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Andrea Behrman, Ph.D.

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Andrea L. Behrman, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Neurological Surgery – Pediatric Rehabilitation and Recovery Laboratory

Furman University, B.S. Biology; Duke University, M.S. Physical Therapy; University of Florida, Ph.D. Exercise Science



Recent Publications (link)


Dr. Andrea L. Behrman, Professor recently joined the University of Louisville, Department of Neurological Surgery, Louisville, KY following her prior appointments as Professor at the University of Florida, Department of Physical Therapy and as a Research Scientist at the Veterans Affairs Brain Rehabilitation Research Center, Malcom Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center.  Dr. Behrman is a co-director of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation NeuroRecovery Network that provides standardized activity-based therapies for individuals with spinal cord injury at seven national rehabilitation centers in the United States.  As a physical therapist, her research focuses on developing therapeutic interventions to promote recovery after spinal cord injury in both children and adults, using principles of activity-dependent plasticity and an understanding of walking neurobiology. She partners with basic scientists as a collaborative team conducting two-way translational research from bench-to-bedside back-to-bench.

Behrman has published her research in scholarly journals and presented her work at the American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meetings, International SpineCare Conference on Innovation and Practice in Childhood Spinal Conditions, the Howard Steel Pediatric Spinal Cord Injuries and Dysfunction Conference, and the World Congress of Neurorehabilitation.

Behrman co-authored the book, Locomotor Training: Principles and Practice with Susan Harkema, PhD and Hugues Barbeau, PhD, PT.  She has been funded by the National Institute of Health, the Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, Foundation for Physical Therapy, and the Florida Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Research Trust Fund. As primary investigator, she recently completed the Kids STEP Study testing the effect of locomotor training in children unable to walk or stand identifying potential mechanisms for recovery of postural control and stepping. 

In 2006, Behrman received the American Physical Therapy Association Neurology Section Research Award for contributions to recovery of function after spinal cord injury. In 2008, she was awarded the first Duke University Physical Therapy Program Alumni Award for Clinical Practice. The American Physical Therapy Association recognized her as a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association in 2009; the highest honor of the APTA for “contributions to the profession through leadership, influence, and achievements that demonstrate frequent and sustained efforts to advance the profession.” She was also recognized in 2009 as a “Distinguished Alumni” by Furman University and received the first Annual J. Brooks Brown Research Award by Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital. 

Behrman earned her Bachelor of Science in biology from Furman University, Master of Science in physical therapy from Duke University and PhD in exercise science from the University of Florida.

Recent Publications

Howland DR., Trimble SA, Behrman AL (2012). Neurological Recovery and Restorative Rehabilitation. In MJ Mulcahey, R. Betz, L Vogel, K Zebracki, editors, The Child with a Spinal Cord Injury, 2nd Edition, Mac Keith Press, London, United Kingdom. In Press.

Harkema SJ, Schmidt-Read M, Behrman AL, Bratta A, Sisto SA, Edgerton VR. Establishing the NeuroRecovery Network: Multi-site rehabilitation centers that provide activity-based therapies and assessments for neurologic disorders. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2012 Sep;93(9):1498-507.

Harkema SJ, Schmidt-Read, Lorenz D, Edgerton VR, Behrman AL. Balance and ambulation improvements in individuals with chronic incomplete spinal cord injury using Locomotor Training-based rehabilitation. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2012 Sep;93(9):1508-17.

Day KV, Kautz SA, Wu SS, Suter S, Behrman AL.  Foot placement variability as a walking balance mechanism post-spinal cord injury. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2012 Feb;27(2):145-50.

Tester NJ, Barbeau H, Howland DR, Cantrell A, Behrman AL. Arm and leg coordination is altered, but present during treadmill walking in individuals with motor incomplete spinal cord injury. Gait Posture. 2012 May;36(1):49-55.

Spiess MR, Jaramillo JP, Behrman AL, Teraoka JK, Patten C. Unexpected recovery after robotic locomotor training at physiological stepping speed – a single case design. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2012 Aug;93(8):1476-84.

Behrman AL, Ardolino E, VanHiel L, Kern M; Atkinson D, Lorenz D Harkema SJ. Assessment of functional improvement without compensation reduces variability of outcome measures after human spinal cord injury. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2012 Sep;93(9):1518-29.

Morrison S, Pomeranz JL, Yu N, Schmidt Read M, Wescott C, Sisto SA, Behrman AL.  Life care planning projections for individuals with motor incomplete spinal cord injury before and after locomotor training intervention: a case series. J Neurol Phys Ther. 2012 Sep;36(3):144-53.

Harkema SJ, Hillyer J, Schmidt-Read M, Ardolino E, Sisto SA, Behrman AL. Locomotor training: as a treatment of spinal cord injury and in the progression of neurologic rehabilitation. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2012 Sep;93(9):1588-97.

Behrman AL, Trimble SA. Outcomes of spinal cord injuries in young children. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2012 Dec;54(12):1078. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2012.04440.x. Epub 2012 Oct 16. No abstract available. (Invited commentary)

Behrman AL, Watson E, Fried G, D'Urso K, D'Urso D, Cavadini N, Brooks M, Kern M, Wenzel L, Taylor H, Ardolino E. Restorative rehabilitation entails a paradigm shift in pediatric incomplete spinal cord injury in adolescence: An illustrative case series. Accepted, Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine, (5) 2012: 245-259. 

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