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Yu-Ping Chen, PT ScD

Associate Professor    

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Developmental Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2005-2007
ScD, Applied Kinesiology, Boston University, 1994-2001
BS, Physical Therapy, National Taiwan University, 1988-1992


Courses Taught:

  • Movement Science II
  • Lifespan I, II, and III
  • Evidence-based Practice I, II, and III
  • Pediatric elective
  • Research II, III, and IV


My primary research interests are in 1) determining the effectiveness of novel physical therapy interventions in improving upper-extremity function in children with developmental disabilities, 2) examining the current evidence and identifying gaps of interventions used to train upper-extremity function in children with developmental disabilities, and 3) systematically identifying the “constraints” (factors) that affect the emergence of reaching/grasping movements in infants and children with and without developmental disabilities. The target populations I study now are children with cerebral palsy and infants at high risk of developing cerebral palsy (i.e., infants born prematurely). I have been working closely with Dr. Ayanna Howard at Georgia Institute of Technology to develop an affordable virtual-reality game system (Super Pop VRTM ), which not only can be used to quantitatively measure reaching kinematics while children are playing the game, but also can serve as a tailored intervention program for training children with different levels of severity of disability. Together, we also use a humanoid robot as a playmate and coach to ‘supervise’, ‘monitor’, and ‘encourage’ children with cerebral palsy to train their arm function. We are conducting some clinical trials to examine the effects of virtual reality and robotic therapy to train arm function in children with cerebral palsy with the funding from National Science Foundation and Center for Transforming Pediatric Healthcare Delivery.


Professional Service Activities:

  • Abstract Review Committee, Research Section, American Physical Therapy Association, 2015 – present.
  • Research Committee, Physical Therapy Association of Georgia, 2012 – present
  • Discipline Leader in Physical Therapy, Georgia LEND (Leadership Education on Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities)
  • Manuscript Reviewer: Physical Therapy, Clinical Rehabilitation, Developmental Neurorehabilitation, Pediatric Physical Therapy, Disability and Rehabilitation, Journal of Physical Therapy Education, Applied Bionics and Biomechanics



Journal articles:

Chen, Y., Garcia-Vergara, S., & Howard, A. M. Effect of a home-based virtual reality intervention for children with cerebral palsy using SuperPop VRTM evaluation metrics – A feasibility study. Article accepted by Rehabilitation Research and Practice.

Wang, Y. T., Li, Z., Yang, Y., Zhong, Y., Lee, S-Y., Chen, S., & Chen, Y. Effects of Wheelchair Tai Chi on Physical and Mental Health among Elderly with Disability. Article accepted by Research in Sports Medicine. (Impact factor: 1.704).

Chen, Y., & Tsai, M-J. (2015). Eye-Hand Coordination Strategies during Active Video Game Playing: An Eye-Tracking Study. Computers in Human Behavior, 51(Part A), 8-14. (Impact factor: 3.047).

Wang, Y. T., Limroongreungrat, W., Chang, L-S., Ke, X., Nemeth, M. E., Tsai, L-C., Chen, Y., Lewis, J., & Sprigle, S. Effects of immediate video feedback on wheelchair skill training for individuals with spinal cord injury. Article accepted by Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development. (Impact factor: 2.458).

Fanchiang, H.D., Geil, M.D., Wu, J., Chen, Y., Wang, Y. (2015). The effects of vibration on the gait pattern and vibration perception threshold of children with idiopathic toe walking. Journal of Child Neurology, 30(8), 1010-1016. PMID: 25260915. (Impact factor: 1.385)

Chen, Y., Caldwell, M., Dickerhoof, E., Hall, A., Odakura, B., Morelli, K. M., & Fanchiang, H. (2014). Game analysis, validation, and potential application of EyeToy Play and Play 2 to upper-extremity rehabilitation. Rehabilitation Research and Practice. PMID: 25610652. (

Chen, Y., Pope, S., Tyler, D., & Warren, G. (2014). Efficacy of constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) on the pediatric population with cerebral palsy: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical Rehabilitation, 28(10), 939-953. PMID: 25125440. (Impact factor: 2.619)

Chen, Y., & Howard, A. M. (2014). Effect of robotic therapy on improving upper-extremity function in children with cerebral palsy: A systematic review. Article accepted by Developmental Neurorehabilitation Epub April 11 2014. PMID: 24724587. (Impact factor: 1.900).

Chen, Y., Lee, S-Y, & Howard, A.M. (2014). Effect of Virtual Reality on Improving Upper-Extremity Function in Children with Cerebral Palsy: A Meta-Analysis. Pediatric Physical Therapy, 26: 289-300. PMID: 24819682. (Impact factor: 1.083).

Lee, S-Y, Vasiredd, M., Chen, Y., Wang, Y. T., & Hilliard, J. (2014). PNI biomarkers and health outcomes in college women. Healthcare, 2(2): 207-219. (Peer-reviewed journal)

Chen, Y., & Weaver, L. (2014). Invited Commentary on “Accommodating the Bayley-III with regard to motor and/or visual impairment: a comparative pilot study”. Pediatric Physical Therapy, 26(1): 68. PMID: 24356321. (Impact factor: 1.083).

Chen, Y., Mitch, A., Chafin, K., & Sargent, R. (2013). The Impact of body-scaled information on grasping action in toddlers with and without Down Syndrome. Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice, 11(3): 1-7. (Peer-reviewed journal).

Lee, S-Y., Wuertz, C., Rogers, R. & Chen, Y. (2013). Stress and sleep disturbances in female college students. American Journal of Health Behavior, 37(6), 851-858. PMID: 24001634. (Impact factor: 1.377).

Haddad, J. M., Chen, Y., & Keen, R.(2011). Preschooler’s Search for a Hidden Object. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 109: 123-131. PMID: 21238978. (Impact factor: 2.988).

Fetters, L., Sapir, I., Chen, Y., Kubo, M., & Tronick, E. Z. (2010). Spontaneous Kicking in Full-Term and Preterm Infants With and Without White Matter Disorder. Developmental Psychobiology, 52(6): 524-536. PMID: 20806325. (Impact factor: 2.595).

Chen, Y., Keen, R., Rosander, K., & von Hofsten, C. (2010). Movement Planning Reflects Skill Level and Age Changes in Toddlers. Child Development, 81(6):1846-1858. PMID:21077868. (Impact factor: 4.915).

Chen, Y., Kang, L-J, Chuang, T-Y., Doong, J-L., Lee, S-J., Tsai, M-W., Jeng, S-F., & Sung, W-S. (2007). The Use of Virtual Reality to Improve Upper Extremity Control in Children with Cerebral Palsy: A Single-Subject Design. Physical Therapy, 87(11): 1441-1457. PMID:17895352. (Impact factor: 3.360).

Chen, Y., & Yang, TF (2007). Effect of Task Goals on the Reaching Patterns of Children with Cerebral Palsy. Journal of Motor Behavior, 39 (4):317-325. PMID: 17664173. (Impact factor: 1.802).

Book Chapter:

García-Vergara S, & Chen Y, Howard A. Super Pop VRTM: An Adaptable Virtual Reality Game for Upper-Body Rehabilitation. In: Shumaker R, editor. Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality. Systems and Applications. Volume 8022, Lecture Notes in Computer Science: Springer Berlin Heidelberg; 2013. p 40-49.


Full paper from refereed conference proceedings

Garcia-Vergara, S., Serrano, M. M., Chen, Y., Howard, A. M. (2014). Developing a baseline for upper-body motor skill assessment using a robotic kinematic model. IEEE International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication.

Garcia-Vergara, S., Chen, Y., & Howard, A. M. An objective method for quantifying upper-body extremity movements while tracking movements of children who have cerebral palsy. Article accepted by Human Computer Interaction.

Howard, A., Brooks, D., Brown, E., Gebregiorgis, A. & Chen, Y. (2013). Non-contact versus contact-based sensing methodologies for in-home upper arm robotic rehabilitation. In International Robotics (ICORR). IEEE International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics, p 1-6. PMID: 24187304.

Chen, Y., & Tsai, M-J (2013). Different eye movements during active video games: An eyetracking pilot study. Proceedings of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) International Conference on the Frontier in e-Learning Research, 2013, Taichung, Taiwan, June 18-20, 2013.

Nixon, M., Chen, Y., & Howard, A. (2013). Quantitative evaluation of the Microsoft Kinect ™ for use in an upper extremity virtual rehabilitation environment. International Conference on Virtual Rehabilitation, p222-228.

Brooks, D., Chen, Y., & Howard, A. (2012). Simulation versus Embodied Agents: Does either induce better human adherence to physical therapy exercise? IEEE RAS/EMBS International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics (BioRob2012), p1715-1720.