison between skipping and running gaits. It appears that skipping may provide greater aerobic and cardiovascular training than running and it may provide this benefit while creating lower skeletal loads than running. Hmmm, that’s pretty interesting. We are comparing locomotion biomechanics including knee and Achilles tendon loads and metabolic cost while skipping and running at the same speed. Suppose skipping were to have these advantages?  We wonder if people would incorporate some amount of skipping in their total training program. Interesting idea.

Strength Training and Arthritis Trial (START, P.I. Steve Messier, Wake Forest University): This NIH funded research investigates the effects of an 18-month, high-intensity strength-training intervention on thigh composition, clinical outcomes, knee joint forces, inflammation, and pain in older adults with knee OA. Results of this trial will provide critically needed guidance for clinicians in a variety of health professions who prescribe and oversee treatment and prevention of OA-related complications.

Selected Publications
Messier, S., Mihalko, S, Legault, C., Miller, G., Nicklas, B., DeVita, P., Beavers, D., Hunter, D., Lyles, M., Eckstein, F., Williamson, D., Carr, J., Guermazi, A. & Loeser, R. (2013). Effects of intensive diet and exercise on knee joint loads, inflammation, and clinical outcomes among overweight and obese adults with knee osteoarthritis. The IDEA randomized clinical trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 310, 1263-1273.

Messier, S., Beavers, D., Loeser, R., Carr, J., Khajanchi, S., Legault, C., Nicklas, B., Hunter, D. & DeVita, P. (2014). Knee joint loading in knee osteoarthritis: influence of abdominal and thigh fat. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 46, 1677-1683.

Krupenevich, R., Murray, N., Rider, P., Domire, Z. & DeVita, P. (2015). The relationships between muscle force steadiness and visual steadiness in young and old adults. Motor Control, 19, 60-74.

DeVita, P., Fellin, R., Seay, J., Ip, E., Stavro, N. & Messier, S.P. (2016). The relationships between age and running biomechanics. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 48, 98-106.

DeVita, P., Rider, P. & Hortobagyi, T. (2016). Reductions in knee joint forces with weight loss are attenuated by gait adaptations in class III obesity. Gait & Posture, 45, 25-30.

332-B Ward Sports Medicine Building
Greenville, NC 27858

Tony Kulas


B.S. Movement Science, Westfield State College

M.A. Physical Education with emphasis in Athletic Training, Western Michigan University

Ph.D. Exercise and Sport Science with emphasis in Biomechanics, UNC Greensboro, 2005

Dr. Kulas is interested in factors affecting knee joint biomechanics including influences arising from: the trunk (positional influence), muscle (quadriceps and hamstring muscle influences), and reconstructive surgery (post-ACL reconstruction outcomes with emphasis on hamstring grafts).

External to the Biomechanics Laboratory, Dr. Kulas is currently collaborating with:
Dr. Joseph Armen, Dept of Family Medicine & ECU Team Physician
Dr. Randy Schmitz & Dr. Sandra Shultz, Applied Neuromechanics Research Laboratory, UNCG

Dr. Kulas teaches in the undergraduate Athletic Training Education Program housed within the Department of Health Education and Promotion.
Link to CV
Current Projects
Hamstring-related factors affecting post-ACL reconstruction outcomes. (Collaborators: Dr. Joseph Armen, Dr. Domire, & Kelsey Zary) For individuals undergoing ACL reconstruction with hamstring tendon grafts, we are seeking to prospectively determine how hamstring muscle and tendon structure and function influences post-surgical outcomes at the time of return to play.

Prediction of ACL graft suitability through ultrasound evaluation of hamstring tendon size and quality.  (Collaborators: Dr. Armen, Dr. Zac Domire, and Clara Amat-Fernandez).  For individuals undergoing ACL reconstruction with hamstring tendon autografts, we are seeking to determine if pre-operative ultrasound based measurements of hamstring and gracilis tendons can predict surgical success as defined as the absence of surgical augmentation and/or future revisions.
Selected Publications
Seymore, K., Domire, Z.J., DeVita, P., Rider, P., Kulas, A.S. (In review). The effect of Eccentric Hamstring Strength Training on Muscle Function. 

Shultz, S. J., Schmitz, R. J., Benjaminse, A., Ford, K., Collins, M., Kulas, A.S. (2015).  ACL Research Retreat VII: an update on anterior cruciate ligament injury risk factor identification, screening, and prevention.  Journal of Athletic Training, 50 (10), 1076-1093.

Bica, D., Armen, J., Kulas, A.S., Youngs, K., & Zachary, W. (2015).  Reliability and Precision of Stress Ultrasonography of the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine.  34:371-376.

Bennett, H.J., Rider, P.M., Domire, Z.J. DeVita, P., & Kulas, A.S. (2014). Heterogeneous fascicle behavior within the biceps femoris long head at different muscle activation levels. Journal of Biomechanics. 47(1), 3050-3055.

Kulas, A. S., Hortobagyi, T., & DeVita, P. (2012).  Trunk position modulates anterior cruciate ligament forces and strains during a single-leg squat.  Clinical Biomechanics, 27 (1), 16-21.

249 Ward Sports Medicine Building
Greenville, NC 27858

Patrick Rider


BS, Exercise Physiology, East Carolina University, 2005

MS, Exercise Science Biomechanics Concentration, East Carolina University, 2007

MS, Software Engineering, East Carolina University, 2015

Mr. Rider is interested in sports biomechanics and software engineering issues related to biomechanics. He teaches department courses including structural kinesiology, biomechanics, computer applications in exercise science and coaching theories. If something breaks in the lab, he's usually the person to ask how to fix it.
Link to CV
Current Projects
Mr. Rider currently is investigating stiffness changes in the UCL over the course of a collegiate baseball season, and how fatigue and experience are related to biomechanical performance of Olympic weightlifting movements.
Selected Publications
Google Scholar Profile

Hortobagyi, T., Rider, P., Gruber, A. H., & DeVita, P. (2016). Age and muscle strength mediate the age-related biomechanical plasticity of gait. European Journal of Applied Physiology.

DeVita, P., Rider, P., & Hortobagyi, T. (2016). Reductions in knee joint forces with weight loss are attenuated by gait adaptations in class III obesity. Gait & Posture.

Krupenevich, R., Rider, P., Domire, Z., & DeVita, P. (2015). Males and females respond similarly to walking with a standardized, heavy load. Military Medicine.

Hortobagyi, T., Rider, P., & DeVita, P. (2014). Effects of real and sham whole‐body mechanical vibration on spinal excitability at rest and during muscle contraction. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports.

360 Ward Sports Medicine Building
Greenville, NC 27858
phone: (252)737-2370