Skip to main content


The field of Rehabilitation Science encompasses basic and applied aspects of the health sciences, social science and engineering as they relate to restoring human functional capacity and improving a person's interactions with the surrounding environment.

Established in 2001, the Division of Rehabilitation Sciences at UTMB developed an infrastructure to support research related to rehabilitation, disability and recovery. Programs include a respected PhD program, career training and development, funding opportunities for PhD students and postdoctoral fellows, and infrastructure for large data research and data sharing.

Facts & Figures

There are 9 students currently enrolled in the Rehabilitation Sciences PhD program and 5 fellows completing postdoctoral training. To date, 31 PhD degrees have been conferred and 37 fellows have completed postdoctoral training. Students and Postdoctoral Trainees have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of research activities in Rehabilitation Sciences through our programs.


photo of people exercising with text: Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center 2017 Pilot Project Awardees UTMB Pepper Center  09/18/17

Congratulations to the following Rehabilitation Sciences Fellows who received pilot project funding from the UTMB Pepper Center this fall:

Rachel Deer, PhD: Validating a Screening Tool for Sarcopenia Using a Model for BIA Analysis

Ted Graber, PhD: Aging Skeletal Muscle and Sarcopenia in the Murine Model

Cynthia Li, PhD: Functional Trajectory and Successful Community Discharge in Older Adults

photo of Dr. Chao Public Now  07/21/17

In 2016, the Shock Society partnered with the Department of Defense to offer fellowships to Shock Society members to conduct research in trauma, hemorrhage shock and sepsis, creating the Shock Society-Department of Defense Battlefield Health and Trauma Fellowship in San Antonio.

The first recipient of the fellowship was Rehabilitation Sciences PhD graduate, Dr. Tony Chao (Dec. '16).

'With all the support and resources surrounding me here at the USAISR, I am looking forward to a very productive second year in my fellowship,' he said. 'Without a doubt, the training that I had and will continue to receive here at the USAISR will provide a strong foundation to further progress me in my goal to become an independent investigator,' said Chao.

Read More: U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research gains fellowship recipients
investigators at workshop presented by Felix Elwert, PhD Rehab Sciences  07/13/17

The Division of Rehabilitation Sciences, the Center for Large Data Research and Data Sharing in Rehabilitation (CLDR), and the Office of Biostatistics in the Department of Preventive Medicine & Community Health at UTMB co-hosted a two-day workshop on July 13-14, for research investigators, "Instrumental Variables Analysis" presented by Felix Elwert, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Brian Downer, PhD
USA Today  06/07/17
New research is being reported that finds moderate drinkers were more likely than abstainers or light drinkers to develop worrisome brain changes that might signal eventual memory loss. UTMB’s Brian Downer PhD, comments on the research saying the new findings are a good reminder that even moderate drinking can have health consequences.

This news also reported in Tribune Live, Corpus Christi Caller Times, Cincinnati Enquirer, Abilene Reporter-News and many other media outlets. 
photo: NW corner of UTMB SHP/SON

Contact the Division of Rehabilitation Sciences
 (409) 747-1637

UTMB Division of Rehabilitation Sciences logo
logo for the Center for Recovery, Physical Activity and Nutrition
logo for the Center for Large Data Research and Data Sharing in Rehabilitation
logo for Rehabilitation Research Career Development Program