Current PhD Students

Our current students bring a variety of experiences and backgrounds to the Movement Science Program.

Jessica Barth, MS, OTR/L received a Bachelor’s degree in Health Behavior Science from University of Delaware in Newark, DE and her Master’s in Occupational Therapy from Towson University in Towson, Maryland. Prior to beginning the Movement Science Program in 2018 she worked as a research and clinical therapist at MedStar National Rehabilitation’s Hospital in Washington DC. Her clinical and research focus was on stroke recovery, specific to the Upper Extremity. Here at Wash U she is mentored by Dr. Catherine Lang. In this lab she will have the opportunity to continue research on improving upper extremity function after stroke. Jessica is passionate about improving stroke rehabilitation and improving an individual’s participation in daily occupations after a devastating life event. When not in the lab, Jessica stays busy working out, cooking and exploring St. Louis.

Chao Cao, MPH received his Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from the Beijing Sport University in China and Master of Public Health from Washington University in St. Louis. After participating in a series of epidemiology studies, he aims to have a more in-depth insight into human metabolism, specifically the biological pathway between lifestyle behaviors and health outcomes. His current research, mentored by Dr. W. Todd Cade, focus on health benefits of exercise among pregnant women, cancer survivors, and patients with HIV infection. He also served as a statistical editor at BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine. Chao enjoyed playing basketball, road trips, and watching movies with friends at his leisure.


Stefanie Foster, PT, FAAOMPT, received her Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from the University of Texas at Austin and MSPT from Texas State University., and worked eight years in a variety of outpatient PT clinics.  During that time, she completed a clinical Fellowship in Orthopaedic Manual Physical.  This clinical specialization led her to a deep curiosity in the relationship between hip dysplasia and hypermobility and pelvic floor disorders.  Her current research, mentored by Dr. Michael Mueller and Dr. Marcie Harris-Hayes, focuses on hip dysplasia biomechanics and hip pain rehabilitation.   Outside the lab, Stefanie enjoys yoga, cycling, art, and West Coast Swing dancing.

Elinor Harrison, BA recently left a dance career in New York to pursue a PhD in Movement Science, where she hopes to take her love of movement out of the studio and into the lab to better the lives of people with neurological disorders. Her current research, mentored by Dr. Gammon Earhart,  focuses on using music and dance to improve gait in people with Parkinson Disease. While in New York, Elinor worked in the Motor Performance Laboratory at Columbia University. As a dancer, she was a member of Jane Comfort and Company and Thomas/Ortiz Dance, among others, and she toured internationally with “A Chorus Line.” She has taught ballet and yoga for several years, and her own choreography has been performed in several venues throughout the U.S. Elinor holds a BA in French Literature and Dance from Washington University.

Quenten Hooker, MS grew up in Springfield, IL and graduated from Quincy University (Quincy, IL) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics. He then furthered his education and completed a Master’s Degree in Biomechanics from the University of Kentucky (Lexington, KY). Throughout his collegiate career, Quenten competed in amateur golf tournaments across the Midwest and coached junior golfers. Through competing and coaching, he became interested in human movement, specifically the impact mechanics have on musculoskeletal pain. His current research, mentored by Dr. Linda Van Dillen, aims to understand the relationship between hip function, altered spine mechanics, and low back pain. In his spare time, Quenten enjoys playing or watching sports, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.


Adam Horin, MA received his BS in Neurobiology & Physiology from Purdue University and his MA in Audio Technology from American University in Washington, DC. As an undergraduate, Adam conducted research on neurotoxins in rodent models of Parkinson disease. In graduate school, he wanted to blend his interests in music and biomedical research. His Master’s capstone project investigated the effects of melody on rhythm discrimination tasks in healthy adults. He joined the Movement Science Program to continue researching rhythm processing in a biomedical research setting. His current work, mentored by Dr. Gammon Earhart, investigates the effects of music on gait in Parkinson disease. Outside of the lab, Adam enjoys writing and producing his own music, playing with his beagle lab, and exploring St. Louis.


Hyo-Jung Jeong, PT, MS, received her bachelor’s and MSPT  from Yonsei University in Korea. While working as a physical therapist, she became interested in understanding the movement of people with musculoskeletal disorders and patients with chronic diseases. She is mentored by Dr. Mary Hastings and Dr. Michael Mueller, and her research focuses on musculoskeletal problems in people with diabetes and peripheral neuropathy. Hyo enjoys watching Korean baseball games and is an enthusiastic fan of the Busan Giants. She also likes traveling and playing guitar during her free time.

Jeff Konrad, DPT is originally from Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Jeff joined the Movement Science Program in 2019. Prior to that, Jeff served in the Wisconsin Army National Guard, worked in outpatient orthopedic physical therapy, and researched stepping behavior in infants with spina bifida. In the Movement Science Program, his mentor is Dr. Catherine Lang. His research will ask questions related to the quality of human movement. Jeff wants to facilitate an understanding of movement skill that goes beyond typical measures of movement quantity. Outside of school, Jeff enjoys reading, Brazilian Jiujitsu, exploring St. Louis restaurants, or hanging out with his wife and dog.

David May, PT, DPT received his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Mississippi and his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the University of Mississippi Medical Center. As an undergraduate, David examined the effects of alternative footwear on balance. David is mentored by Dr. Gammon Earhart. His current research examines the feasibility of mobile health technology and telemedicine approaches for exercise delivery in people with Parkinson’s disease. David enjoys running, exploring St. Louis by bicycle, watching Ole Miss football, and spending time with friends and family.

Jake Parson, MS received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Exercise Physiology from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Prior to his time at Washington University, Jake worked as an Exercise Physiologist in Cardiopulmonary Rehab where he helped patients with cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases live healthier lifestyles. During graduate school, Jake worked on his thesis project analyzing the impact of diet and exercise on irisin, a novel protein that stimulates the browning of white adipose and holds interest in the treatment of obesity and diabetes. Here at Wash U he is mentored by Dr. Gretchen Meyer. In this lab, Jake will have the opportunity to further investigate muscle physiology and pathology, particularly in fatty infiltration of muscle and the unique signaling between skeletal muscle and adipose tissue. Jake is passionate about further analyzing the language of cells and the interactions between muscle and fat in better understanding and treatment of metabolic diseases. When Jake is not in the lab, he enjoys working out, watching football, book-hunting with his wife, or playing with his great dane pup.

Affiliated Ph.D. Students

Maria F. Bandres, BS, Department of Biomedical Engineering. Maria received her bachelor’s degree in Materials Engineering from Simon Bolivar University (Caracas, Venezuela) in June 2015. Maria joined the PMRF Lab, led by Dr. Jacob McPherson at Florida International University in Miami, Florida in Spring 2018. She joined Washington University in St. Louis in 2019, where she is also mentored by Dr. McPherson. In the lab, Maria uses in vivo electrophysiology and neural-computer interfaces to develop intraspinal stimulation approaches that simultaneously improve motor and sensory function after spinal cord injury. Outside the lab, she enjoys binging to TV-shows, listening to podcasts about politics and psychology and exploring breweries and coffee shops.

Megan Buchanan, BS, Department of Biomedical Engineering received her Bachelor’s degree in Physics from Bethune-Cookman University in 2007. After working as a research assistant in neurolinguistics at Simon Fraser University, Megan furthered her education in graduate medical sciences where she became interested in systems neuroscience. In 2017, Megan returned to research to pursue graduate work in biomedical engineering at Florida International University. In the Fall of 2018, Megan joined the Plasticity, Monoamines, and Recovery of Function (PMRF) Lab and continues her work within the PMRF Lab at WashU. Her current research, mentored by Dr. Jacob McPherson, focuses on neural mechanisms underlying sensorimotor impairments using a unique combination of pharmacology, high-density surface electromyography, and brain imaging. Outside of the lab, Megan enjoys traveling, creating digital art, mentoring, and networking within the logistics and start-up communities in St. Louis.

Ke Song, MS, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. Ke received his Bachelor’s degree from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Master’s from University of Michigan, both in Biomedical Engineering. During his BME days, Ke worked on various computational projects that studied biomechanics of human lower limbs, and became intrigued by how joint motions and forces influence short and long-term orthopaedic health. Here at WashU, Ke conducts his currrent research in the Movement Science Research Center and is mentored by Dr. Michael Harris of the PT Program. His dissertational work focuses on biomechanics of hip dysplasia, as he uses personalized musculoskeletal models to study the relationship among hip bone-muscle anatomy, movement patterns, and mechanical loading. As an engineer, Ke is enthusiastic about improving patient-specific orthopaedic care with knowledge from interdisciplinary research work. While not at work, Ke enjoys watching Cardinals and Wolverines games, and hiking in the state parks around St. Louis area.