Associate Professor
Director, Rehabilitation Medicine Laboratory

Areas of Interest
Spinal Cord Injury


Dr. Yarar-Fisher received her B.S. degree in Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation from Baskent University in Turkey and her PhD in Neuromechanics at Auburn University. Following her PhD, she joined the UAB Nutrition and Obesity Research Center in the Department of Cell, Developmental, and Integrative Biology as an NIH-funded postdoctoral fellow. She worked under the primary mentorship of Dr. Marcas Bamman in the Core Muscle Research Laboratory. Her research focused on skeletal muscle metabolic adaptations to long-term spinal cord injury (SCI) and acute and chronic bouts of neuromuscular electrical stimulation, the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and adiposity in women with SCI, and the effects of high-intensity exercise and high-protein diet on muscle and whole-body metabolism in individuals with chronic spinal cord injury.

Dr. Yarar-Fisher joined the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in October, 2015 as an NIH-funded KL2 Scholar in Clinical and Translational Science. Her translational research program focuses on understanding the pathophysiology of traumatic SCI in the acute and chronic stages with the purpose of developing novel nutritional, rehabilitation, and exercise strategies to improve neuro-recovery and metabolism. Thus, her laboratory is currently developing and testing therapeutic diets and electrical stimulation programs to evaluate new ways to prevent neuronal death and promote recovery and function of the injured spinal cord in the acute stages and improve body composition, skeletal muscle and metabolic health in the chronic stages of SCI. She has received institutional, National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation (NIDDR) funding to support investigations showing that many individuals with SCI, while relatively young, develop insulin resistance and are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes and ketogenic diet in the acute stages of SCI may have anti-inflammatory effects that may promote neuroprotection, resulting in improved neurological recovery in SCI.

Her notable awards include NIDDR Mary Switzer Research Fellowship (post-doctoral award), NIH KL2 Scholar Award in Clinical and Translational Science (Mentored Career Development Award), and NIH NICHD K01 Mentored Research Scientist Development Award. She served two years as Treasurer and Chair-Elect, and currently serves as Chair in American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM) SCI-Special Interest Group, and is a member of ACRM, Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals, American College of Sports Medicine and American Physiological Society.

Education & Training

PhD, Auburn University


503 Shelby Biomedical Research Building
Office: 205-996-6896
Laboratory: 205-975-0618