Rehabilitation Research Career Development (RRCD) Program

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Kristan Leech PhD, DPT, PT

Assistant Research Professor
Division of Biokinesiology & Physical Therapy
University of Southern California

Research Areas

Motor learning and rehabilitation of walking in individuals with central nervous system damage and disease


Phone: 323-442-1583

Lead Mentor

J. Gordon


  • 2007 BS Physiology, University of Arizona
  • 2010 DPT University of Illinois at Chicago
  • 2015 PhD Neuroscience, Northwestern University
  • 2019 Postdoctoral Fellowship, Johns Hopkins University

Current Research Funding

K01 (AG073467-01), National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Aging, PI Leech, 2021 – 2026, Evaluating cognitive impairment as a moderator of locomotor learning in older adults post-stroke

R03 (HD104217-01), National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Child and Human Development, PI Leech, 2021 – 2023, A novel, comprehensive approach to post-stroke gait rehabilitation

Magistro Family Foundation Research Grant, Foundation for Physical Therapy Research, PI Leech, 2021 – 2023, A Novel, Comprehensive Approach to Gait Rehabilitation Post-Stroke

Administrative Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Child and Human Development, 2022 – 2023, Role: Mentor

National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Child and Human Development Loan Repayment Program, Clinical Research, Renewal Contract, PI Leech, 2020 – 2022

Recent Publications

Rossi C, Roemmich RT, Schweighofer N, Bastian AJ, Leech KA. Younger and Late Middle-Aged Adults Exhibit Different Patterns of Cognitive-Motor Interference During Locomotor Adaptation, With No Disruption of Savings. Front Aging Neurosci. 2021 Nov 26;13:729284. PMID: 34899267; PMCID: PMC8664558.

Reoli R, Cherry-Allen K, Therrien A, Keller J, Leech K, Whitt AL, Bastian A. Can the ARAT Be Used to Measure Arm Function in People With Cerebellar Ataxia? Phys Ther. 2021 Feb 4;101(2). doi: 10.1093/ptj/pzaa203. PMID: 33336704; PMCID: PMC7899061.

Song CN, Stenum J, Leech KA, Keller CK, Roemmich RT. Unilateral step training can drive faster learning of novel gait patterns. Sci Rep. 2020 Oct 29;10(1):18628. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-75839-3. PMID: 33122783; PMCID: PMC7596053.

McHugh LV, Miller AA, Leech KA, Salorio C, Martin RH. Feasibility and utility of transcutaneous spinal cord stimulation combined with walking-based therapy for people with motor incomplete spinal cord injury. Spinal Cord Ser Cases. 2020 Nov 25;6(1):104. doi: 10.1038/s41394-020-00359-1. PMID: 33239606.

Padmanabhan P, Rao KS, Gulhar S, Cherry-Allen KM, Leech KA, Roemmich RT. Persons post-stroke improve step length symmetry by walking asymmetrically. J Neuroeng Rehabil. 2020 Aug 3;17(1):105. doi: 10.1186/s12984-020-00732-z. PMID: 32746886; PMCID: PMC7397591.