Lentz, Nair Win Rehabilitation Science Best Paper Awards


The University College of Public Health and Health Professions celebrated outstanding students and graduates at the college’s annual convocation ceremony April 29th. Rehabilitation Science student, Trevor Lentz, and graduate, Jayakrishnan Nair, were awarded the Rehabilitation Science 2017 Best Paper Award. This award is given to students and recent graduates of the program who are first/primary author on a peer-reviewed paper in quality journals. Given the interdisciplinary nature of the program, the selection committee considers recognizing two manuscripts, one focusing on preclinical “basic science” related to rehabilitation, and another focusing on “applied rehabilitation science.”

Rehabilitation Science program director, Dr. David Fuller, Jay Nair, PHHP dean, Dr. Michael Perri

Jay Nair, who graduated in 2016, was selected for his basic science manuscript titled, Histological identification of phrenic afferent projections to the spinal cord.  The paper was published in Respiratory Physiology and Neurobiology, which is a leading journal in the area of respiratory-related science. Jay developed and published a novel technique to label the afferent circuitry and this method was successful across two independent laboratories, and two different tracers. About 50 percent of fibers in the phrenic nerve are afferent in nature yet, phrenic afferent neuroantatomy has only been examined in a few publications due to the difficulty in effectively labeling phrenic afferent circuitry. Jay’s work will provide a foundation for future studies which examine whether activation of phrenic afferent projections, as will occurring during diaphragm pacing, can facilitation neuromuscular recover and contribute to weaning from respiratory support.

As a Rehabilitation Science PhD student Jay was mentored by Dr. David Fuller. He currently serves as a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Barry Byrne’s laboratory.

Dr. David Fuller, Trevor Lentz, Dr. Michael Perri

Current Rehabilitation Science student, Trevor Lentz, was selected for his applied rehabilitation science paper, Development of a Yellow Flag Assessment Tool for Orthopaedic Physical Therapists: Results From the Optimal Screening for Prediction of Referral and Outcome (OSPRO) Cohort which was published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. This paper details the development of a novel assessment tool for identifying pain associated distress and positive coping factors in patients with musculoskeletal pain. These are important factors for developing accurate outcome prediction, and the number of factors that could be measured are considered a burden to practice and research.  This paper provided an important building block for those that are interested in concise assessment for clinical and research purposes.

Trevor is mentored by Dr. Steven George and is planning to graduate this summer.

Congratulations to Jay and Trevor for their outstanding contributions to rehabilitation.