Dr. Rob Motl recently joined UAB as a Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and the Associate Director of Research for the UAB/Lakeshore Research Collaborative. He is also a Senior Scientist and the Associate Director for Rehabilitation Research in the UAB Center for Exercise Medicine. Dr. Motl, who came to UAB from the University of Illinois, is a national leader in exercise rehabilitation research. He has driven major advances for individuals with multiple sclerosis via several clinical trials resulting in over 340 peer-reviewed publications. As part of his new position at UAB Dr. Motl will also help to lead the REACT Mobile Technology Laboratory as its Associate Director.
Dr. Motl has systematically developed a research agenda that focuses on physical activity and its measurement, predictors, and consequences in persons with neurological diseases, particularly multiple sclerosis (MS). Dr. Motl has generated a body of research on the validity of common physical activity measures in persons with MS. This has resulted in foundational research on quantifying differences in physical activity, particularly rates of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, in persons with MS. These two lines of research have provided the basis for examining the outcomes of physical activity in MS, particularly beneficial adaptations in brain structure, cognition, depression, fatigue, walking disability, and quality of life. Dr. Motl has undertaken research on social-cognitive predictors of physical activity that has informed the design of behavioral interventions for increasing physical activity in MS. This agenda serves as a test-bed for application and expansion into other conditions such as spinal cord injury and Parkinson’s disease.