UAB-Rectech Mentorship Program

UAB-Rectech Mentorship Program


Two major strategies will provide a comprehensive undergraduate and pre-doctoral mentorship program in exercise/recreation technology and exercise physiology to increase the number of successful independent exercise/rehabilitation/engineering researchers with advanced training in this science-based discipline:

  1. Immersion in a mentored rehabilitation research experience
  2. Complementary didactics to support trainees’ development as exercise/rehabilitation researchers.

To achieve our goals and objectives, we will select highly qualified undergraduate and graduate students in engineering, exercise/rehabilitation science who will work closely with faculty in RecTech’s labs, which include the following R&D: active video gaming, energy expenditure measurement, universal fitness equipment product design, and information and communication technologies. The mentorship program table is shown in Table 1.


RecTech-III Training Mentors


Name: Specialty Area: Specific Content Area Expertise

Scott Bickel, Ph.D: PT Rehabilitation Science: Exercise training

Lloyd Cooper, M.Eng: Engineering: Graphics design and device hardware/software

Dan Ding, Ph.D: Rehabilitation Science: Energy expenditure measurement

Alan Eberhardt, Ph.D: Biomedical Engineering: Engineering design of assistive technologies

Laurie Malone, PhD: Exercise Physiology: Energy expenditure, exercise testing & prescription

Tapan Mehta, MS, E.Eng: Department of Biostatistics: Statistician II

Sangeetha Padalabalanarayanan, MS: Bioengineering: Human factors

James Rimmer, Ph.D: Exercise Physiology: Physical activity, barriers, e-health delivery systems

Mohanraj Thirumalai, MS, M.Eng: Computer Science & Operation Management Information System: Information and Communication Technology

Tim Wick, PhD: Biomedical Engineering: Engineering systems and measurements


Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES)-assisted Rowing – Susan Silverman

Mentor: C. Scott Bickel


Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES)-assisted rowing uses electrical stimulation to create muscle contractions in the legs of people with spinal cord injury (SCI) while the person rows voluntarily with their arms. This activity is very beneficial for manual wheelchair users with SCI because it helps to strengthen the muscles in the back and helps increase the intensity of the aerobic workout. This project has focused on improving the rowing machine to create a more natural rowing stroke, and allows participants to begin rowing without the need for remedial strength training in the legs. Susan Silverman, MS, ATC, CSCS, is a Ph.D. candidate and Graduate Assistant in Rehabilitation Science in the School of Health Professions at UAB.

Kinect Gestural Interface for Disability – Sean Pool

Mentor: Alan Eberhardt


People with disabilities have higher rates of physical inactivity as compared with their able-bodied peers. Integrating fitness equipment with a virtual exercise environment (VEE) shows promise for increasing physical activity level within this population. It is necessary that a universal, gestural interface be created which allows all users to interact with the VEE. This project focused on programming the Kinect to adequately sample the position of the user’s body and recognize specific gestures that identify the user’s choice in the virtual exercise environment. Performance testing of upper-body gestures was completed with individuals post-stroke and individuals with cerebral palsy. Sean Pool, BS, is a Graduate Research Assistant in Biomedical Engineering in the School of Engineering at UAB.