Contact Information

  • d.levac@neu.edu
  • 617-373-5274
  • 407-C Robinson Hall
    336 Huntington Ave
    Boston MA 02115

I am a physical therapist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences at Bouvé College of Health Sciences, Northeastern University. I direct the Rehabilitation Games and Virtual Reality (ReGameVR) Laboratory and supervise student research projects in Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program.

My research interests stem from my clinical practice experience as a pediatric physical therapist searching for rehabilitation strategies that effectively engage client participation and promote motor learning: namely, permanent, transferable and generalizable changes in motor skill capabilities. I’m motivated by the potential of virtual reality (VR) and active video gaming systems to promote motor learning in pediatric and adult neurological populations.

VR systems that motivate users to control games by means of movement and posture have been embraced within rehabilitation and appear to challenge user’s motor skills. Although these systems incorporate key motor learning principles known to be critical for rehabilitation (such as task-oriented training and multisensory feedback), we know very little about how therapists can use this technology to promote motor learning. Resources to support the integration of VR systems into clinical practice remain scarce.

My goal is to contribute to the sustainable integration of VR and gaming systems into rehabilitation and create knowledge translation resources to support therapists interested in using these technologies in their clinical practice.

My research program includes these 3 pillars:

  1. Exploring and promoting the use of motor learning strategies, principles and theories within neurologic physical therapy interventions.
  2. Developing and evaluating motor learning-based neurologic physical therapy interventions involving the use of VR and active video gaming systems.
  3. Supporting the evidence-based integration of VR and active video gaming systems within physical therapy clinical practice.