The Neuromuscular Research Laboratory/Warrior Human Performance Research Center (NMRL) is the applied research facility of the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition, within the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.
Since 1990, the NMRL has initiated research in the areas of proprioception and neuromuscular control, in an attempt to answer many of the questions regarding the role of capsuloligamentous structures in the pathoetiology of joint injury. The objectives of our research has been to study comprehensive profiles of an individual's function by evaluating both the sensory and motor characteristics specific to musculoskeletal injury and pathology. Biomechanical and neuromuscular assessments under sports-simulated environments are used to determine specific variables including investigating the influence of weight distribution, muscle function, balance, flexibility, proprioception, gender, aging, and fatigue, as well as the effects of injury, surgery, and rehabilitation on joint stability. Deficiencies in body mechanics and muscle function are used to develop programs, not only to improve performance, but also minimize potential for injury.
We have also applied the sports injury prevention and performance enhancement model to the United States military in our Department of Defense (DoD) research. The NMRL, particularly the Warrior Human Performance Research Center, provides administrative and technical oversight of DoD research. Technical responsibilities include data processing and management; database entry of laboratory, injury, and nutrition data; analysis of food records; development of testing protocols; piloting of new testing protocols; and collection of athletic model data.
The NMRL is staffed by multidisciplinary research faculty and graduate students including athletic trainers, physical therapists, exercise physiologists, bioengineers, biomechanists, registered dietitians, medical doctors and epidemiologists.
In 2015, the NMRL relocated into a brand-new, state-of-the-science laboratory within the complex at the Rivertech Office Works at the end of South Water Street, across from the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery's Biodynamics and Knee Biomechanics Laboratories. The laboratory encompasses 11,600 square feet of space and houses motion analysis systems for specific task and sport analyses. The laboratory also features defined areas for sports physiology, proprioception, postural stability, and strength assessments. The new laboratory space also includes a swimming flume, Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry, and a biochemistry laboratory. Additional space has been designed for faculty offices as well as a conference and classroom for the Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition's sports medicine classes (MS and PhD).