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 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-Elect 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.

Intensive Dietary Restriction with Exercise in Arthritis (IDEA, P.I. Steve Messier, Wake Forest University): This NIH funded research investigates the effects of intensive dietary restriction and exercise leading to weight loss on bio-markers of inflammation and knee joint compressive loads in older adults with osteoarthritis. This five year project seeks to identify highly effective mechanisms to improve the quality of life in individuals with knee osteoarthritis.

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
DeVita, P. & Hortobagyi, T. (2003). Obesity is not associated with increased knee joint torque and power during walking. Journal of Biomechanics, 36, 1355-1362.

DeVita, P., Helseth, J. & Hortobagyi, T. (2007). Muscles do more positive than negative work in human locomotion. Journal of Experimental Biology, 210, 3361-3373.

Messier, S., Legault, C., Loeser, R., Van Arsdale, S., Davis, C., Ettinger, W. & DeVita, P. (2011).  Does high weight loss in older adults with knee osteoarthritis affect bone-on-bone joint loads and muscle forces during walking?" Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, 19, 272-280.

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.

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 and Science in Sports, 24, e436–e447.

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 how trunk biomechanics influences lower extremity biomechanics. From an athletic training background, Dr. Kulas relates mechanical factors to lower extremity injury.

Dr. Kulas is teaching undergraduate and graduate programs in the Department of Health Education and Promotion.
Link to CV
Current Projects
Dr. Kulas is currently investigating the effects of added trunk load and trunk position adaptations on lower extremity biomechanics. He is also investigating the effects of trunk flexion angle on lower extremity joint work during drop-jumps.
Selected Publications
Kulas A., Zalewski P., Hortobagyi T., DeVita P. Effects of added trunk load and corresponding trunk position adaptations on lower extremity biomechanics during drop-landings. Journal of Biomechanics. In press. E-pub available at publishers website.

Schmitz R.J., Kulas A.S., Perrin D.H., Riemann B.L., Shultz S.J. Sex differences in lower extremity biomechanics during single leg landings. Clinical Biomechanics. 2007; 22(6): 681-688.

Kulas A.S., Schmitz R.J., Shultz S.J., Henning J.M., & Perrin D.H. Sex-specific abdominal activation strategies in landing. Journal of Athletic Training. 2006; 41(4): 381-386.

Kulas A.S., Schmitz R.J., Shultz S.J., & Perrin D.H., & Watson M.A. Energy absorption as a predictor of leg impedance in highly trained females. Journal of Applied Biomechanics. 2006; 22(3): 177-185.

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

Mr Rider spends most of his time clickity clacking on the keyboard trying to make science look cool with moderate results.  and serves as the biomechanics laboratory manager.
Link to CV
Current Projects
Mr. Rider currently is investigating lower extremity kinematics and ground reaction forces during baseball pitching in collaboration with Dr. Blaise Williams.
Selected Publications
Hortobagyi, T., Finch, A., Solnik, S., Rider, P., & DeVita, P. (2011).  Association between muscle activation and metabolic cost of walking in young and old adults.  Journal of Gerontology, Medical Sciences.

Hortobagyi, T., Herring, C., Pories, W., Rider, P., & DeVita, P. (2011).  Massive weight loss-induced mechanical plasticity in obese gait.  Journal of Applied Physiology.

Howatson, G., Taylor, M., Rider, P., Motawar, B., McNally, M., Stanislaw Solnik, Paul DeVita, Tibor Hortobagyi, (2010).  Ipsilateral motor cortical responses to TMS during lengthening and shortening of the contralateral wrist flexors.  European Journal of Neuroscience.

Solnik, S., Rider, P., Steinweg, K., DeVita, P., & Hortobagyi, T. (2010).  Teager-Kaiser energy operator signal conditioning improves EMG onset detection.  European Journal of Applied Physiology.

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