Department of Health and Human Development
April Chambers, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Departments of Health & Human Development and Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh, with research expertise in the fields of human movement, biomechanics, and injury prevention. Dr. Chambers earned her MS and PhD in Bioengineering from the University of Pittsburgh. She also has a certificate in Occupational Ergonomics from Colorado State University.
Dr. Chambers serves as the Laboratory Director of the Human Movement and Balance Laboratory. She is Affiliate Faculty of the Healthy Lifestyle Institute and the Human Engineering Research Laboratories in VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.
The overall goal of her research is musculoskeletal injury prevention in healthy and diverse populations while improving health and human performance. Dr. Chambers collaborates with clinicians, physical or occupational therapists, radiologists, engineers, exercise scientists and physiologists, and behavioral scientists. She frequently partners with companies in her translational work and development of medical devices.
She has received support from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, National Institute of Health, Center for Medical Innovation, foundations, and industry partners. Her work has resulted in publications across 19 different peer-reviewed journals, numerous conference proceedings, and one patent. Dr. Chambers teaches and mentors in the Departments of Health and Human Development and Bioengineering with courses in biomechanics, movement science, anatomy, and physiology. Dr. Chambers serves both nationally and locally with a focus on supporting diversity- and inclusion-related initiatives and programs that support underrepresented students in STEM.
Health & Human Development
- HPA 1011: Applied Human Anatomy
- HPA 1012: Applied Human Anatomy Laboratory
- HPA 1033: Human Physiology
- HPA 1044: Biomechanics
- HPA 2384: Movement Science in Health & Physical Activity
- BIOENG 1630: Mechanical Systems in Biological Systems
Dr. Chambers’ research training is in bioengineering and ergonomics with expertise in the fields of human movement, biomechanics, and injury prevention. Her research is collaborative in nature and aimed at multifactorial problems involved in preventing injuries and improving health, well-being, and performance. Translational outcomes of her research are the design of better interventions, improved assessment devices, and safer environments. Dr. Chambers’ research utilizes unique biomechanical tools including motion capture, electromyography, kinetics, posturography, anthropometrics, imaging, NIRS, accelerometry, activity monitoring, and simulations. Her work involves healthy and diverse populations including obese adults, older adults, patient populations, and amputees.
- Predicting slips during ladder climbing: novel methods for assessing shoe-rung friction. NIOSH R01OH011799 ($1,247,773). Beschorner (PI), Chambers (Co-I), Cham (Co-I), Redfern (Co-I), Vidic (Co-I).
- In-vivo Changes in the Lower Extremity Joints and Muscles during Prolonged Standing. NIOSH K01OH010759-01($323,856). Chambers (PI).
- Developing worker-centric recommendations for sit/stand duration: Determining the feasibility of using weight shifts as a marker of discomfort. Office of Ergonomic Research Committee ($25,000). Chambers (PI), Baker (Co-I).
- Describing biomechanics and clinical presentation of movement in obese adults with different levels of physical activity engagement. University of Pittsburgh Healthy Lifestyle Institute ($20,000). Chambers (PI), Brach (Co-I), Hergenroeder (Co-I), Jakicic (Co-I).
- Development of a hyperspectral FM-NIRS device for muscle physiology. NIH R03EB020078 ($154,000). Huppert (PI), Chambers (Co-I)
- Chambers AJ, Robertson M, Baker N. (2019). The effect of sit-stand desks on office worker behavioral and health outcomes: A scoping review. Applied Ergonomics, 78: 37-53.
- Merrill Z, Chambers AJ, Cham R. (2019). Development and Validation of Body Fat Prediction Models in American Adults. Obesity Science & Practice, Nov:1-7; doi.org/10.1002/osp4.392.
- Rekant J, Wiltman S, Chambers AJ. (2019). A Novel Method of Analysis for Prolonged-Standing Data: Accounting for Joint and Muscle Discomfort. IISE Transactions on Occupational Ergonomics and Human Factors. 7(2):142-152. doi: 10.1080/24725838.2019.1640810.
- Redfern M, Chambers AJ, Sparto PJ, Furman J, Jennings JR. (2019). Inhibition and Decision-Processing Speed are Associated with Performance on Dynamic Posturography in Older Adults. Experimental Brain Research, 237(1):37-45. doi.org/10.1007/s00221-018-5394-0.
- McCrory JL, Chambers AJ, Daftary A, and Redfern MS. (2020). Torso Kinematics during Gait and Trunk Anthropometry in Pregnant Fallers and Non-fallers. Gait and Posture. 76:204-9. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gaitpost.2019.11.012.
Awards and Honors
- 2015-2019 - National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health Career Award
- 2013 - Mentor of Wells Student Healthcare Entrepreneurship Competition Semi-Finalists
- 2013 - American Society of Biomechanics Journal of Biomechanics Award Semifinalist
- 2011 - American Society of Mechanical Engineers Top 10 Finalist, Best Master’s Level Solid Mechanics, Design & Rehabilitation Abstract
- 2011 - American Society of Biomechanics Simulia Computational Biomechanics Award Nominee
Engagement, Partnerships, and Professional Service
Dr. Chambers is active in the American Society of Biomechanics, International Society of Biomechanics, and the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. She has served as the ASB conference program co-chair, ASB conference program committee, and chaired several conference sessions.
Dr. Chambers has served as a grant reviewer for the University of Pittsburgh Competitive Medical Research Fund and Center for Medical Innovation.
Dr. Chambers takes prides in supporting diversity and inclusion with active involvement in various diversity and affinity groups that support underrepresented students in STEM.