Professor Juan Garbalosa

Professor Juan Garbalosa

Professor Juan Garbalosa is a man with a plan. Ask him about his goals for the semester and he'll tell you his vision for 10 years into the future.

After a long and varied career in teaching, clinical practice and research, the clinical associate professor of physical therapy and director of the motion analysis lab has a new goal for himself: to nurture students' interest in research and help launch their careers.

While Garbalosa has been recognized for his research--he received the Faculty Research Award in 2013 for his own body of work, much of which focuses on foot mechanics--it's his students' research projects that he invests the majority of his energy in.

"You only have a short time to make an impact on the world," he explains. He hopes to put students in a position to make the big discovery in his field.

Quinnipiac's physical therapy curriculum does an excellent job of preparing future clinicians for practice, but Garbalosa's aim is to supplement it with hands-on, high-level research experience. Students interested in research careers must have serious research projects and publications on their CVs in order to be competitive for the best PhD programs and clinical faculty positions, Garbalosa explains.

One ongoing student/faculty research project in the PT department focuses on ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries in athletes. The group includes about 12 graduate students and several faculty members, all of whom collaborate on the project.

"Everyone has a voice," he says. "It's a stimulating, scholarly exchange that's occurring. There's a feeling that we're all in it together."

The research is examining non-contact ACL injuries in athletes--particularly women--and what can be done to prevent them. Female athletes have significantly higher incidents of ACL injuries than their male counterparts. The group is looking into the effect of fatigue on injuries, specifically how fatigue changes the mechanics of the knee when players make pivoting moves.

The experience is invaluable for budding researchers who want to learn how to conduct research, analyze results and write scholarly articles about their findings.

Garbalosa also points to the accomplishments of other PT students who have presented papers at national meetings and submitted manuscripts to high-tier journals. "They're a very productive group of students," he said.

Garbalosa has big plans for the growth of the department, including a major grant application. "I walk into a place and try to create something," he says. "I'm not done creating yet."


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