Burnfield hired by Nebraska

The Nebraska Athletic Department has announced that Judith Burnfield has been hired as the Director of the Nebraska Athletics Performance Lab (NAPL). Burnfield holds a Ph.D. in Biokinesiology from the University of Southern California.


The Athletics Performance Lab will be housed in the East Stadium following the completion of the stadium expansion this summer. The NAPL will consist of approximately 20,000 square feet of space on the north half of the East Stadium addition that will be dedicated to research. The goal of the research facility is for Nebraska Athletics to team with private sector and campus partners on innovative health and performance research. It is a key component to the emerging collaboration between athletics and research at UNL.


Burnfield begins her new position in July and will bring a wide range of professional and research expertise to the Nebraska Athletic Department staff. Burnfield currently serves as the Director of the Institute for Rehabilitation Science and Engineering at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln. She will continue to serve in that role, while also taking on her new role as head of the Nebraska Athletic Performance Lab.


The dual leadership role should be of benefit to both organizations, according to Burnfield.


"The capacity to draw together the multidisciplinary strengths of both organizations to address human performance and safety issues of athletes at UNL and individuals with physical disabilities at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital is exceptional," Burnfield said. "I am truly looking forward to bridging both environments to advance clinical, research and industry driven initiatives rapidly.


"We already have shared collaborators across the two environments and I'm excited to be a part of the Athletic Department and work closely with the individuals involved in the Performance Lab, as well as my colleagues at Madonna to ensure we leverage our collective resources and expertise to improve the performance, safety and well-being of those we serve."


Burnfield has served in various capacities at Madonna since 2004, and has held her current position at the rehabilitation hospital since 2007. Burnfield previously held a position as a research physical therapist at the Pathokinesiology Laboratory in Downey, Calif., from 1996 to 2003.


Burnfield serves as an adjunct professor at several universities including UNL, University of Nebraska Medical Center and Creighton University. She has also served in teaching roles at a number of colleges and universities in the past, including the University of Southern California and Mount St. Mary's College in Los Angeles.


Burnfield graduated Cum Laude with a bachelor's of science degree from the State University of New York in Buffalo in 1986. She earned her Ph.D. in Biokinesiology from the University of Southern California in 2003. She is a registered physical therapist and a Certified Kinesiologic Electromyographer.


Burnfield will play a key part in bringing to life the ground-breaking collaboration between athletics and research. The Nebraska Athletic Performance Lab will sit side-by-side and work in concert with the recently approved Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior (CB3) as an interdisciplinary research center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


CB3 will be housed in the other half of the research area in East Stadium and will house a state-of-the-art functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) magnet, which will enable faculty and students from a wide spectrum of disciplines to conduct research related to behavior and performance, including the study of concussions. Dr. Dennis Molfese will head up the Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior.


The research space in the East Stadium is the result of the combined vision of Nebraska Athletic Director Emeritus Tom Osborne, UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman and UNL Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development Prem S. Paul. Nebraska Director of Athletics Shawn Eichorst has asked Osborne to continue to provide leadership for the Nebraska Athletic Performance Lab.

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