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Marcio Santos, PT, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
KU Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science

Professional Background
Marcio Santos, PT, Ph.D., has practiced physical therapy since 1989. Before coming to KU, he worked for several years as a physical therapist at two large rehabilitation institutes in Brazil. Currently, Santos is the course coordinator of PTRS 745 Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy I in the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program. This course introduces examination skills and treatment interventions, including manual therapy, that are specific to all peripheral joints of the musculoskeletal system.

Academic Background
Santos studied physical therapy at the Universidade Estadual de Londrina, Brazil, and obtained his Master of Science in Human Physiology from the Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil. Upon obtaining a Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Science from KU, Santos worked as a postdoctoral research associate for nearly three years at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Following a stint on the faculty of Santa Catarina State University, Florianopolis, Brazil, Santos' path returned him to the KU Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science as an assistant professor.

Curriculum Vitae PDF document

See Santos’s publications on Pubmed.

PubMed: National Library of Medicine

Research Focus
Currently conducting research in postural and grip force control, Santos' principal goal is to better understand the potential deficits in motor control experienced by orthopedic and neurologic patients and the effect of physical therapy interventions in restoring the motor control system in these patients.

His current projects focus on two primary areas:

  1. The influence of balance training on feedforward postural control and compensatory reactions in patients with functional ankle instability, and,
  2. The effect of cervical manipulation on grip force control in patients with cervical pain. Santo's laboratory utilizes electromyographic and biomechanics analysis to quantify changes in muscle activity and motion.

Research lab group

The Applied Motor Control Laboratory conducts research aimed at understanding the control of movements in an integrated mode under the aspects of neural and behavioral control. This research involves the study of how the central nervous system creates, interprets, transmits and processes information to control muscle activities, and consequently, posture and movements of the body segments necessary for the execution of functional tasks.

In addition, the lab studies how motor control declines as a function of orthopedic and neurologic diseases and recovers as a result of therapeutic interventions -- in particular, physical therapy approaches. The lab assesses the control of movements and posture in healthy individuals and in patients via electromyographic, biomechanical (kinematics and kinetics) and clinical (questionnaires and physical tests assessing various aspects of motor function and physical performance) analyses.

The following research projects are currently conducted in the lab:

  1. Effects of balance perturbation trainings on the strategies of postural control
  2. Monitoring gait following lower-extremity injury via smartphone technology
  3. Grip force control in diabetic patients with peripheral neuropathy.

image of computer screenApplied Motor Control Laboratory

Studies developed in this lab focus on a better understanding of how the central nervous system creates, interprets, transmits, and processes information in order to control muscle activity and body movements needed to perform a motor task.

Last modified: Sep 07, 2018

Marcio Santos


Marcio Santos, PT, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

P: (913) 588-4343
F: (913) 588-4568