La Crosse Institute for Movement Science (LIMS)

A page within Physical Therapy

The Health Science Center was built from a partnership between the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Western Wisconsin Technical College, Viterbo University and Mayo Clinic Health System - Franciscan Healthcare and Gundersen Health System to enhance health care, strengthen medical health science education, and encourage applied research initiatives. This multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary organization has provided an infrastructure for applied research activities to study movement.  The center houses many of the Health Professions programs from the College of Science and Health at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.  The majority of these activities are accomplished by our Physical Therapy faculty/student research partnerships through our Strzelczyk Clinical Biomechanics Laboratory part of the La Crosse Institute for Movement Science (LIMS).  We have active research partnerships with Gundersen Health System and Mayo Clinic in La Crosse.

The study of movement is rather unique bringing scientists of various disciplines together on our campus in the quest for new knowledge related to movement performance and the prevention of injury. Biomechanics, in particular, is a multidisciplinary field blending the areas of medicine, engineering, computer science and anatomy. Certainly, the multidisciplinary nature of this field as well as the nature of the Health Science Center warranted the creation of the La Crosse Institute for Movement Science (LIMS) on the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse campus. The goal was to bring both scientists and clinicians together towards a common goal of movement science research and clinical service.  Since our laboratories are housed in a Physical Therapy program, much current research centers around injury and performance where we study loading on joints and tissues and try to alter movement performance to reduce injury.  LIMS is active in research with over 100 published studies since its inception in 2005.

Joint Loads

Figure showing how data is used to provide performance based feedback

Annually, over 40 students from graduate and undergraduate programs are involved in faculty mentored laboratory research (Physical Therapy graduate students and select undergraduates from Exercise and Sport Science, Physics, and Biology).  UWL students have access to advanced technology and equipment that allows for cutting-edge research in areas such as motion analysis, biomechanics and rehabilitation. Graduate students often present research with LIMS faculty at professional conferences in physical therapy, sports medicine and biomechanics.  Students have participated and have presented at professional meetings such as the American College of Sports Medicine, the Combined Sections Meeting for the American Physical Therapy Association, the American Society for Biomechanics and even the World Congress on Biomechanics. Undergraduate students have presented at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research and have attended some at professional meetings in biomechanics and sports medicine.   

The LIMS Institute is comprised of faculty and clinicians with expertise and interest in Movement Science. The current director of LIMS is Tom Kernozek, PhD. (

Current LIMS Members:

  • Tom Kernozek, PhD, FACSM, Biomechanist, (Health Professions)
  • John Greany, PT, PhD, Exercise Physiologist, (Health Professions)
  • Drew Rutherford, MS, Motor Control, (Laboratory Manager, Health Professions)
  • Becky Heinert, MS, PT, SCS (Clinical Biomechanics, Winona State University)
  • Naghmeh Gheidi, PhD, Biomechanist (Assistant Professor, Health Professions)
  • Patrick Grabowski, PT, PhD, OCS, CSCS, Motor Control/Biomechanics (Health Professions)
  • Shane Murphy, ATC, PhD, Motor Control/Biomechanics (Health Professions)
  • Robert Ragan, PhD, Computational Physicist (Physics)
  • Kannikkai "Steni" Balan Sackiriyas, PT, DSc (Clinical Biomechanics)
  • C. Nathan Vannatta, DPT, SCS (Clinical Biomechanics, Gundersen Health System)

We have two main research spaces, one with a 15 camera motion motion analysis and 4 force plates (LIMS Strzelczyk Lab) and the second is the PACER (Performance Analysis for Clinical Exercise and Running Performance) lab.  The PACER lab houses an split-belt instrumented treadmill and 10 camera motion analysis system.  A variety of scientific instruments and advanced technology is available for faculty/student research use within our teaching/research laboratories.

LIMS Strzelczyk Lab

Image of a participant running down the runway in the laboratory

LIMS Performance Analysis for Clinical Exercise and Running Performance (PACER) Lab

Photo of the PACER lab with the instrumented treadmill

Rationale for LIMS

To recognize the importance of teaching, research and service opportunities of faculty with expertise in movement science at UWL, the College of Science and Health established the La Crosse Institute for Movement Sciences (LIMS). The formation of the La Crosse Institute for Movement Sciences serves as a formal mechanism to bring together as a cohesive group of interested faculty and clinicians with expertise/interest in movement science. The Institute has increased collaboration within the campus and increased and strengthened partnerships with healthcare, government, and other academic institutions in the region and nation. Benefits of the Institute include the following:

  • Greater visibility of this group externally and on campus
  • Greater diversity of expertise for teaching, research and service
  • Greater ability for compete for extramural resources at the state and national levels
  • Greater ability to recruit talented undergraduate and graduate students to this campus
  • More efficient use of resources

These benefits have enhanced the educational opportunities of the affected students and increased the stature of UWL as an excellent university.



Current LIMS initiatives, research activities, recent publications and projects are provided in our annual reports below: