REAR Lab Staff

Principal Investigator

Stephen Sprigle, PhD, PT

Stephen Sprigle is a Professor in Applied Physiology and Industrial Design at the Georgia Institute of Technology. As biomedical engineer and physical therapist, his interests include the biomechanics of wheelchair seating and posture, pressure ulcer prevention, standardized wheelchair cushion and support surface testing and assistive technology design. Dr. Sprigle is currently the Director of the Rehabilitation Engineering and Applied Research (REAR) Laboratory.


Jayme Caspall, MSME

Jayme Caspall, MSME is a licensed Professional Engineer and Research Engineer II at CATEA and the School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech. His expertise is systems integration and he has designed a wide variety of sensors, including those used in the WhAMI system. He will direct the project: Development of Standards and Test Methods: Device to Measure Mechanical Work and Efficiency of a Manual Wheelchair.

Chris Maurer, MPT, ATP

Chris Maurer, MPT, ATP is a Seating and Mobility Clinician at Shepherd Center with 25 years of experience AT. As part of the RERC research program on posture and function her expertise has been critical to produce evidence relevant to service delivery. She will serve as Co-Director on the project: Improved Training to Improve Function, and Co-investigator on the projects: Inventor-Driven Product Development and Evidence-Based Online Wheelchair Seating and Positioning Course.

Sharon Sonenblum, PhD

Sharon Sonenblum, PhD is a Senior Research Scientist in the School of Applied Physiology. Sharon completed a doctorate in Bioengineering from Georgia Tech in August of 2009. For her dissertation, she studied the use and biomechanical effects of power tilt-in-space wheelchairs. Sharon has also played an important role in the REAR Lab's work on monitoring of wheelchair use, activity and participation and has an interest in pressure ulcer causation and prevention. She will be an investigator on the project: Pressure Ulcer Prevention: Susceptibility and Pressure Relief Effectiveness.

Russell Taylor

Russell "Rusty" Taylor is responsible for fabrication of research and development projects and daily operations of the fabrication shop.

Graduate Students

Phuc Dao, MS

Phuc Dao is a Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering specializing in dynamics and vibrations. He graduated with a Masters in Mechanical Engineering degree from Georgia Tech‘s 5-year MS/BS program in May 2006. For his research project, he is working with Jayme Caspall, Dr. Sprigle, and Dr. Ferri on the Anatomical Model Propulsion System (AMPS).

Deborah Michael Wendland

Deborah is a PhD student in the School of Applied Physiology. She completed her BS in biology from Duke University and her MS and DPT in physical therapy from Washington University. Her clinical background includes acute care, outpatient orthopedic, skilled nursing, and wound care. She previously served in a clinical faculty position in the physical therapy program at Georgia State University. Her research interests are the effects of foot orthotic devices on the skin and physical activity in persons with diabetes.