Tony Szturm
Dr. Tony Szturm, BSc (PT); PhD (Neurophysiology)

Professor, Department of Physical Therapy
Adjunct Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Research Experience

My expertise is in Rehabilitation Science, Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering. My main research area is technology assisted rehabilitation; applications of miniature wireless plug-n-play computer input devices and interactive digital media. There is a need for innovation to manage rehabilitative efforts to improve compliance and accessibility to quality therapy and cost effective delivery models. Our research focus is the development and evaluation of low-cost computer game-based Rehabilitation Platform designed to:

  • Increase accessibility to high-quality therapy using a Telerehabilitation platform with tools designed for in-home use, and supported by a clinician specialist.
  • Strengthen accountability with an automated Telemonitoring application that provides objective, electronic outcome measures of fine and gross motor skills of the upper extremity.
  • Provide engaging exercise through fun game-based activities to increase focus of attention and foster participation. i.e. “game-base repetitive task practice.”

Specific areas of research (categorized by function) include:

  • Hand-arm function (fine/gross motor skills) in particular transition to monitored/supported home therapy programs using Telerehabilitation and Telemonitoring tools. Client population includes:
    • Children with neurodevelopmental disabilities
    • Adult acquired brain injury (stroke, spinal cord injured and traumatic brain injury)
    • Hand injuries
  • Rehabilitation of mobility and dual-task function (integration of balance, gait, visuomotor-gaze and visuospatial cognitive functions. Client population includes:
    • Aging (mobility & dementia)
    • TBI and stroke
    • Parkinson’s
  • Vestibular Systems, rehabilitation of gaze control balance-gait

Mentoring of Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) - Mentorship includes one post doc fellow, five PhD students and over 20 MSc students from the College of Rehabilitation Sciences, Department of Electrical/Computer Engineering, and Department of Mechanical Engineering.


The MPT program teaching:

  • PT 6130 (Applied Sciences 1) - 10 lecture hours in the Neurophysiology unit
  • PT 7330 (Applied Sciences 3 - formally 7130) – Course Coordinator and instructor for the introductory and Neurophysiology lectures, 10 hours and set exams
  • PT 7121 (Clinical Skills Management of Neurological Conditions) - 6 hours 

The MSc program teaching:
I played a major role in the establishment and development of our M.Sc. program in Medical Rehabilitation (now called M.Sc. Rehabilitation Sciences) for the Physical Therapy department in 1989, and later for the Occupational Therapy department. I was responsible for the preparation of program documentation for review and approval by executive councils of the School of Medical Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Graduate Studies and final approval of the Board of Governors. Additionally, I developed our supplemental regulations.

I was responsible for the design, creation and currently are my main teaching of four M.Sc. courses:

  • REHB 7010, Neuroscience for Rehabilitation (3 credit hours)
  • REHB 7160, Rehabilitation Research Techniques (3 credit hours)
  • REHB 7180, Readings in Rehabilitation (3 credit hours)
  • REHB 7170, Topics in Rehabilitation (3 credit hours)

Other Teaching:
For the past 10 years I have taught three, 3 hours credit graduate courses. I have also taught these courses to graduate students in the Applied Health Sciences Ph.D. program, and to M.Sc. and Ph.D. graduate students in the departments of Electrical/Computer Engineering, Psychology and Mechanical Engineering.”


Kanitkar, A., Szturm, T., Parmar, S., Gandhi, D. B., Rempel, G. R., Restall, G. Kamate, M. A. (2017). The effectiveness of a computer game-based rehabilitation platform for children with cerebral palsy: Protocol for a randomized clinical trial. JMIR Research Protocols, 6(5), e93.

Szturm, T., Polyzoi E., Marotta J., Srikesavan CS. An In-School-Based Program of Combined Fine Motor Exercise and Educational Activities for Children with Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Games for health journal. 2014 3(6):326-32.

Szturm, T., Sakhalkar V., Kanitkar A., Nankar M. Computerized Dual-task testing of gait and visuospatial cognitive functions; Test-retest reliability and validity. Frontiers Human Neuroscience. March 2017

Alhasani R., Nayak A., Szturm, T., Nankar M., Boreskie S., Brousseau G. The Feasibility of a Novel Dual-Task Exercise Program Which Integrates Balance, Gaze, Mobility and Cognition in Community Dwelling Older Adults: Protocol for a Randomized Clinical Pilot Trial. Advances in Aging Research. 2015;4(03):96.

Ahmadi S. Wu C., Sepehri[1] N. Kantikar A., Nankar M., Szturm, T. The Effects of Aging and Dual Tasking on Human Gait Complexity: A Comparative Study using Quantized Dynamical Entropy and Sample Entropy Biomechanical engineering, in press, 2017.

Szturm, T., Hochman J., Wu C., Lix L., Reimer K., Wonneck E., Giacobbo A. Games and Telerehabilitation for Balance Impairments and Gaze Dysfunction: Protocol of a Randomized Controlled Trial JMIR Res Protoc 2015;4(4):e118)doi:10.2196/resprot.4743

Szturm, T., Betker A.L., Moussavi Z, Desai A., Goodman V. Effects of an interactive computer game exercise regimen on balance impairment in frail community-dwelling older adults: a randomized controlled trial. Phys Ther 2011 Oct;91(10):1449-62.



Tony Szturm
Tel: 204.787.4794