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Steven L Wolf

Steven L Wolf, Ph.D.

Professor, Medicine
Professor, Rehabilitation Medicine

Office:   Center for Rehabilitation Medicine
Room 206
Atlanta, GA 30322
Email:   (University)
Office:   (404) 712-2222 (Lab)
(404) 712-4000 (Lab)
(404) 712-4801 (Office)

Lab Website


Work in our laboratory has centered on use of sensory feedback or mixed reality to enhance control of aberrant movement in normal human subjects and patients with neuromuscular and musculoskeletal disorders. This work has involved shaping muscle, force, and joint position control through presentation of audio or visual cues. Another area of emerging interest involves functional, biomechanical and physiological assessments of older individuals to control and change postural sway to reduce or prevent falling. This assessment has been made among subjects trained in Tai Chi as an exercise form and in people provided computerized force platform training to improve postural stability. The laboratory has also examined morphological and anatomical considerations of human muscle architecture to better understand the fundamental organization of multi-arthroidal muscles. These measurements are then used as a basis for performing EMG studies to discover how muscle partitions differentially participate in task-specific movements. These explorations form the basis for developing new therapies for selective muscle recruitment.

Most of our present work is directed towards individuals with stroke. Following up on our contributions to constraint induced movement therapy as leaders of the EXCITE Trial, we are now finishing up ICARE (Interdisciplinary Comprehensive Arm Rehabilitation Evaluation) Trial which explores a novel approach that combines enhancing motivation, capacity and skill to reacquire upper extremity function following stroke. As proactive participants in NINDS-funded Georgia Stroke Network, we are pursuing novel approaches to uses of telerehabilitation for stroke survivors. Other areas of interest include the exploration of the interaction between relative stroke chronicity, impairment and dosing to foster optimal rehabilitation. We also make use of TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) and neuroimaging to explore underlying mechanisms to account for functionally relevant plasticity. Collectively, these studies should shed some light on the extent and location of cortical reorganization with intense upper extremity training in able-bodied individuals and patients with stroke. Other collaborations address biomechanical changes in upper extremity motor control following stroke, the effects of direct motor cortical stimulation and intense upper extremity therapy on functional improvement among patients with stroke, and changes in behavior among patients and their caregivers when exposed to functionally-based therapeutic interventions.


1973 Ph.D. Anatomy & Neurophysiology Atlanta, GA, USA
1972 M.S. Anatomy Atlanta, GA, USA
1969 M.S. Physical Therapy Boston, MA, USA


See Publications

Awards and Honors Marian Williams Award for Research, APTA, 1980

Golden Pen Award, APTA, 1983
Georgia Merit Award, Physical Therapy Association of Georgia, 1983
Men of Achievement, 1984
Who's Who in the Behavioral Sciences, 1985
Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association, 1987
Robert C. Bartlett Recognition Award, Foundation for Physical Therapy, 1989
Distinguished Service Award, Section on Clinical Electrophysiology, American Physical Therapy Association, 1990
President, Association of Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 1991–92
Helen J. Hislop Award for Excellence in Contributions to Professional Literature, American Physical Therapy Association, 1993
Steven J. Rose Memorial Lectureship, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, 1994
Co-chairman, Tenth Congress of the International Society of Electrokinesiolgy, 1994
Chairman, Scientific Abstract Review Committee, World Confederation for Physical Therapy, 1995
Lucy Blair Service Award, APTA, 1996
Section on Geriatrics, APTA, Outstanding published paper award, 1997
Neurology Section, APTA, Outstanding Researcher Award, 1998
Dr. Steven Wolf Appreciation Day, February 11, 1998, Warner-Robbins, Georgia: Outstanding Contributions to Rehabilitation in Georgia
Lester A. Duplechan Award for Outstanding Mentoring of PM &R residents, Emory University, 1999
Stroke Council, American Heart Association, 1999–2005
Ad hoc international search committee member for Chairperson of Physical Therapy, University of Umea, Sweden, 1999
Ad hoc international search committee member for Chairperson of Physical Therapy, University of Goteborg, Sweden, 2000
Mary McMillan Lecturer, APTA 2002
Fellow of the Otago–Southland Trust (New Zealand), 2003
Wolf SL, Barnhart HX, Kutner NG, et al: Exercise training and subsequent falls among older persons: Comparison of Tai Chi and computerized balance training. JAGS, 44:489-497, 1996. (VOTED JAGS PAPER OF THE DECADE [1990’S] AND REPRINTED, DECEMBER 2003).
Who's Who in Medical Sciences Education, 2005
Senior Research Fellowship, Institute for Advanced Study, Latrobe University, Melbourne Australia, 2005
Inaugural James “Joe” Johnson Lecturer, School of Allied Health Health, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 2007
Excellence in Innovation 2007 Speaker, Allergan, Inc.
John J.H. Maley Award for Leadership in Physical Therapy Research, 2008
Greenfield B, Goldberg, A, Wolf SL, Curtis C: Ethical, legal and social issues of genomics: Implications for physical therapy education. J Phys Ther Education, 2008;22:4-14. WINNER OF THE 2009 STANDFORD AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING 2008 PAPER IN THE JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL THERAPY EDUCATION.
2009 APTA “Living Legend”
Kaleckas Lecturer 2010 (Northwestern University)
Evelyn Smith Visiting Professorship, Department of Arts, Media and Engineering, Arizona State University, 2010–2011.
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Coalition, 2010–2011
Tay Gavin Erickson Lecturer, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2011
Inaugural Rita Kaplan Lectureship, Sister Kenny Foundation, Minneapolis, MN, 2011

Key Note Speaker recognitions

Florida Biofeedback Society Annual Meeting, 1980
Emory University, Graduation of Masters Physical Therapy Students, 1983
Georgia State University, Graduation of undergraduate physical therapy students, 1984
Biofeedback Society of Georgia annual meeting (with Lois Wolf) Emory University, Graduation of Masters Physical Therapy students, 1987
Biofeedback Society of Japan, Tokyo, Japan May 13, 1990
Graduation speaker, University of West Virginia Physical Therapy Educational Program, 1991
Presidential Address. Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 1992
International Society of Electrokinesiology, Florence, Italy 1992
Invited Key Note Speaker, Fiftieth Anniversary, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Physical Therapy Program, Columbia University, New York, NY, October 1992
Invited Key Note Speaker, Biofeedback Society of California, November 1992
First John V. Basmajian Lectureship, International Society of Electrokinesiology, 1996
Biofeedback Society of Florida, 1997
Health Care Professions Seminars on Aging, 1997
Harvard/Radcliffe Tai Chi Club, Harvard Medical School, 1998
PT Doctoral Student graduation, University of Southern California, 1998
Hong Kong Physical Therapy Association, 1998
Lillian Pollard Memorial Lectureship, University of Toronto Physical Therapy Education Program, 1999
University of Mississippi Physical Therapy Educational Program, 1999
University of Umea (Sweden), Department of Physical Therapy (20th anniversary)
Stanley Lecturer, University of Florida, College of Health and Human Performance, 2000
University of Maryland, Program in Physical Therapy, 2000
6th Annual Rosemary Skully Visiting Lecturer, University of Pittsburgh, 2000
First Annual Physical Therapy Alumni Lecturer, University of Delaware, 2000
Margaret L. Moore Distinguished Lecturer, University of North Carolina, 2000
Mary McMillan Lecture (33rd), American Physical Therapy Association, 2002
2nd World Congress of the International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, Prague, Czech Republic
International Society of Biomechanics, Dunedin, New Zealand, 2003
Emory University, Division of Physical Therapy Education, Commencement Speaker, First DPT Class, 2003
The Sanford, Daurine and Barbara Noll Symposium Lecturer, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 2004
Keynote graduation speaker, Arcadia University, May 2004
Special Lecture upon the dedication of the Evert Knutsson Research Laboratory at the Centre Inerdisciplinaire de researche en readaptation et integration sociale, Lavale University, Quebec City, Quebec Canada, May 2004.
Outstanding Physical Therapists, State of Georgia, (Physical Therapy Association of Georgia), 2004.
Keynote Speaker, Research Day, Louisiana State University Allied Health Program, New Orleans, LA, 2004
Annual Hyman Dervitz Lecture, Temple University College of Health Professions, 2005
Columbia University, Program in Physical Therapy, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Distinguished Alumnus Award, 2006.
Keynote Speaker: The 5th Pan–Pacific Conference on Rehabilitation and the Pre–FIMS World Congress of Sports Medicine, 2006. Hong Kong, 2006
Sattin RW, Easley KA, Wolf SL, Chen Y, Kutner MH: Reduction in fear of falling through intense Tai Chi exercise training in older, transitionally frail adults. J Amer Geriatr Assoc, 2005, 53: 1168–1178. (NOMINEE: Charles C. Shepard Science Award 2006 (Prevention and Control category, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), Atlanta, GA.
Elon University, DPT Graduating Class, December 2007
16th annual Louis E. Alley Lecturer, University of Iowa, April 2008
21st Annual Residents Day, University of Kentucky, May 2009
2009 (October) Student Conclave, American Physical Therapy Association, Miami, FL
Commencement Speaker, DPR Class of 2010, Emory University, May 2010
3rd Kaleckas Lecturer, Northwestern University, May 2010
Disseminating Information as a New Investigator. Pre-conference Mentorship Meeting. American Society for Neurorehabilitation – American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine joint meeting. Montreal, Quebec Canada, October 19, 2010.
7th annual Research Day, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Pittsburgh, June 16, 2011.

Study Section and Grant review participations

NIHR (Med. Rehab.) 1976–1979
NIDDR (Biomed. Eng.) 1981–1984
Foundation for Physical Therapy (Res. Review Panel) 1980–1984
NIDCD (Ad Hoc) 1993–
NCMRR (NIH, Ad Hoc) 1994–97
NIH National Center for Rehabilitation Research, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Initial Review Group, Medical Rehabilitation Research Subcommittee, 1996–2001
Committee to Establish Practice Guidelines for the Hemiplegic Arm and Hand, Canadian Heart Association, 2001
NIH-NINDS, Study Section A (Ad hoc reviewer), 2001–
Ad hoc reviewer, Musculoskeletal and Rehab Medicine Study Section, (NIH-NCMRR), 2003–04 Musculoskeletal and Rehab Medicine Study Section, (NIH-NCMRR), 2004–06
Advisory Committee to NCMRR, 2006–2010.
Chair, Ad Hoc NIH-NCMRR Study Section to Review Infrastructural Research Network grants, 04-14-05.
Data Safety and Monitoring Board (David G, Sherman, MD; Michael Parides, Ph.D., Elizabeth Noser, MD, Steven L. Wolf, Ph.D., PT, FAPTA, Board Members); Locomotor Experience Applied Post-Stroke (LEAPS) Multi-site Randomized Clinical Trial (Pamela Duncan, PI); NINDS, Jan 2006– Dec 2011.
Taiwan Medical Research Council, grant reviews, 2006 –
Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (British Columbia, Canada) grant reviews, 2006–
Advisory Committee to NCMRR liaison to Council NICDH, 2007–2010
Research Review Committee, Foundation for Physical Therapy, 2008–2010
Board of Directors, American Society for Neurorehabilitation, 2009–2015.
Heritage Foundation (Canada) 1994–
Medical Research Council of Canada 1995–
External Scientific Review Committee, Canadian Stroke Network, 2002–
Swiss National Science Foundation, 2003–
Canadian Stroke Network, 2002–
Oak Ridge Associated Universities, 2008–
Welcome Trust, 2010–
Canadian Foundation for Innovation, 2009–

Current Editorships

Series Editor, Contemporary Perspectives in Rehabilitation, F.A. Davis Company, Philadelphia, PA, 1985–
Advisory Board Member, Internat Physiotherapy Research Journal, 1995–
Advisory Board, Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, 1990 –
Associate Editor, Journal of Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, 2002 –
Associate Editor, Journal of Neuro-engineering and Rehabilitation (electronic), 2004–
Associate Editor, Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, 2006–
Associate Editor, Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation, 1988–
Editorial Board, Physical Therapy Reviews, 1996–
Editorial Board, J Novel Physiotherapies, 2011–
Manuscript Reviewer, Physical Therapy, 1982–
Manuscript Reviewer, Experimental Neurology, 1979–
Manuscript Reviewer, Journal American Geriatrics Society, 1995–
Manuscript Reviewer, Experimental Brain Research, 1996–
Manuscript Reviewer, J. Gerontology, 1996–
Manuscript Reviewer, Amer J. Epidemiology, 1996–
Manuscript Reviewer, J. Neurophysiology, 1998–
Manuscript Reviewer, Gerontologist, 1997–
Manuscript Reviewer, New England Journal of Medicine, 2001–
Manuscript Reviewer, J American Med Assoc., 2002–br> Manuscript Reviewer, Gait and Posture, 2003
Manuscript Reviewer, British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2002–
Manuscript Reviewer, Brain, 2003–
Manuscript Reviewer, J Rehab Med, 2003–
Manuscript Reviewer, J Aging and Phys Activity, 2003–
Manuscript Reviewer, J Neuroscience, 2004–
Manuscript Reviewer, J Clinical Neurophysiol, 2004–
Manuscript Reviewer, Behavioural Brain Research, 2006–
Manuscript Reveiwer, Lancet Neurology, 2009–

Emory University   School of Medicine
Contact Us: Division of Physical Therapy
1462 Clifton Rd N.E. Suite 312
Atlanta GA 30322
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